Friday, July 27, 2012

Beer Review! Heady Topper

I haven't done a beer review since April and I'm not sure anyone reads them, but once in a while I get bored with writing about running--not for long, though, the Olympics should provide plenty of fodder! Anyway, without further ado, a beer review.

When it comes to rares, sought-after brews, there are generally two types. The first type are limited release beers, ones that only come out once a year or so. These beers appear only fleetingly and if you miss them, you have to wait a whole year for another chance. If you're a beer geek you know plenty of these like Pliny the Younger, Sexual Chocolate, and Canadian Breakfast Stout. The second type are beers that are produced by smaller brewers with limited distribution. This second type is the kind I'm talking about today with the Alchemist's Heady Topper.

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The Alchemist is a tiny Vermont Brewery that rarely distributes outside of its home state. In fact, New York City only received a shipment of the beer for the first time in May and ever since it's been all but impossible to get ahold of. So before I get to my review, how did I come across this tough-to-find brew? Easy, I visited the cannery in Waterbury, Vermont. On a quick side note, the cannery is just down the street from the Ben and Jerry's factory and I guarantee you a visit to the former is much more pleasant than a visit to the latter.

Okay, that's more than enough background--what about the damn beer?!? Here's my executive summary: it's delicious.

Now for the more detailed review. Heady Topper is a double IPA and weighs in at 8% ABV. It's pretty much only available in cans and that's how you're supposed to drink it--straight out of the can. As soon as you pop the top you're hit with the strong smell of tropical fruit. I wish my olfactory sense was good enough to pick out individual fruits--all I can say is I was immediately transported to Tahiti (I've never been there, if you have and that metaphor sucks, pick your favorite tropical paradise and put that in your nose).

As for taste, the biggest initial flavor is grapefruit but that is soon joined by pine, and--not that I know what it tastes like but--maybe a little bit of pot (which makes sense given that canibis and hops are related), er, let's say earthiness? It starts out slightly sweet but finishes dry with just a hint of bitterness. The carbonation, like almost every aspect of this beer, is just perfect.

The bottom line is this beer is excellent. If you're ever in Vermont it's definitely worth a detour to Waterbury and if you ever see this beer in a bar outside the Green Mountain State YOU HAVE TO ORDER IT! Even if you're not a huge IPA person it might just turn you.

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