The Holy Grail of Seasonals
A Review of Hopslam by Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Posted on 4/27/2011 by Chops
It's no secret that my co-founder and I are big fans of Bell's Brewery. Bell's is one of the very few breweries out there with a 100% batting average. All of their brews are top-notch, be them year-rounds, seasonals or specialties. And in the seasonal department, few beers are coveted as highly as Hopslam. And just to piss everyone off, I want to note that I'm writing this review at the end of April. Hopslam is a winter brew. That's right, I managed to save a sixer of this heavenly nectar and you have to sit there drooling while I write about it.

Hopslam. Hopped up ale brewed with honey. The combination is so simple and brilliant that it makes you wish you had thought of it first. I can't think of a better balancing taste for bitter hops than honey. Once I first saw this brew, I was amazed I hadn't seen something similar before. Maybe it's out there, but this was the first time (and only time) I've seen hops and honey.

Once in the glass, this beer actually looks like honey. It's got a very warm golden coloration with a slight haze. It's a very inviting beer. And then there's the smell, ooooh the smell. There are a few beers out there that get me salivating like a Pavlovian dog. Hopslam is one of them. Just think of honeysuckles. Alcoholic honeysuckles. Drooling yet? Yeah, you should be.

The Hopslam taste is simply amazing. This beer has big, big flavor and doesn't apologize for it. The front end is very hoppy and feels much like an Imperial IPA. But it only takes a few seconds for the honey flavors to kick in and it instantly balances the hops, providing a smooth and sweet middle ground which amazingly holds through the back end. It's quite a remarkable flavor train. No dissipation whatsoever, just honey infused hops until the taste disappears. The mouthfeel is unexpectedly light and crisp, which I assume has a lot to do with the honey. Considering the big hop flavors and whopping 10% ABV, it's quite a nice surprise.

As a side note, this is a beer where you can actually taste hop nuances without being distracted by the bitterness. If you want to study what hop flavor actually is, this is the beer to do it with.

Overall, I view Bell's Hopslam as the Holy Grail of seasonal brews. Every beer fanatic has a handful of seasonal brews they look forward to all year long. I guarantee Hopslam is on a lot of those lists because they sell out really quick. I even went as far as to subscribe to my specialty beer store's Twitter feed and have their tweets sent to my cell phone as texts... just for Hopslam. I even make my wife buy a six pack every year since they only allow one per customer. Yes, it's that damn good.

In closing, the video below will appropriately summarize how I feel about you not having any Hopslam in April...

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Hopslam by Bell's Brewery, Inc.
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