Wow! I’m a little late to this party, but I started hearing about Bell’s Hopslam in 2012 after everyone had sold out of it. This year, I fully intended not to miss out (even if I did miss out on getting on the waiting list Bestway had running for the release). When our good buddy, Daniel, told me he had picked up his 6-pack, I bravely asked him if Nathan and I could have just one to split. Fortunately, he decided not to shun me and graciously shared his prize with us. Unfortunately, Nathan left town the next day, so I didn’t get a chance to try it right away.
So, imagine my delight and surprise when we walked into Taproom after our race on Sunday to find it on tap! Hopslam did not disappoint. I’ll confess, I didn’t do my research properly on this one. I knew from reputation that it was supposed to be amazing, but I didn’t realize that it had an ABV of 10% or an IBU rating of 70. (For beer snob newbies, that is an alcohol content of 10% and 70 international bitterness units.) Some double IPAs go as high as 12%, so this beer is not at the highest end. Where it really distinguishes itself is in it’s bitterness rating. A popular IPA such as Dogfish Head’s 90 Minute IPA has a rating of 90 and their 60 minute has a rating of 60. So, if you are familiar with either of those, that gives you an idea of where it falls. It really is far below other double IPAs in terms of its bitterness rating. I owe this to what Bell’s refers to as “a solid dollop of honey.”
In actuality, those numbers live up to the test of drinking the beer. I definitely felt the 10% ABV after one pint. I’m not really even comfortable describing the taste in terms of bitterness. This beer was like pure, red grapefruit. It had just that hint of bitterness, but it didn’t linger at all and left a completely clean feeling in my mouth that I am not typically left with when I drink even my favorite IPAs.
It’s easy to see why this is a beer cult favorite. I’m looking forward to splitting the bottle left in our refrigerator when Nathan gets back from Texas. Now, if only Bell’s would just produce a little more of it…