My Notebook of the amazing places I have visited and the memories and experiences I don't want to forget.
One of the things on my ‘To Do List’ whilst on a road trip across New England in the fall of 2014 was to try Heady Topper, an American Double IPA. This beer or ‘nectar of the Gods’ is produced by The Alchemist Brewery in Waterbury, Vermont. Waterbury is best known to tourists as the location of the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream factory, and sure a visit to the factory is fun but definitely should not be the main reasons to stop and visit this beautiful part of the world. Firstly Waterbury is surrounded by beautiful countryside with the Green Mountains to the south and Mt Mansfield and various State Parks to the North. It was the perfect 1 night stop over on our road trip. We managed to do a bit of hiking (Sterling Pond Trail) and sightseeing like visiting the historic town centre of Stowe.
However one of the other reasons to make a stop is to try Heady Topper, to warn you the brewery is not open to the public, it used to be but they just couldn’t handle the crowds. Also you can only get Heady Topper in cans, but any one who knows a thing or two about beer, will tell you that’s not a bad thing. Thirdly the beer is really only available in Vermont, you can find a list of locations which stock the beer here.
The little town of Waterbury also has a fine eating/drinking establishment in Prohibition Pig on Main Street. This bar serves lots, and I mean lots, of great beer and also cocktails and food for good measure. The restaurant section doesn’t take reservations so be prepared for a short wait but it’s not really any bother when you get to drink great beer while you wait. After a long hike we were looking forward to some libations and food and walked into town from the nearby Best Western. The food itself was very good and highly recommended, although for American standards the portions are not that large considering the cost. However the beer is amazing, I tried my first Heady Topper here. At first I thought they didn’t have it as I could not see it on tap. However I saw someone had a can of it at the bar so I immediately ordered it. It does taste amazing, full of citrus and hoppy flavours but be warned it doesn’t taste like it contains 8% ABV, a couple of cans is all you need.
The next day we were leaving Waterbury and eventually Vermont behind to head into New Hampshire. I know I had to get some more of this beer to go before we left. I checked the website and found a place that stocked the beer with a delivery having occurred that morning. I got there as it opened, someone had beaten us to it and was already on his way out the door with a full case. As we went in we asked the shops owner where to find this miracle drink, he told us and explained it was only 1 case per customer, we only bought 2 four-packs as we were going back to England in 10 days time but we enjoyed every can and every sip. To this day every beer I have does not compare to the taste of Heady Topper. I understand why the Alchemist brewery only makes this one beer, they don’t need to make anymore, they have made the perfect beer. However what is annoying is the limited production and the fact the beer is sold in small numbers. Part of that adds to the excitement but I would hate to go to Vermont and not be able to get my hands on this brew. It truly is the best beer in the world. I hope that sometime in the future I am in Vermont again, not just for the scenery but also to taste Heady Topper, from a can like it should be!