Hopslam Hunter

*UPDATE* This post is originally from February 14, 2016, but the hunt continues! Hopslam is still one of the hardest beers to locate in town. Have you tasted it?

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Every year in late January to early February I go hunting. I don’t use a gun or a bow and no animals are harmed. That doesn't diminish the intensity of this hunt.

This year my interest peaked with a Facebook post that featured this video. In the video I saw something new I had not seen in previous years and it was bigger than ever!

 

The annual prize I so desperately sought was Bell’s super hopped up Double Indian Pale Ale appropriately named HopSlam.

This year not only was it offered on draft and in 6-packs but it also came in 5 liter mini kegs!

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Questions flashed across my mind.

  1. Did it really come in mini kegs?
  2. How many pints was in a liter?
  3. Why can’t we agree on just one liquid measurement?
  4. More importantly. Would I be able to spot one?
  5. Or was this, like bigfoot, a lot of stories and one sketchy video?

Only time would tell.

My obsession with HopSlam started after my wife’s late cousin Brad introduced me to this awesome libation in 2010. I received a random call from Brad asking me if I wanted to meet him out at a local pub Chappy’s for a brew. Since I was busy at work the conversation was a blur. He said a special beer tapping, with something new from Bell’s and it was called “hop” something.

Being a huge IPA fan he had me at Hops.

I got the hall pass from the wife and met him out on this cold snowy evening. I noticed the bar was surprisingly busy for a weeknight. Especially on this winter evening with snow piling up by the inch. Once I had my first sip I understood the large crowd. This beer was hoppy but had a smooth finish.

It was love at first sip.

This first experience with HopSlam was amazing! Little did I know it was the start of a yearly tradition. Since that fateful day I have look forward to this beer release every winter.

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I am a big fan of IPA’s and this double doesn’t disappoint.
The Bell’s Brewery website describes HopSlam like this:
“Starting with six different hop varietals added to the brew kettle & culminating with a massive dry-hop addition of Simcoe hops, Bell's Hopslam Ale possesses the most complex hopping schedule in the Bell's repertoire. Selected specifically because of their aromatic qualities, these Pacific Northwest varieties contribute a pungent blend of grapefruit, stone fruit, and floral notes. A generous malt bill and a solid dollop of honey provide just enough body to keep the balance in check, resulting in a remarkably drinkable rendition of the Double India Pale Ale style.”

My hunt was on.

I drove all over town and even spent 2 different lunch breaks hunting for this once a year brew. One store received 28 cases of HopSlam but was completely sold out minutes before I arrived.

  1. Was my timing off?
  2. Would I be fortunate enough to be the first one to the honey hole?
  3. Or would I miss this deceptive monster?

All this hunting left me wondering “is this beer really that good or does the illusiveness make it taste even better?”

Thanks to some inside information from my friend Chad who is a delivery driver. I was able to acquire two 6-packs of HopSlam at a local grocery store.

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So it was finally in my possession!

Once I had my first sip the answer to my earlier question was a resounding yes!

I really love HopSlam and I think the energy spent tracking it down makes it taste even better.

My uncle was also able to set aside a 6 pack he found at a different grocery chain his wife works for. He quickly became my favorite uncle.

To top that I enjoyed HopSlam on draft 5 different days. The bonus was being able to have a pint on two consecutive evenings at a local grocery story which featured its own bar. I was surprised they had it at all and since HopSlam on draft normally sells out in a matter of hours this was a rare treat.

Overall I yielded three 6-packs and 5 draft events. All in all, a good year.

But despite all my tracking and planning the 5 liter version remained out of my reach. Like a yeti hiding in the snow covered mountains of Nepal. So for now the ultimate prize of all prizes, the mini keg, has eluded me.

Maybe next year I will get the jump on this rare creature.

Have you tried HopSlam?

How were you able to procure this magnificent beast?

Cheers,
John