By: Daniel Marcoux
Do you see this man on the label? Yikes. That’ll be one expensive hospital bill. Death by hop cones. Not the worst way to go out, but it looks like a scene straight from Exodus 10. Moses said to the Pharaoh, “Let my people go! … If you refuse to let them go, I will bring hops into your country tomorrow. They will cover the face of the ground so that it cannot be seen. They will devour what little you have left … They will fill your houses … something neither your parents nor your ancestors have ever seen from the day they settled in this land till now.” Whoa.
I might have taken it upon myself to modify that verse a little bit… locusts or hops… what’s the big difference? I’m sure that when making Hopslam, the good people at Bell’s Brewing, from Comstock, Michigan, were aiming to plague this beer with hops, hops, and more hops. Will I want to let this beer go, or will it be an experience unlike that of any of my ancestors? Time to find out.
First Impression: A lot of hype with this beer. Wondering if it’s justified.
Pour: A very pretty golden color with off white head, that actually laced very nicely as I drank. The smell is that of Skittles, hops, mango, tropical fruits, a little resin/pine. Awesome aroma.
Taste: I have to say, with the way this smelled, I’m surprised with the first sip. It’s more piney than tropical and the honey is quite dominant in the taste and texture. It might be weird to say that a beer has a distinctive texture, but the honey really thickens up the body and adds a layer of residual sweetness that rides along in your mouth from start to finish and clings to your teeth after you swallow. Once you get past the first two sips, the hop presence becomes more tame, however the resiny and piney flavor from the hops remains the big ticket in the brew. Again, I don’t quite get any of the citrus or tropical flavors from the hops, but I get a sugary sweetness that cuts through the pineyness of the hops. As I’m drinking it, it really reminds me of Brown Sugga by Lagunitas; an intensely hoped brew with a kick of sweetness t o balance things out. For 10% ABV though, it really goes down dangerously smooth. I’m writing this with the glass half full, and I’m beginning to feel the effects of this beer.
Overall: It’s a great beer with a fine hop presence, however, as limited as this is and as hard as it is to get, I think I could find a suitable alternative locally and be just as hoppy… I mean happy. If you missed out on the Hopslam experience, Lagunitas Brown Sugga or even Sucks is fairly comparable in all areas except for the aroma (in my opinion). Nice taste, nice ABV, bad availability. As with many mythical beers, I’m not sure if the hype is justified on this one.
Original Gravity: 1.087