Saturday, January 28, 2012

Hopslam Ale

 It has been awhile since I've had any of the beers on my Best Beers in America List (see A couple more beers from my list for the last report on this blog.) I am lucky that my buddy Scott (whom I usually refer to as CrazyBrody) has been looking out for me. Do me a favor and check out his Homebrew Blog.

Bell's Brewery has recently released its annual Hopslam ale and Scott (who lives in the mid-West where it is possible to purchase beers from Bell's Brewery) knew that this was a beer on my list and offered to pick up a some Hopslams and UPS a couple of them to me. I accepted his offer, he was able to pick some up and get a couple of bottles out to me in a UPS package that also contained a couple of his own home-brewed "Nanci's Brown Ale" (which is a fantastic beer, by the way).

He got them to me last weekend, but it was not until today that I took the time to open one of the Hopslam bottles.

As you might imagine from the name, Hopslam is an IPA (what a surprise, right?) Actually, it is a double IPA. The back of the bottles says it is "a biting, bitter, tongue bruiser of an ale. With a name like Hopslam, what did you expect?" It is also a 10% ABV beer, which is something I didn't take the time to check until I started typing in this blog post. If I say something wildly inappropriate during this post, I blame the alcohol. To be honest, it doesn't taste like a 10% ABV beer to me (this is a good thing). I am feeling the affects now, but never during the glass did I feel like this tasted like a huge beer like this.

And, I gave blood today. Maybe today wasn't the best day to try this ....

Anyway, Hopslam uses a lot of hops and it uses a bunch of different kinds of hops. Bell's websites says it adds 6 different hop varietals in the kettle and a "massive" dry-hop addition of Simcoe. This is a hoppy beer, but it doesn't come across as completely bitter as lots of double IPAs. I think it does a pretty good job of blending those hops into the whole malt bill.

The malt base of the beer is substantial with a slight honey taste (the bottle actually says "brewed with honey"). I do think the beer is pretty well balanced considering how extreme it is in its ingredient list.

Overall, I've had better double IPAs, but I have had much worse ones as well. I'm glad my buddy CrazyBrody is so on top of things to have gotten me this beer so efficiently. Now, if I can only get my act together and return the favor to him.

Hopslam was #5 on my list. I have now tried all 5 of the top 5. I have tried all 10 of the top 10. I have now had 37 of the entire list (52 total). I have far surpassed my expectations of how I would do this year. Scott even says he'll send me a couple of Three Floyds beers (motivation for me to get off my butt and get him some beers). I also have the Avery Maharaja sitting in my fridge right now. I might get well into the 40's on this list. Last year I only got to 25, and was happy to get to 50% (well, a little less than 50% since the list actually had more then 50 on it).

In case you are wondering, here are the ones still left on my "not tried list":

12. Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine ... limited selection. not sure if I will find this in CO.
T16. Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA ... year round beer. Should be able to find in CO.
19. Bell’s Expedition Stout ... doesn't distribute to CO. Should have had my sister look for this.
T20. Samuel Adams Noble Pils... spring seasonal that I should be able to find in CO.
T20. Surly Furious ... I should have made an effort to get this while in MN.
T20. Troegs Nugget Nectar ... PA brewery. Can't get in CO.
T29. Three Floyds Alpha King ... A Chicago-land beer. Can't get in CO
T29. Three Floyds Dark Lord ... available one day a year in April at the brewery
T34. Dogfish Head Indian Brown ... year round. Might be able to find in CO.
T34. Avery Maharaja ... have a bottle of this in one of my beer fridges
T34. Three Floyds Gumballhead ... don't even see this beer on their website.
T38. Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA ... limited availability
T43. Russian River Blind Pig ... not sure if I will be able to get this in CO.
T48. Dark Horse Crooked Tree ... Midwest distribution only.
T48. Summit EPA ... Another MN beer I should have had my sister look for.

You can look at the entire list here:


  1. Thanks for the mention! I can get the bells stout as well as the three floyds. Swenocha and I had a Gumballhead last week on tap. Its pretty awesome. Maybe I will make my clone and send you the 3f version to compare with mine.

  2. Yes, Gumballhead was quite tasty on tap (and in the bottle in my beer fridge). As was the Alpha King, the Arctic Panzer Wolf, the various Sun King beers, etc. The next morning was a bit rough... aye... ;)

    Scott Bennett sent me a Surly Furious on a trade. It was right up there with my fav IPAs. You should try to get that one as well. Scott usually has some on hand if you want to trade with him.

  3. BTW, the new RateBeer Best Breweries in the World List ( has the following listed as top 3:

    1) Three Floyds
    2) Founders
    3) Bells

    The fact that I can get all on tap in Indy or Muncie and none on tap here makes Hulk angry...

  4. I just found #2 in one of my beer fridges and tried it while watching the Stanley Cup finals. I think I like it better now than I did back when I did this review. It is still hoppy. Very nice.