Thursday, January 29, 2009

Waiting for Hopslam

If you follow me on Twitter or have befriended me on Facebook, you know that I have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of Bell's Hopslam, an imperial or double IPA with a very limited release. As soon as it was released in Michigan, I made daily trips to Hyvee and Arena Liquor, searching the stacks and shelves for Hopslam. When word got out that it had reached Misery nearly a week ago, I stopped in one or both of those stores twice a day.

Day after day, I made excuses for swinging by the grocery or the gas station, but still no Hopslam.

Why the fuss? Well, besides it being one of the best beer releases of every year (
named one of the best of 2008 by Draft), there are limited quantities. And with the supposed hops shortage, a highly hopped beer like this one is a rarity.

Earlier this week, there was some buzz on the Columbia Beer Enthusiast Ning that Arena had received a shipment of Hopslam. Unfortunately, I was about to begin a training session, so I would have to wait. After my training session, I checked right before I left for COMO. According to the discussion, there were still a little over three cases left. I would have some Hopslam Wednesday night.

Or so I thought.

I arrived at Arena Liquor about 35-45 minutes later. The cases were supposed to be stacked on the floor. Normally, I can spend a lot of time searching the Arena stacks and shelves, but on this night I was on a mission. However, there appeared to be no Hopslam. When I asked the cashier, he responded, "Is that beer?" I went back to looking.

Then the guy in charge of ordering the beer showed up. I asked him if there was any Hopslam left. He laughed at me and said it was all gone. One of the beer enthusiasts had bought the last 3+ cases for himself and some friends. The Arena guy did suspect that Hyvee would have the beer, but it would be gone by morning.

So, I huffed it over to Hyvee, but there was no Hopslam. They suspected that it would arrive Thursday morning. I would be there.

After dropping off my daughter at daycare, I swung by Hyvee. The manager assured me there would be Hopslam that day. He took my number and promised to call as soon as it arrived.

I went back to work at home, forcing Hopslam from my mind. I even took a lunch break to deliver some lunch to R on campus. The waiting would continue for only a little longer.

After delivering R's sandwich, I turned onto my street; the phone rang. Hopslam had arrived five minutes ago at Hyvee. I drove diretly to the store and purchased my two sixers, the first two from the stack.

The oder gentleman behind the counter recognized me from the several times I had been in the store. He was glad that I got my Hopslam. He was writing a sign that limited customers to two sixpacks apiece, which seemed fair to me.

He also shared with me a story that they, like everyone else, had been shorted a case. It seems as if the delivery truck backed up rather poorly at the distributor's warehouse and smashed fifteen cases. As another beer enthusiast expressed so eloquently, a little bit of me died at that moment. Anyway, the distributor was forced to short everyone one case.

Regardless, the wait was over. Now I was enjoy my Hopslam...

The Beer I Drank Today: Bell's Hopslam

Style: Imperial India Pale Ale

Color: golden, cloudy

frothy head, beautiful lacing

Aroma: grapefruit and pine, grapefruit and pine

If hops were a vegetable and an expert chef was able to prepare them in such a way that accented all their other attributes with little bitterness...oh, and a touch of honey sweetness, that's how I would describe Hopslam. Although, the bitterness that I love became more pronounced as the beer warmed.

Context: Do I need to tell that ridiculous story again? Yes, I wait every year like this for Hopslam. I discovered it by accident a couple of years ago, but the hype was not what it is today. I bought my half-case during my lunch break, stored on sixer in the basement and put the other in the 'fridge. We ordered in sushi (not a good combination) and caught up on Lost. It was a good night.

Would I recommend this beer to you? Yes, but only if you can get your hands on it. Like I've said before, it's a very limited release. If you can't get ahold of it, you might be better off just drinking every other DIPA so that you don't know what you're missing.

BTW-I also had the first year-round release by Sierra Nevada in like 30 years this week, Torpedo IPA. I'll report on that shortly.


GE said...

ok, sounds great. what are us elitist right coasters supposed to do to get a sip?

My Name is Bird said...

they have it at shakespeares, i had 3 bottles, good stuff, now i'm drunk.

comoprozac said...

Um, dude, it's like 10% ABV. Three is probably over the limit.

My Name is Bird said...

That is what happens when you drink with the pro's (just kidding). That is what happens when Jarret Crader takes you out drinking. Good stuff i probably would have been good with one or two.