Good Beer Hunting

no. 395


The first time I had a Hopslam was the night I proposed to my wife. We celebrated at a café around the corner from our small apartment. It was my first Double IPA, too. A high-octane 10% ABV with a palate-wrecking bitterness that lingered sip to sip—it was unlike anything I'd ever had before. And for reasons much bigger than that beer, I'll never forget it.

I'm often a little territorial—call it "overprotective," maybe?—with regard to my cellar of overpriced and, frankly, over-hyped bottles. It's just that I'm always hoping for the right time to unveil them upon (imaginary) star-struck beer drinkers, hoping that somehow this will be the beer that will make this a moment.

I should know better. After all, beers don't make moments—moments make beers. That Hopslam, the Founders Red's Rye at our wedding, the Matilda I shared with co-workers when my daughter was born, the Barleywine I nervously drank as we signed off on our first house—these are the beers that left lasting impressions, sure, but it was their pairing with life events that made them momentous.

It's been almost a decade since that Hopslam, and I've had dozens of DIPAs that live up to—and surpass—that first one. But every January, I'm the first one in the door of my favorite bottle shop to grab a sixer off the stack. It's a tiny, 12-ounce way I revel in that life-changing moment. Here's to many more of them in the future.