I sit here writing to you as a fugitive; a dissident guilty of violating one of a societies many imposed social norms. I did what I had to…This wasn’t my fault. I take no pride in indulging in my baser instincts, but I am only human and some things needed to be done. Now, I sit consuming the ill gotten fruits of my labor waiting for that fateful day that I am exposed for the scoundrel that I am. I can’t keep this inside, I need air this out before it consumes me.
What? No, I didn’t break the law, or, I should say, none of the various state federal or local statutes enacted by our society. I don’t think the squat woman with broad shoulders who owns a local liquor store in my area counts as “society.” I am referring to the self-imposed six-pack limits that various liquor stores enforce during this time of year. What time is it? Why it is the season where Bell’s releases their Hopslam Ale on the unsuspecting DC Metro area. Bell’s Hopslam is an American Imperial IPA that is released every January and it has gaining quite a voracious following among “hop heads.” It also gets high praise from most of the beer drinking community because while it is a “hop” beer, the blend of American citrusy hops serve to create more of a fruit sensation that the traditional bitter one. To be blunt, it tastes like a crisp glass of mango passion fruit and, no, I am not being facetious or high minded. It’s crisp, fruity, and 10% alcohol so it really gives you a nice warm sensation when you drink it around this time of year. American IPAs tend to be bolder in flavor and this one really pushes the tropical fruit notes of hops to the extreme.
Clearly this is a beer most people would desire. However, to create the flavor in question requires a generous amount of malt and hops which has the two fold effect of driving up the price of a 6 pack ($25+ per) and forcing the brewery to use a lot of ingredients making it hard to frequently produce. Also, as you know, Bell’s Brewery is located in Michigan, and the DC market is lucky enough to get a limited amount of it as it is. This makes people act on their…baser instincts. Bars lucky enough to procure a keg of this beer usually are swamped and some have started PRE-SELLING the keg. I have seen old ladies pushed at bars and people arguing with bartenders because they apparently won’t let you order NINE beers at once (Crazy, I know). Even I have been reduced to asking unknown patrons if I could simply lick the inside of their glasses when they are empty! Well…not really. Once, I did beg a bartender let me have the last half of a beer that comes out of the keg when it kicks, but that’s another story.
This insatiable hop craving trickles down to the every day liquor store. Beer stores lucky enough to receive the bottles of Hopslam (but are unaware of its prominence) were duped into letting patrons come in and buy cases of it at a time. The average store owner sees a person willing to spend $100 dollars on a case of beer and only thinks of the profits. They don’t know that they have deprived 3 potential customers from enjoying it as well. Well, I’m happy to report that most beer stores have now wised up. They realize that Hopslam will sell out quickly no matter what, and they don’t need to worry about having expensive six packs that they can’t sell. This year, I have not entered a store with Hopslam that didn’t impose a strict 1 six pack per person limit on purchases. This is encouraging because it keeps greedy people from stocking up on a rare beer that only comes around once a year. Most stores barely receive 3-4 cases so it really does adversely impact patrons if those cases only go to 3-4 people.
Now…how did I break the rules you ask? Well, stores can limit you to 1 pack per person but they can’t stop you from getting a friend to come along with you to also purchase 1 for you, can they? ALSO, they can’t stop you from repeating this process at more than 1 store, can they? Before, you think I am a monster only out to cheat the system (No comment); I will say that most of my stock is purchased for my parents. My mother actually really enjoys this beer and it isn’t available in New Jersey. See? I’m noble like idk Robin Hood, Tony Soprano, or whatever metaphor you want. Anyway, if you ever get the chance to find this beer you really should take advantage because its really quite tasty. Also, it really makes you think about hops as more than the bitterness Miller Lite likes to over-advertise as “more taste.”
Get out there and enjoy the dark beers while its cold because they won’t be here for long!