Hopslammed: A Day In the Life of SF Beer Week

Eno Sarris, February 10, 2014

If you drag the following list out over many hours and different locations, and into the glass of many different sharing compatriots, it doesn't seem so ridiculous. But this is what happened Saturday, this is the beer list I ran into when I lugged a bag of beers to San Franciso for Almanac's Beer Talks. Quite the day. And just a little bit ridiculous.

  • To Ø l Nordic by Nature IPA
  • Faction Brewing Pale Ale
  • Cellar Maker Southern Passion IPA
  • Almanac Golden Gate Gose
  • Crooked Stave Saison Vieielle Artisanal Batch Seven
  • Fifty-Fifty Eclipse (20-Year Elijah Craig) Barrel Aged Stout (2012)
  • Griz's Lawnmower Ale
  • Almanac Brandy Barrel Peche
  • Henhouse Saison
  • Almanac IPA
  • Anchor Liberty Ale
  • Prairie Puncheon Saison
  • Bell's Hopslam
  • Tröegs Nugget Nectar
  • Almanac Farmer's Reserve No. 3
  • Firestone Walker PNC Tequila-Barrel Aged Imperial Buckwheat Stout (2013)
  • AleSmith IPA

It's like a roller coaster of modern craft beer brewing. The nordic IPA had juniper and some sort of sea buck thorn or something in it, looked like orange juice and barely had bubbles. The souther passion hops tastes like pineapples and bubble gum. The Crooked Stave brett beers are so great. I'd had the 12-year Elijah Craig 50/50 (and thought it was the best of the three I've tried), but was it possible that the 20-year was better? Or was it only the fact that FiftyFifty brewmaster Todd Ashman was telling us how to find the best barrel while I drank it? The Henhouse saison was full of pepper and coriander and was fresh and bright. The Prairie was more dank. The Hopslam gets its own writeup, but I might have liked the better balance of Nugget Nectar better. Love the new sours from Almanac, but the Farmer's Reserves are still on top (unless you're talking Sour Porter). The PNC was so thick! I was supposed to have a sour in it, but the sourness only resulted in some brightness at the end of the thickness, not much actual pucker. The tequila notes were interesting, though. AleSmith is just a classic way to end the night.

What a day, eh? Like a double-header of beer.

Bell's Hopslam Double IPA

Appearance = 4/5

Thick light (honey) orange, not many bubbles, inch-ish head that goes away pretty quickly, good lacing.

Smell = 4.5/5

Citrus, pine, alcohol... honey.

Taste = 4/5

Fruit, maybe mango, grapefruit, honey, alcohol, grass, honey, bitter, honey.

Mouthfeel = 3.5/5

Thick! Sticky! Not enough carbonation for me. The honey was so thick that I wanted more to cut through it at the end. Like that it was a mouthful, didn't like that I felt bogged down.

Overall = 4/5

I enjoyed this beer. I'm not sure it's in my top five DIPAs though. It felt thick. So much honey. Just a bit more hops, a few more bubbles, and I think I might have been in love. Reminds me of Pliny the Younger, but I'd rather have the fresher, brighter one.