Bell’s Brewery, Inc.
I didn’t discover Bell’s Hopslam – and the ensuing insanity – until the 2011 release. Actually, until after the 2011 release, when it had disappeared from store shelves. Fortunately, I happened to make a trip to our local Total Wine and found the last six pack in Columbia just sitting on the shelf waiting to be snapped up. I’m glad I did.
This year, I was much more prepared. I happened to be off from work the day of the release, so I made it a point to to be ready. In addition to cruising the various beer stores around Columbia, a friend shared a six pack he got in the Upstate, and I picked up two six packs of my own at a local store, in addition to helping kick a keg. (It was a good day.)
Yeah, that’s a lot of Hopslam, but with good reason – It’s easily my favorite beer.
Hopslam pours a deep orange color with a slight haze to it. There’s a slight head on it, but barely anything, which is to be expected in a 10% beer.
This is easily one of the best-smelling beers I’ve ever experienced. Rich, juicy pineapple, mango, papaya, grapefruit and melon just erupting out of the glass. Once you pop the bottle and start pouring, the smell envelops everything in your immediate vicinity. It’s just such a rich, gorgeous smell.
On the front of the tongue is a really sharp bitterness which perfectly cuts the sweetness that follows. Rich tropical fruits, the sweetness from the honey used in the brewing and the tartness from the hops blend together perfectly. It ends so smoothly and lingers around in your mouth for a good long while. I know a lot of people complained that this year’s batch wasn’t as good as 2011, but it’s all great to me.
For being so high in alcohol, you’d never be able to tell. It’s incredibly easy drinking and smooth. It’s juicy, flavorful, well balanced and gorgeous in every way. It is, in a word, almost perfect.
In short: Damn it, I love this beer.