A comment from a friend, questioning whether he should pop open a Bell's Hopslam or a Surly Abrasive, and some subsequent comments, embedded a thought in my head that I just couldn't shake. Which was better? I certainly think the world of both of them but I'd never actually had them side-by-side.
As fortune would have it, I had both on hand and felt the urge to put them to a head-to-head test. Nevermind that Hopslam is 10% ABV and Abrasive, at a "mere" 9% comes in a 16-ounce can. I knew I should wait until my better half was around but I just couldn't. It was like the pull of the leftover pie on the kitchen counter at Thanksgiving - irresistible.
Departing from my usual haphazard home drinking style I actually consulted Beer Advocate for the appropriate glass for a double/imperial IPA. I don't collect glassware for different styles of beer but we happened to have a couple of snifters from last year's beer and cheese pairing that were just what was recommended.
Checking into both of them on Untappd my previous ratings were Abrasive - 5 stars and Hoplsam - 4 stars. Note that until yesterday's Untappd update, only full stars were an option. I might have given Hopslam a 4.5 if it had been possible. I chose to let my previous ratings stand.
Yes, I know the video is shot portrait instead of landscape. I got confused with my phone vs my camera. But doesn't it seem more peep show-ish and naughty?
First impressions: Abrasive gave off an aroma letting one know right away that this is a high ABV beer while Hopslam offered a stinky, slightly honey nose. Neither were particularly carbonated with the head dissapating soon after being poured. Taking a taste Abrasive drank so smooth and clean the memory of the high test aroma was forgotten. Hopslam offered just the opposite with an unsuspecting aroma but a slam of flavor so strong the 10% wasn't to be questioned.
Getting warmer: Abrasive's caramel aroma increased as it warmed and the flavor continued to be very pleasant. Hopslam's aroma remained fairly unchanged and stinky while the flavor seemed to get sharper.
Conclusion: While I will still gladly drink a Hopslam or an Abrasive anytime one is available the winner in this battle was Abrasive. Perhaps next time I'll be more in the mood for a slapping around by the stinky hops in Hopslam.