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I've decided, while Hopslam is a great beer, that the $20 (or more) price tag is beyond my limit. I feel a little violated at that price point because I don't think the ingredient list warrants the price. Sure, it's a Double IPA and hops and malt and honey cost more for this beer, but there are other DIPAs, such as Stone's Ruination or Bill Madden's Molotov Hoptail (only available at Mad Fox), which are just as good, in my opinion, and are more reasonably priced. I understand supply and demand can dictate price, so good for Bell's to be able to sell out a beer within a week of release at that price. Having said that, I won't turn down a bottle if someone offers it to me:-)

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Yeah. I hit a random little convenience store on my way over to Marshall's apartment and they had Hopslam. $27.99. Oof.

I still got it, because I figured I'd probably drink at least that much (in price) when/if I found it at a bar, but man that's steep.

It's good, don't get me wrong. But I probably won't be buying any more. I hope. (My wallet will thank me, I'm sure.)

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Is there any interest in ongoing dr.com beer tastings?

What I mean by this, is that some of our beer experts (Dr Xmus, SeanMike, Nick Freshman, jrichstar, mdt, et al) select a beer for the dr.com community to purchase and taste, thoughtfully, over the course of a week or two. We can have one thread dedicated for each beer, and can all chime in with our thoughts. I know that I'd be interested in participating in every single thread, if the thread-starter could list several places that have the beer for purchase.

Kind of like the Beer Advocate forum, but more like a group tasting where everyone is doing it over a similar time period - a week, two weeks, etc., and if anyone wants to chime in with additional notes a year later, well, that's okay, too.

We could do the same with wines, of course, but beers are more readily available. Does anyone want to run this? I think it might be as popular as our "Where Am I Dining?" game (which is by far the single most popular topic on the website right now), and if we get enough different beers, we can split this into a sub forum after enough time goes by.

I don't want to run this, but I'd like a reliable, enthusiastic member with a passion for beer to step up and become our beer expert.

Any discussion? Nothing needs to be decided immediately, but I'd like to get moving on it.

Again, we can do it with wines (more expensive is a downside), cocktails (more variable), and pretty much anything - even dishes at a given restaurant, but beer is the perfect subject for this since it doesn't involve everyone swarming to one location. I love this idea, and I hope others do, too.

Someone step up? I can say, in no uncertain terms, that I'm in! And if anyone needs me to drop beer off for them, I'm willing to travel a bit since I'm all around the town anyway.

Cheers, and let's rock this thing! If we get it going for beer, I *guarantee* I'll get it going for wine by buying a case (or two) of inexpensive, interesting wine, and distributing it among 12 (or 24) members at my own cost. Yes, I'll do the driving, and it will be healthy for retailers and wholesalers. What an all-around winning situation that would be. We could instantly go up to 1,000 bottles a year, purchased site-wide, and that's just for this tasting.

I'm willing to do it - are you? Furthermore, I'd be willing to write an interesting historical background for each wine we do, such as the one I did for Society Fair (can someone reproduce a copy?)

Rocks

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I had a bottle tonight from some friends who both found 6-packs in convenience stores for $23.99.

It is (as to be expected) a crazy smooth example of a strong IPA, almost to the point of being too subdued. Maybe it's just my poor memory but I seem to recall last tear's batch being a little more aggressive on the front end. Whatever though, it is still really good - of course whether or not the price and hype are worth it is an entirely different discussion. I had a glass of Stone's "Enjoy By..." this weekend as well and actually preferred it of the two. It's a very good time to be a beer drinker if you like these styles of beers.

And I'd jump on a beer tasting club for sure.

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I love the idea of a beer tasting club. For all the reasons you mentioned it works well in this forum (beer also has a freshness factor which is less an issue for wine/cocktails). While beer is best enjoyed with others. I look forward to future "online" tastings. As a DR lurker, I don't feel qualified to lead a tasting but would definitely participate.

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Is there any interest in ongoing dr.com beer tastings?

Rocks

Hey Don et al,

This lines up pretty well with my I Want Our Community back post, and I'd like to throw my hat in the ring to help coordinate virtual tastings. One drawback, though, I am currently wrapped up in a relocation plan from Arlington to Richmond. So while I can get the ball rolling up here, it might be harder to keep it going once the moving begins (April/Mayish). Should we break this off into a separate thread? And for those who watched football last night, our first tasting will not be Budweiser Black Crown, sorry. Also, I'm not ITB, just a beer enthusiast, so if someone with more experience/connections wants to help out or take the lead, I'm on board with whatever.

-Eric

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I'd be all over a virtual beer tasting group, but with admittedly no time to plan or organize (other than throwing out some suggestions here and there).

Does anybody know of HopSlam still available on draft in DC? ChurchKey and Meridian Pint predictably blew through their kegs in no time last week. I'd always prefer to have a taste every year on tap rather than shelling out for a 6-pack.

Windows Market on 1st/Rhode Island in Bloomingdale had them for $21.99 as of last night. I think that is the "cheapest" I've heard in the District this year.

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I had a bottle tonight from some friends who both found 6-packs in convenience stores for $23.99.

It is (as to be expected) a crazy smooth example of a strong IPA, almost to the point of being too subdued. Maybe it's just my poor memory but I seem to recall last tear's batch being a little more aggressive on the front end. Whatever though, it is still really good - of course whether or not the price and hype are worth it is an entirely different discussion. I had a glass of Stone's "Enjoy By..." this weekend as well and actually preferred it of the two. It's a very good time to be a beer drinker if you like these styles of beers.

And I'd jump on a beer tasting club for sure.

People over on Beer Advocate are saying the 1/15 batch of Hopslam (which is the one that made it to DC) seems to be off. I think I agree. It's good, but the hop aroma and flavor seems to be muted compared to years past. Hard to tell, though, if that's just my memory playing tricks on me or that there's so many other good DIPAs that Hopslam has to compete with now (like ad.mich, I thought the Enjoy By was preferable... easily so for me).

I love the virtual beer tasting idea.

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Love the virtual beer tasting idea.

Both Hopslam and Lagunitas Sucks were available at the Silver Spork (former Marvelous Market) right next to Eastern Market. Of course, given that this was the third place I had heard had Hopslam that I visited on Sunday, and the only place that still had it in stock, they may well be out. Cost was, I think, $24.

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I'd be all over a virtual beer tasting group, but with admittedly no time to plan or organize (other than throwing out some suggestions here and there).

Does anybody know of HopSlam still available on draft in DC? ChurchKey and Meridian Pint predictably blew through their kegs in no time last week. I'd always prefer to have a taste every year on tap rather than shelling out for a 6-pack.

Windows Market on 1st/Rhode Island in Bloomingdale had them for $21.99 as of last night. I think that is the "cheapest" I've heard in the District this year.

According to twitter, Big Hunt is tapping their keg at 4pm today.

Stumbled across some on tap on Friday, shockingly drinkable for 10%, and like others mentioned not as hoppy as expected.

I like virtual beer tasting idea and would participate.

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People over on Beer Advocate are saying the 1/15 batch of Hopslam (which is the one that made it to DC) seems to be off. I think I agree. It's good, but the hop aroma and flavor seems to be muted compared to years past.

I had two bottles last night. Chris, I agree that it is off, but in a different way: I get none of the balance that this beer is known for. No sweetness from the honey, the malt is pretty subdued. I just tasted a hop-forward IIPA; nothing special. This is pity even ignoring the price premium. I felt the same way about last year's batch, although my only taste was the cask at ChurchKey so I chalked it up to the medium. I probably won't bother next year :(

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Love the virtual beer tasting idea.

Both Hopslam and Lagunitas Sucks were available at the Silver Spork (former Marvelous Market) right next to Eastern Market. Of course, given that this was the third place I had heard had Hopslam that I visited on Sunday, and the only place that still had it in stock, they may well be out. Cost was, I think, $24.

Hopslam was still available today at noon. I didn't have the courage to check the price.

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Shelf price was about $20/six at Ace over the weekend, or by the case at a slight discount from that.

(While you're at it, they've laid in a huge supply of Ardbeg 10 gift boxes, each including a miniature of Uigeadail, at a paltry $45 shelf price. Sure, MoCo DLC currently has Ten on sale for $40, but the gift set packaging is considerably nicer, and Rockwellians would do well to consult with Joe Riley while shopping there.)

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I had two bottles last night. Chris, I agree that it is off, but in a different way: I get none of the balance that this beer is known for. No sweetness from the honey, the malt is pretty subdued. I just tasted a hop-forward IIPA; nothing special. This is pity even ignoring the price premium. I felt the same way about last year's batch, although my only taste was the cask at ChurchKey so I chalked it up to the medium. I probably won't bother next year :(

Definitely something wrong with either the recipe this year or that specific batch to hit DC. Too boozy, frankly not enough hops in my opinion. Just kind of an unbalanced mess. Either my tastes are changing or the beer is but I feel truly sorry for people spending $20-25 a sixer for this beer - its a shadow of what it was 2-3 years ago

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Definitely something wrong with either the recipe this year or that specific batch to hit DC. Too boozy, frankly not enough hops in my opinion. Just kind of an unbalanced mess. Either my tastes are changing or the beer is but I feel truly sorry for people spending $20-25 a sixer for this beer - its a shadow of what it was 2-3 years ago

I definitely didn't feel that way about the six pack I got. I didn't taste the booze at all in it, and it had an over-the-top, almost creamy hops taste (kind of reminsicent to me of DFH 120 minute).

