Up until this year Hopslam has only been available to purchase in areas other than New York and Long Island. Luckily for us the Michigan based brewery decided to give us a taste of what Hopslam has to offer in 2014.
Tom asked Big John of Lake Ronkonkoma Beverage weeks leading up to Hopslam's release if he would be getting some in. Big John said he would see what he could do and he delivered!
Hopslam currently has a 100 score on Beer Advocate and is deemed as one of the best double IPAs in existence. Tom and I had to see what all the hubbub was about so we each got a six pack and set a night aside just to give it a sampling. At 10.0% ABV we knew this wouldn't be a going-anywhere-anytime-soon beer.
Tom's expression was nothing short of sheer excitement before taking his first sip
We both cracked open our bottles and let the tasting experience commence. The smell of Hopslam was that of a sweet, citrusy, hoppy aroma; almost like a sweet grapefruit with hops around it. The appearance was slightly cloudy with a nice light orange color that looked very appetizing.
Tastes as good as it looks, if not better!
The taste was out of this world. It was the absolute perfect balance of hops and sweetness, which allows me to confidently say this statement: Hopslam is the most drinkable IPA I've ever had. Let me explain. With most IPAs the person drinking is met with bitterness and a biting experience that may be too intense for most people to enjoy the beer. With Hopslam that bitterness is taken out of the equation and replaced with sweetness that is in no way overbearing, but rather welcoming. The honey that Hopslam is brewed with finds its way through the hops and high alcohol content and travels straight to your taste buds with each sip. Like I said before citrus also makes its way to the flavor, almost like they took a honey soaked grapefruit or tangerine and blended it into a delicious beverage. The hops are still present in the flavor, but are more in background as they let the honey and sweetness take center stage.
I wanted to open another bottle right after finishing my first, but I decided to hold myself back from the temptation. It was 10.0% ABV and I was already feeling tired before drinking it. After one bottle I was ready to lie down.
While drinking I came up with a clever analogy that Tom thought I should use to describe Hopslam in this review. Think of other IPAs as a sweet potato. A cooked sweet potato, plain with nothing added to it. While it's good as all sweet potatoes are, there's something missing. Something that could have been added to make the sweet potato eating experience even better. Hopslam is that very same sweet potato except it's slathered in butter and has cinnamon and brown sugar sprinkled on it. Why eat a plain sweet potato when you can have a superior one with delicious sweetness added to it? I could use the same argument for Hopslam. Why drink an average IPA that doesn't sway too far from the IPA formula when you can have Hopslam that was brewed with honey?
I rest my case. Hopslam is an IPA that should be tried by everyone. It will change your perspective on what makes for a great IPA. You will never look at other IPAs the same way again after trying Hopslam...I guarantee it.
Bell's Brewery is located in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Hopslam is brewed only once a year every winter and the supply of it is very limited in Long Island and the New York area. Call your local beer store and get it while you can!