Beer Chronicles – Bell’s Hopslam Ale


The craft beer scene is subject to as much faddish thinking as anything else. Although the latest beer crazes tend toward session IPAsbarrel aging and sour beers, running right along side of those trends is what I call the “imperialzation” beers. That is to say, “This beer is great. How about we ramp up the recipe and call it an “imperial” version of the beer?” India Pale Ales are no strangers to this imperializing trend as double IPAs and even some triple IPAs are popping up. Hopslam Ale by Bell’s is one of the early trailblazers in this imperialized IPA trend.

According to the Bell’s website, Hopslam contains six varietals of hops and a dry hopping addition of Simcoe hops at the end of the brewing process. The beer also contains a sturdy malt backbone and an ABV of 10%. To top things off, Bell’s adds what they call “a solid dollop of honey” to the brewing process, giving Hopslam a unique twist.

Bottles of Hopslam are notorious difficult to obtain. It is much-beloved and much-hyped beer that sells out quickly. I live in Kansas, which in not currently part of the Bell’s distribution network, so getting Hopslam is next to impossible. Impossible unless you have a good friend that lives in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area that is able to hook you up. Pastor Jeff Swanson, thank you so much for assuaging my Hopslam thirst and hooking me up with my own bottle.

So how was the 2015 version of Hopslam?[1] It completely and totally lived up to the hype and proved to be immensely enjoyable. Hopslam is an intensely flavored beer that helped set the standard in double IPA genre. The aroma is all about the citrus and the taste is also quite citrus forward. The 10% ABV is nowhere to be found and this is a very drinkable beer. Surprisingly, the honey flavor doesn’t really come through. In fact, my thought as I continued to sip the beer is that it tasted a bit of hoppy lemonade. I don’t say that to disparage the beer in any way. It was delicious and I would buy a four pack in a heartbeat.

Bell’s already distributes to the Missouri and rumor has it that their beers will be available in Kansas by the end of this year. So let it be written and so let it be done, perhaps just in time for the year-end release of the next round of Hopslam.

Beer prayer: Gracious God, thank you for the surprising deliciousness of Bell’s Hopslam Ale. And thank you for good friends in distant lands who share good beer, good beer, and a common salvation. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen!

My Untappd rating for Bell’s Hopslam Ale: 5/5


1. My bottle was dated 1/8/15.