So let’s just get this out of the way. This beer is 18 bucks a six pack. Yes. $18. That’s like wine prices. 3 bucks per bottle makes this beer more expensive than most bar prices of Bud Light/Select/Weiser/Wheat/Dry/Ice. That said, this beer, in so many ways, is not for the faint of heart. But I promise you, if you take the financial leap your taste buds will thank you. (Well….maybe that’s not entirely true. If you are not a fan of the IPA style you probably won’t like this beer. Also if your thing is to drink a whole lot of beer at once because you’re still living vicariously through the memory of your college days when the beer tasted like water, there are other beers for you. At 10% ABV and nearly double the price of most sixes of “good beer”, Hopslam is meant to be enjoyed and, dare I say, cherished.)
Hopslam also seems to be one of the more sought after beers in the area, despite its price. It is only released as a seasonal and is therefore limited. There’s a good chance that even as I write this that St. Louis retailers might be dry. I got mine at Bombay Wine and Spirits in St. Charles and it was the second to the last six pack of two cases that had only come in an hour before. The Wine and Cheese Place tweeted that Hopslam was finally in stock on January 18th and then tweeted again shortly thereafter that they were sold out. The Stable tweeted today that they were tapping a cask of Hopslam tonight (1/21) at 6 pm, which is sure to go extremely quickly. Now, this may be a case of Bell’s shorting supply to increase demand–like Cabbage Patch Kids, Tickle Me Elmos, and the Wii–but when you taste it, it’s hard to argue that Hopslam is merely hype. This is a good beer.
The first thing that hits you when you pour the beer, is the floral aroma of the hops. It’s sweet and citrusy, but definitely hints at the bitterness to come. If you’re not a fan of IPA bitterness, this will definitely drive you away. However, if you are adventurous your pioneering spirit is rewarded with an extremely balanced and fresh tasting hoppy treat. Grapefruit and honey. Peach and Pine tree. And a nice hop bite on the back end. And you will never realize this beer is 10%. There is no alcohol burn during any part of the tasting. It is easy drinking and smooth.
Hopslam is a fantastic beer–one that I wait for each year, but I don’t think I would recommend it to everyone. This is mostly because I’m selfish and that would push demand even higher 🙂 , but also because I don’t really think this beer is for everyone. If you aren’t a fan of bitter beers, you aren’t going to like this and it will possibly turn you off of the IPA style altogether (I would recommend a Founder’s Centennial IPA or if you want to get local an O’Fallon 5 Day IPA those are much more akin to “gateway” IPAs than Hopslam). This is a serious beer for serious beer drinkers with a fairly steep entry fee. But I promise you….it’s worth it.
The following band, Sleigh Bells, is an acquired taste–and I’ll be honest, I haven’t really acquired it yet–but I love the sound of this song and thought it would pair nicely with a bottle of Hopslam….plus the band has the word Bells in it so it totally fits 🙂 Here is “Rill Rill” by Sleigh Bells: