It’s been a week since I got home, but It wouldn’t have been a trip to Vermont without bringing back some Heady Topper, I picked up my four pack at the Craft Beer Cellar in Waterbury, just across the street from the Prohibition Pig where The Alchemist Brewpub used to be before Hurricane Irene. Since the brewery is closed to the public this seemed like the right place to find mine.
Heady Topper has been a favorite for a long time, well before it was ever put in a can or considered one of the best beers in the world, if you buy into those kinds of titles. I use to enjoy it at the Alchemist Brewpub and wait in line for samples at the Vermont Brewers Festival, those long lines for Alchemist have been around a while. I fell for this beer long before beer geeks put it on a pedestal and made it a White Whale to hunt for.
I do feel that Heady Topper while sitting on its pedestal has quietly been surpassed by other hoppy offerings around New England. As I sit here and sip one of these precious silver cans I realize that Heady Topper just doesn’t strike me as the best anymore. Two years ago If you told me you had a fridge filled with double IPAs from around New England, and asked me to pick one, Heady Topper would have been the answer without hesitation. Today, Heady wouldn’t be my first choice. Blasphemy I know. I would choose an Epiphany from Foundation Brewing, followed by Swish from Bissell Brothers and I just had a chance to try it but Tribute from 14th Star Brewing was excellent, and there are a few others that would fall in before Heady.
I love Heady Topper but it’s all nostalgia for me, I sip this beer and think of good days gone by, friends who aren’t around or maybe I’ve left behind and it takes me back. I think the hype has already begun to shift and maybe one of those other beers I listed will become even harder to find, maybe if that happens we’ll see some of the old beers from the Alchemist Brewpub show back up, I do miss the Holy Cow IPA.