Beer and Pavement

Hopslammed

Posted in Beer by Zac on January 19, 2011

A really dark iPhone pic of said beer.

A little over a year ago, I wrote my first post for this blog (January 14th, to be exact). It was about waiting for Tuesday, the day Hopslam[1] was unleashed in Middle Missouri. I compared it to the wait for Tuesdays when all the new albums are released[2].

Anyway, Hopslam has arrived once again and I feel I need to address it’s return to our shelves and, more importantly, our bellies.

First, after several delays, the beer we all covet was supposed to arrive in stores yesterday. It didn’t come due to yet another snafu. Meanwhile, my sister who happens to work in a Cincinnati-area Whole Foods said she witnessed 20 cases being delivered to the store last week. Our little college town is only (re)scheduled to get 30. So, jealousy is setting in[3].

In order to interrupt our Hopslam envy, the favorite local watering hole of the local beer nerd circuit[4] tapped a keg Tuesday night for a Bell’s dinner they were hosting and made it public to the average beer enthusiast. Of course, I and every other beer geek within 50 miles was there for this year’s offering, even if we didn’t have tickets for the dinner.

How was it? It was like the year before last. Last year’s was full of grapefruit courtesy of loads of Simcoe hops. This year’s version toned down the cattiness brought a ton of heat. It’s super-balanced and not annoyingly sweet or syrupy. It’s a near-perfect DIPA and doesn’t disappoint.

Sure, the beer is good, but why do we want need it so badly?

Well, it’s actually one of the few highly-sought-after beer releases we get here in Middle Missouri. It’s like going to a show for a band you’re kinda into mainly just because their only stopping in a few cities and towns[5]. A lot of breweries who do special seasonals on par with Hopslam either don’t distribute here[6] or don’t send us their special releases[7]. So, this is a pretty big beer holiday in Columbia, Missouri.

Also, a seasonal that depends on so many hops really varies from year to year. The debates will begin instantly whether this year’s version measures up or not, especially since there are no more bottles of last year’s batch still lying around[8].

Hopslam Day is like Xmas in these parts. We talk about it all year long and chase this white rabbit as long as it holds down shelf space and bar menus. I remember a few years ago three mystery cases showed up about a month after our initial shipment. Last year, one bar discovered a rogue[9] six-pack in the back of the cooler. In both cases, the beer was consumed quickly.

Music doesn’t have this same effect on me anymore, but I’m beginning to wonder if beer is close behind in my waning interest. The last couple of years, I’ve probably purchased a case or so of Hopslam for each release, but this year is looking like a one-and-done kind of year. Sure, the beer is as good as ever, but I have more diverse interests and don’t have the funds nor time for just one.

What I’m getting back to is actually enjoying beer again[10]. I plan to pick up some new releases by Epic and Stillwater to supplement the hole in my cellar left by unpurchased sixers of Hopslam. It’s time to diversify and get back to rediscovering other kinds of beer.

Besides, cutting back on the Hopslam might actually help me to enjoy and appreciate this seasonal even more. Just as I am stepping back a bit from tired practices in music listening, I’ll get back to some discovery and a smorgasbord mentality when it comes to my beer consumption. Still, Hopslam will be relished for the fine beer that it is. And when it’s gone, it’s gone. It will be time to move on to the next great beer.

Notes:
1Huge imperial IPA from Michigan brewing company Bell’s. It’s a yearly release that features tons of hops, particularly those of the Simcoe maybe Amarillo varieties, and lots and lots of booze. Plus, it has the malt backbone to hold up to even the most distinguishing tastes.
2Does anyone do this anymore? I try to pre-order records from Insound so that they arrive on Tuesdays, but they always come anywhere between the Friday prior to the following Wednesday. We need release days like Tuesday to keep the middle of the week interesting.
3I was so close to having her grab one for me, but I knew that we’d get our share eventually. It’s cool. I can wait.
4This is the swanky Sycamore. They feature just a few rotating taps, but every beer is high-end. Then you see their bottle list and know that you’re home. It is rare to find fine dining with such an extensive beer selection and excellent comfort food these days. And when you find it, I give them as much of your money as you can afford.
5However, I’m not really doing that anymore. I’ve made a point in the past to see bands I’m so-so about simply because they’re coming through town or doing an outdoor gig in the fall or spring, but that’s almost not enough these days. (See this post.)
6This list is very long, but instead of naming the breweries who refuse us their delicious beers, I’ll list a few who are on their way this year: Stone, Firestone Walker, Stillwater, and Epic.
7Looking your way Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, Avery, etc.
8Generally, it’s a bad idea to hang onto an IPA/DIPA for a long time. What makes them great (citrusy, piny, bitter aroma and flavor) fades over time. However, Hopslam is one of the few DIPA’s that’s boozy enough to be cellared. What comes out are the notes of honey and caramel. I honestly have one more I purposely held onto for a mini-vertical. I won’t do this again, but at least I can say I did it once.
9That’s a “rogue” with a little “r,” not to be confused with Rogue out of Oregon. No one’s going ape-shit for their beers.
10That and homebrewing, bug I think I’ve caught again. I’m thinking up an IPA, Saison, and Wit for the coming spring.

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2 Responses

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  1. Abby said, on January 19, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    I drank my own Hopslam at a bar in Oxford, Ohio, just last night. Last year I had a six pack of my own, which I must seek out this year as well. Yum.

    • builderofcoalitions said, on January 19, 2011 at 9:45 pm

      Yes. Buy all that you can afford while you’re still in Ohio. There’s none in New York.


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