Heady. Freaking. Topper



I never thought I would taste a beer that even matches the venerable hop bomb known as Pliny the Elder from Russian River Brewing Company. But I have. The name is Heady Topper, from The Alchemist Brewery based in Waterbury, Vermont, and hop bliss is the game. This double IPA packs a lupulin punch with a scant 8% alcohol (for a double IPA, that is).

I set up a trade with a chap from Connecticut for a bottle of Mother of All Storms, a bourbon barrel aged barleywine from Pelican Brewpub, and he offered to throw in a four pack of Heady for a four pack of Surly Furious. I agreed and the package arrived a few days ago.

Heady Topper comes in a silver tall boy with the words “Drink From The Can!” emblazoned around the top. I complied, but I also had a nice tulip glass on hand to get a full feel for the aromatics. I’m glad I did. The smell leaps out of the can, with pineapple, pine, papaya, mango, and guava aromas that promise big things to come. The can concentrates the aromas, but the tulip lets them open up and mellow, for a nice, sublime scent.

The taste follows suit, with a masterful hop blend riding a creamy, soft wave of carbonation. The beer is only lightly bitter, but oh so hoppy.

A little backstory to this beer: this was originally just one beer in a stable of brews at Alchemist Brewpub, and the first to be canned at the Alchemist Cannery down the road from the pub. The northeast hurricane of 2011 flooded the original pub and they were forced to move all brewing operations to the cannery, which became Alchemist Brewery. Alchemist now only makes Heady Topper, and they distribute these hop rockets to several locations in Vermont.

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