Beer review: Hopslam Ale; Bell’s Brewery, Comstock, Michigan

Patrick Holbrook
The Columbus Dispatch
I was so outraged by Hopslam's $17.99 price point that I bought two Hopslam glasses from the Bell's Brewing website.

Hopslam Ale; Bell’s Brewery, Comstock, Michigan

Details: Available seasonally (January and February), at many local supermarkets and carryouts; $17.99 for a six-pack; 10.0% alcohol by volume

Notes: It’s noted that it contains honey, and it pours that color with very light haze.

Thoughts: So, let’s talk $17.99 ($19.34 with tax, or $3.22 per 12 ounces). Is Hopslam worth a king’s ransom, or is it simply overhyped and overpriced?

If you watch the video on the brewery’s website featuring an enthusiastic John Mallett, Bell’s director of operations, you will come away convinced that it’s absolutely worth the money! Perhaps. Others might balk at paying wine money for beer just on general principle, because there are many big double IPAs out there for a more reasonable price.

But I say “Why not?” for a once-a-year treat from the well-known Kalamazoo-area brewery that produces stalwarts such as Two Hearted and Oberon ales, among many others.

Though it has six kinds of hops, with an infusion of dry-hop Simcoe, Hopslam is not a festival of bitterness. Thanks to the honey and added malts, there is a slight sweetness that gives it a well-rounded, easy drinkability (though it has double IPA heft, it is not overly thick and heavy).

With the robust ABV, it’s smart to limit the consumption at one sitting, but Bell’s does tout Hopslam’s freshness and says it’s best enjoyed right away and not shelved to open later.

Around my house, beer tends not to last anyway, so I won’t have any problem with that. I just won’t check my bank account after that trip to the carryout.

— Patrick Holbrook, Dispatch beer reviewer