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I definitely didn't feel that way about the six pack I got. I didn't taste the booze at all in it, and it had an over-the-top, almost creamy hops taste (kind of reminsicent to me of DFH 120 minute).

That is what my wife and I thought. Good beer, but we certainly see what the big fuss was all about.
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In response to the beer club idea: I'd definitely be interested. I haven't posted in a while since I actually moved out of the DC area a couple years ago, but would love the beer idea, even if I couldn't participate each time due to different beers being distributed when comparing DC-area to NC.

Regarding Hopslam: I picked up a six. Kept it around in the fridge for a couple weeks as schedules were just too crazy otherwise. Had a couple of them two nights ago. I thought it was better than last year, but still not deserving of the price tag. That said, as long as the local store keeps getting them and its easy to get a six-pack (other than the cost), I'm sure I'll keep buying a six-pack every year. I was much more stoked that the local store got in a couple bottle of Lagunitas WTF than I was the Hopslam. WTF is a pretty great beer and for the cost ($5/22oz bomber?) its absolutely off the chart.

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It's Hopslam season again.  I'm happy to sit out this year's hunt, as my beer consumption is very much on the decline (hard to admit for the Virtual Beer Tasting host).  Any reports as to this year's formula?  Just as much golden honey and hops as every year or is it ruined by the nostalgia of previous years' batches?

(And a quick reading upthread shows it might be the anniversary of the VBT's formation, which Don suggested in this thread last year)

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Norm's Beer and Wine in Vienna got it on Monday morning. He was limiting purchases to 1 sixer per person and he sold out in 1 hour and 20 minutes. On Sunday he told me he has sold to people in the past who drove from store to store to build a case. He has also been yelled at for limiting buyers to one six-pack. The yeller told him he'd go elsewhere to buy his Hopslam (like this is a threat when Norm knows it'll sell out the day he gets it.) Personally, I think the hype is too much for the beer, but what the hell do I know? Now...Nugget Nectar, on the other hand...

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It seems like a cottage industry has sprouted up around naming beers that are just as good if not better than Hopslam.  While I'm not the biggest Nugget Nectar fan, I know a lot of people prefer it.  I hope that beer hype hype in general soon dies down, and everyone can buy what they enjoy and still leave enough on the shelf for everyone else. I'm taking a break from hoppy bombs for a bit, getting my palate back to normal, but if  you can find some Evil Twin Molotov Cocktail, I thought it was a pretty good brew.

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As of 15 minutes ago, there were sixpacks available at Yes Organic Market on 14th St. of all places.

I'm drinking my first one now, and don't notice as much honey balance as I remember from years past.  A bit disappointing, though I'm interested in trying it on draft and making the comparison.

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I called around a few retailers today.  Ace Beverage says they're expecting a delivery sometime this week, though had hoped to get it earlier.  Davinos on 18th St says they expect it Friday.

Yup.  We got ours on Wednesday.  Already blown through a lot of it because we don't limit people.  I'm told a lot of people bought an entire case.

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Rodman's sold out early this morning.  I got some at Magruder's.  They also had a keg for growler fills.  Although I think it is a bit of hype, its a good solid beer and if I don't have to kill myself to get it, I am all over it!

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On tap at SK right now. One of my favorite times of the year. Plus, we have the Lagunitas Sucks on as well. Makes for a nice side by side. Hopslam's keg price is about 60% more than Two Hearted or 60 Minute. We charge up, but not that much. Honestly, I like the Hopslam a lot, but it's hard to believe it's worth the price especially if you're paying off premise retail.

Beer for beer and dollar for dollar, I still think the the regular lagunitas IPA and the Sumpin Sumpin are my definition of great beer. With Sumpin Sumpin even edging ahead; particularly with warm weather coming.

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On tap at SK right now. One of my favorite times of the year. Plus, we have the Lagunitas Sucks on as well. Makes for a nice side by side. Hopslam's keg price is about 60% more than Two Hearted or 60 Minute. We charge up, but not that much. Honestly, I like the Hopslam a lot, but it's hard to believe it's worth the price especially if you're paying off premise retail.

Beer for beer and dollar for dollar, I still think the the regular lagunitas IPA and the Sumpin Sumpin are my definition of great beer. With Sumpin Sumpin even edging ahead; particularly with warm weather coming.

