TWIB: Slamming Hops and Red Bullies

Well hello, there! I haven’t done a TWIB for a while. Today it felt right to talk about a couple hot topics, which is exactly what TWIBs are for. TWIB, in case you’ve forgotten, stands for This Week in Beer. It’s my play on words from This Week in Baseball. There are two topics I want to focus on this week – Bell’s Hopslam release and Old Ox’s legal battle against Red Bull.

Release the Hops

Bell’s Hopslam is one of several yearly massively-hyped releases for parts of the mid-Atlantic region. I can only speak for Hopslam’s popularity in the mid-Atlantic region because that’s all I have experience with.

I love Bell’s Brewery. In fact, with a fictional gun to my head, I’d probably say it is my favorite brewery. The majority of their beers are outstanding. Kalamazoo Stout, Double Cream Stout, Two-Hearted Ale, … They’re all fantastic.

However, I can’t get behind Hopslam. Don’t get me wrong; it’s a quality beer. BeerAdvocate gives it a 99 score (for whatever that’s worth). It’s a hop-filled haymaker that punches the hopheads right in their faces. But come on retailers and bars… Why are you $10 a pint? Last year I really wanted my buddy Scott to try a Hopslam. I wasn’t going to order one but he said he’d never had one so I ordered us each one. Then surrendered $20+tip. Ouch. Never again.

This year I’m seeing prices range from $19.99-$29.99 for a six-pack (all in Virginia).

I can’t do it. If I go to a bottleshare in the coming weeks I’ll be happy to drink one but I’m not going out and spending that much on this beer. This one isn’t a unicorn beer for me. I know… $3.33/bottle in a six-pack won’t break the bank. It’s more principle. If you haven’t tried it before, yeah go for it. But decide for yourself if you’d rather get 2-3 six-packs of Two-Hearted Ales or one six-pack of Hopslam. I’ll take the Two-Hearted every day.

Frivolous Lawsuits

Old Ox Brewery, who is in my backyard in Ashburn, VA, has been all over the news the past 24 hours. Their story has been picked up pretty much everywhere. Old Ox posted this last night which has a ton of links to all the press they has received.

To sum it up for you, Red Bull (yes, the energy drink company) filed a lawsuit saying customers could confuse Old Ox with Red Bull. Huh? Yep. This gigantic company worth approximately 5.3 billion dollars is going after this small, family-owned and operated brewery. $5,300,000,000. Got that?

Common sense, y’all. That’s all I can say about this. I hope common sense kicks in and this gets dismissed quickly, Red Bull faces severe public backlash and this small brewery’s budget doesn’t get crushed. When this is all over I hope this helps to grow Old Ox and make a point to these large companies that they gotta stop bullying small, community-based companies.

I know the brewery’s president, head brewer and other brewery employees. I’ve witnessed this brewery grow from a bare concrete warehouse. So this is personal. I haven’t drunk Red Bull in many years and wasn’t planning on drinking it anytime soon. This only solidifies the fact that I will never be consuming their product again.

To the Old Ox family, Chris and everyone else over there – as you should already know, please tell me what I can do to help you all in any way whatsoever. I will stand on my tiny soapbox and preach to whoever will listen.

Rant Over

I guess this TWIB ended up being more of a rant. I haven’t had a beer since Saturday so maybe that’s why. Hopefully I’ll get something good in my system tonight. I might check out Brew Loco for the first time tonight.

What do you think about Hopslam? Over-priced? Over-hyped? Over-hopped? Worth every penny?

What are you thoughts on Old Ox? I think it’s pretty one-sided but would love to hear the opposition (in hopes that many, many people come and completely bash it!).

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