Bell’s Hopslam is one of the most perfect things in existence. We love beer more than a lot of other things, but we love Hopslam even more. Hopslam’s seasonal arrival is like the Great Beer God coming to Earth, showering His (or Her) children with gloriously hoppy beer, and then going back to Heaven’s brewery.
Bell’s does a lot of things well (we also highly recommend its Two-Hearted Ale), but it does Hopslam best. The beer is highly regarded among beer snobs throughout the world, and is only released once a year. When it is released, hopheads rush to their nearby liquor stores waiting in lines that run down the block for hours. Although expensive and hard to find, Hopslam isn’t completely unobtainable — but we do recommend buying as many six packs as you can if you encounter it in the store.
Hopslam is darker than most hop-heavy beers: It is a rich shade of amber. It pours nicely, forming a head that it is not too frothy but quickly dissipates. The beer smells remarkably like a grapefruit with a drizzle of honey on top (this smell has been verified via a survey among beer lovers and haters alike). The honey isn’t surprising, though, because Hopslam is brewed with honey instead of sugar like most beers. While all things Hopslam are glorious, it is the taste that makes this beer rise above the rest.
Up front, we felt the carbonation prominently. We also got the strongest feeling of hops at the beginning of our sips. The middle of each sip, with its starch and heaviness, reminded us that we were drinking beer. Trust us, we needed reminding — while drinking Hopslam, we both became convinced we were drinking the nectar of the gods. The back notes taste exactly like a liquefied grapefruit (full disclosure: we did not liquefy a grapefruit to test that). Hopslam leaves a bitter aftertaste that is welcome after all the sweetness and those citrus flavors.
If you’re a hophead like the two of us, we recommend this beer more than most others. If you aren’t a hophead like us, we still highly recommend this beer. It’s remarkably close to a perfect beer (we can only think of one or two we like more, and they’re even harder to find in Ohio). We’ll end with a warning: Lightweights will want to take it slow with Hopslam. At 10 percent ABV, it can make that walk home a bit difficult if you don’t have a friend to supervise. Still, drink Hopslam.
Jared Henderson and Patty Arnold are seniors studying philosophy and biological science, respectively, at Ohio University and columnists for The Post. What beer should be on their radar? Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.