Agree with you on Lagunitas.  Dollar for dollar better than most out there, even Stone IPA.  Hopslam is a great beer, but there are so many great hoppy beers out there now.  Regardless, I still seek out a six pack every year at this time.

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I can't speak for anyone else, but I feel like I've ran into Hopslam for sale and/or on draft a lot more this year than I have in the past.  Not sure if more came our way, if distribution was more spread out, or what.  I have seen a ton of bodega Hopslam around DC though.  

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I can't speak for anyone else, but I feel like I've ran into Hopslam for sale and/or on draft a lot more this year than I have in the past.  Not sure if more came our way, if distribution was more spread out, or what.  I have seen a ton of bodega Hopslam around DC though.  

Bell's in general is ubiquitous in these parts - other than the Two-Hearted Ale, the Hopslam may be what I've seen the most (although this is a first instinct, without much thought at all behind it).

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There were rumors that Bells was trying to up their production since they're expanding their distribution to New York this year.  It started shipping to the mid-Atlantic on Jan 20th, and it showed up on shelves here in Richmond around Valentine's Day I think, maybe a few days earlier.  There's also talk that places where Bells sells very well throughout the year get more cases allotted for their stores.  This might account for places like Harris Teeter (which is Kroger down here and in Ohio) getting more inventory this year.  So if you like your Hopslam, buy Oberon over the summer.

And this is from the Hopslam FAQ on their website:

Q: Is there more this year?

A: We are trying to brew more but won't know the final numbers until it's all packaged and shipped.

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I had a chance to taste this year's Hopslam on draft last night. In my opinion, the trend of this getting more one-dimensional over time continues. I barely got any of the honey that used to make this so interesting.

I agree. Our annual keg just came in at SK. I tasted it and thought this is another monster IPA meant to scorch my taste buds and make it impossible to drink anything else. It is good for what it is, but 100/100? I don't understand the beer geek websites. Plus, 10% ABV? Anything over 7-7.5%, and I have mostly lost interest.

Side by side, I don't see why anyone would want a Hopslam over a Bell's Two Hearted Ale. In my opinion, the Two Hearted, Bell's standard IPA, is nearly perfect.

On the other end of the spectrum, we also got Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA in. Another 99/100 beer with a highly anticipated release. We were supposed to have it a month ago, but demand is outpacing supply. I had such high hopes from such a highly regarded brewery. And I thought it was...flat. Beautiful nose, but washed out in the glass and aftertaste.

So, one burns my mouth and makes me hand my keys to my wife, the other makes me long for a Lagunitas or something with more strength and body. Am I the IPA Goldilocks? Maybe. It's the same for me with wine. Big, Cali cabs and zins bore me, but I need more earth and spice and body than a lot of 'lighter reds' can offer.

Fuck it, I'm picky, and I know what I like. And what I like are the beers that have the balance. Two Hearted, Lagunitas IPA, New Holland Mad Hatter, Brooklyn East India Pale Ale, and of course Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. I don't care what anybody says, that beer is near perfect. I tend to want a little more hops these days, but that was the beer that got me to love beer and hops, and it is still awesome. They have done a great job with Torpedo IPA, and I love the Ruthless Rye IPA, but when the original (30+ years!) Pale Ale came out in that beautiful green can, I was in love again. Balance, pure and simple.

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On tap at SK right now. 10 cases at Eventide to be released next week. I can't remember how it tasted last year, but this year it is great. I don't know if I've ever had a smoother 10% ABV beer, especially an IPA.

Funny, I just looked back up the thread. A couple of years ago, it was a better beer. The other beer that I look forward to, but that changes from year to year, is Sierra Celebration. Sometimes awesome, sometimes a dud. Maybe it is the fresh hops they add and the variation in the quality of the harvest.

Beer for beer and dollar for dollar, I still think the the regular lagunitas IPA and the Sumpin Sumpin are my definition of great beer. With Sumpin Sumpin even edging ahead; particularly with warm weather coming.

At least I am consistent.

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 of course Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. I don't care what anybody says, that beer is near perfect. I tend to want a little more hops these days, but that was the beer that got me to love beer and hops, and it is still awesome. They have done a great job with Torpedo IPA, and I love the Ruthless Rye IPA, but when the original (30+ years!) Pale Ale came out in that beautiful green can, I was in love again. Balance, pure and simple.

 Agree 100%

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My favorite Bell's beer is Oarsman. I thought about picking up a sixer when I stopped at Binny's this afternoon. I instead went for variety and a make-your-own six-pack (the price being the same as Oarsman, which makes up 1 of the 6 I selected). That might be a mistake as that beer needs to be fresh, and sometimes the select-sixers have been sitting awhile.

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