Wednesday 23 February 2011

Now Drinking: Bell's Hopslam 2011

It's easy to lose all perspective on what's great about beer. For me, it's not just about seeking out wonderfully rare beers or, as on this occasion, having them brought to you on a little velvet cushion. I like the mixture of flavours, availability and situation. This weekend I'm going to watch the rugby in a pub in Rothwell, where I live. If I'm lucky, it'll be cask Johm Smiths or Tetley's - that's cool, I'm not going there just for the beer, or for the rugby really - I'm going because I've been invited to the pub with a couple of other local dads. It will be fun, mainly because there will be beer and bonhomie involved.

At the other end of the scale from Tetley's in the pub, Bell's Hopslam is a beer so incandescently rare, so furiously sought-after that Bell's can't make enough to supply their home patch, let alone export any. So I'm indebted to Agent AK who brought this with him from Michigan, along with a few others, the most startling of which was Short's Brew Anniversary Blood Orange Wheat Wine - proper mad scientist stuff, but quite delicious with it.

Beer. It's brilliant.


  1. I managed to get a bottle of this last year and LOVED it. Did a side-by-side of lots of US IPAs and it came out top. My notes, echoing what you say, read: "It starts with citrus and pine and then opens into mango and tropical fruit. I didn’t write much down because I was too busy falling in love." Kinda sums it up.

  2. You sniffed the bottle before you opened it. I love that. I love that you express the love. Numero uno for video beer blogs, you the daddy.

  3. I've seen photos of mini kegs of HopSlam!

    I had a bottle February/March last year and it was a cracker. Very well balanced for a double IPA none of that chewy malt that puts me off a double.

    Give me Racer 5 any day!

    Nice to see you returning to videos...its been too long.

  4. I got 1/2 a case of this and have been slowly working through them and sharing with friends. Hopslam is one of my very favorite huge hop beers. Really enjoyed your video!

  5. Hopslam is noxious. I gagged on my first sip of it, too.

    Funny how location affects taste. I passed up a 6-pack of Hopslam without a second thought at my bottle shop recently, but happily paid $5 for a single bottle of Hook Norton which I have never seen for sale, anywhere, in the US, and which probably has almost never inspired writing in the beer blogosphere.

  6. Mark - falling in love with a beer? Valentines beer poetry? I'm starting to worry about you

    Cookie - I've no idea what I was doing, to be honest, but I'm pleased you enjoyed it.

    Rob - cheers.

    Erik - thanks, I envy your ability to buy it in such quantity

    Flagon - it is what it is - I'm surprised you gagged on it, the aroma hints pretty strongly at what you're getting into. And in my opinion, Old Hooky is just as good a beer as Hopslam, just in a different way.

  7. Definitely different beers for different moods, and to be fair, I did know what I was getting into. I could literally smell the beer in the glass from across the room when I first opened it: not a small feat.

  8. I will watch the video later as time means I don't have the luxury right now, but there aretwo things I love about this.

    1) You go to the pub in Rothwell. Just beware if it's the Rosebud, I'm told the landlord's a Donny man (thought jovial and welcoming he is!)
    2) I couldn't agree more on your attitude to beer. Rare beer = fun to try. Ubiquitous beer = absolutely necessary for sanity and socialising.

  9. 52 seconds. I know that feeling so well ... every beer chases that feeling. I'd try to put it into words but there isn't really a need to. I couldn't help but smile when I saw that, top stuff. :)


  10. Mark RAR - I gave up on the Rosebud - Nigel just got on my nerves too much.

    Mark BBB - I call it 'The Pliny Giggle'

  11. I think the bottle sniff should be introduced in to the beer tasting cannon forthwith!

    I might just sniff my bottle tonight - gawd bless agent AK!

  12. Agent AK is coming back mid July.(Uh oh, speaking in third person)!
    Will have more goodies.


Sorry about the word verification - the blog was getting spammed to bits.