The journey of a thousand beers begins with a single step and a double IPA. Bell’s Hop Slam says it’s “a biting bitter tongue bruiser of an ale. With a name like Hop Slam what did you expect?” It’s got 10% alcohol by volume and says it’s brewed with honey. It’s a pretty pale yellow color with a very slight hint of orange color. It’s got a fairly thin head and the smell of hops is immediately noticeable in the glass. It’s almost a sweet grassy smell. I know a lot of double IPAs claim it, but this one actually tastes like you’re sucking on a hop, especially with the hop flavor that lingers in your mouth for a minute or so afterward. It really is light bodied and is unbelievably smooth for a double IPA because the hop flavor is not at all harsh (at least to a hop loving palate) and the alcohol flavor is almost non-existant for a 10% ABV beer. Perhaps it has something to do with using honey.
I can definitely see myself sitting on the deck drinking in a couple of these each summer or spring, although at 10%, I’m not sure you’d want to drink too many. Because it has so much hop flavor, I loved starting my evening with this one, so I could fully appreciate the flavor. However, the hop flavor lingers and kills your taste buds, so wait if you’re going to try something else. I don’t know enough be able to tell you what kind of hops were used, but it’s a hop flavor I really like.
The latticing it leaves on the glass is nice, and as I drank a bit more, I do start to notice the alcohol heat back in my throat. It really is a good double IPA, and it seems to be smoother than I remember Avery’s Maharaja being. Someday, I’ll have to try the Hop Slam and the Maharaja side-by-side just to do a comparison. The hops in the Hop Slam seem to have a bit more of a uniform hop flavor than I remember the Maharaja having. All in all, this is probably one of the best double IPAs I’ve had, although with 999 more beers in front of me, I can’t wait to see what lies ahead.