Brewery- Bell’s (Kalamazoo, Michigan)
Style- Imperial IPA
Commercial Description- Starting with six different hop varietals added to the brew kettle & culminating with a massive dry-hop addition of Simcoe hops, Bell’s Hopslam Ale possesses the most complex hopping schedule in the Bell’s repertoire. Selected specifically because of their aromatic qualities, these Pacific Northwest varieties contribute a pungent blend of grapefruit, stone fruit, and floral notes. A generous malt bill and a solid dollop of honey provide just enough body to keep the balance in check, resulting in a remarkably drinkable rendition of the Double India Pale Ale style. (via http://www.bellsbeer.com/brands/)
Is there such a thing as a perfect beverage? Just based on the variety of personal tastes in the world I’d say no. I know plenty of people who hate stouts, tequila, anything aged in a barrel (sacrilege!) etc. While Bell’s Hopslam may not be the perfect beverage to you, in the Baron’s mind it is the perfect IPA. I’ve let people who “don’t do IPAs” try it and they love it. Once you try Bell’s Hopslam Ale, you’ll wonder why you’ve wasted your life with lesser beverages. Here’s why you should convert to Hopslam:
- Appearance- Hopslam pours a hazy reddish-orange color, not unlike a sunset in Los Angeles – minus the increased risk of asthma and bankruptcy. It has a medium white head with a Goldilocks amount of carbonation; not too little, not too much. Juuust right. Beautiful. 9/10
- Aroma- Crackling bacon and homemade pancakes topped with butter and maple syrup in the morning. Freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. The inside of a whiskey-aging warehouse on a hot summer day. Your favorite dish that only your mom can make. None of these delectable scents can hold a candle to the enticing aroma of Bell’s Hopslam. It’s simply the greatest aroma to ever be conceived by man. It smells of freshly-cut pineapple, just-squeezed orange and grapefruit juice, sweet maltiness and honey. The scent of the hops perfectly balances the sweeter aspects of the aroma. I want this aroma to be made into a cologne. I would reapply Hopslam cologne every hour. When I wake up, after eating, before and after work, before and after a date, before and after going though a DUI checkpoint, pretty much every waking moment of the day. The Baron would be the first “wears too much cologne guy” that you wouldn’t want to punch in the face . 21/20
- Taste- Simply the best, better than all the rest. Once Hopslam reaches your tongue, the heavens open and angels sing. A booming voice bellows in the distance to tell you how well you have done on your journey. You hear an audience clapping loudly and realize that it’s all of your lost loved ones, giving you a standing ovation for your decision to convert to Hopslam. Well, that’s what happened to me at least. The flavor packed into every sip blows your mouth away. It has a powerful blast of hoppy goodness when it first enters your mouth, but that is quickly subdued and balanced by the sweetness of malt and honey. The finish is a perfect blend of bitter hops and sweet malt. It’s not an overly complex taste, but it’s done perfectly. 40/40
- Palate- This is 10% ABV but you can’t detect any of the alcohol. The carbonation and sweet malt goodness give it a pleasantly creamy mouth-feel that I could drink all day if my liver would allow it . 9/10
- Value- After playing “Where in the World is Bell’s Hopslam” for a few days, the future Mrs. Baron was able to locate it for $21 a 6-pack. Yeah, yeah I know what you’re thinking. B-b-but Beverage Baron! $21 for BEER!? First of all, it’s not beer; it’s an otherworldly religious experience. Second of all, it’s SIX otherworldly religious experiences. And at 10% ABV it’s the equivalent of a 12-pack in terms of alcohol content. Also, I’ve seen at for as low as $16 in certain states. If you ask me, and since you’re reading this blog you already have, this is worth every hard-earned cent . 16/20
- Overall- 95/100
Bell’s Hopslam is simply amazing. It’s quite possibly the perfect IPA. It has the big hop flavor that you expect out of a great IPA plus a few megatons extra. It also has a strong enough malt backbone to stand up to that bitterness, which makes for a perfectly balanced beer that is just heavenly. The Beverage Baron has officially reached Beer Nirvana. Now it’s time for me to take a look at the Beera Sutra and check out some new drinking positions.
If you want to experience a once-in-a-lifetime beverage adventure, do yourself a favor and pick up a pack of Bell’s Hopslam. I promise you, it will change your life. Six times.
If you are in any way unsatisfied with your Bell’s Hopslam purchase, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to donate your remaining bottles to science*
*science is code for “my refrigerator”