At this moment, I’m drinking a Heady Topper from The Alchemist brewery in Waterbury, Vermont. And it’s amazing, which is why I’m dedicating a blog post to a single 16-ounce can—yes, it comes in a can—of beer.
Heady Topper is an double IPA, but it’s not just any IPA. It’s probably one of the best, and most sought-after IPAs in the United States right now. It’s the Pliny the Elder—or maybe even the Pliny the Younger—of the East Coast. And it’s made in smaller batches than Pliny, so it’s incredibly difficult to get your hands on, even in New England. (I find Heady Topper once every few months, and I go to embarrassingly great lengths to find rare beers.)
The Heady Topper can screams, in capital letters, “DRINK FROM THE CAN!” But fuck that. This beer deserves better—and I admittedly have a can complex.
From the Heady Topper can:
“Heady Topper is an American Double India Pale Ale. This beer is not intended to be the biggest or most bitter. It is meant to give you wave after wave of hoppy goodness on your palate. Tremendous amounts of American hops will creep up on you, and leave you with a dense hoppy finish in your mouth. So
“So drinkable, it’s scary.
“Sometimes I wish I could crawl right into the can. Freshness and control have always been my main concern when it comes to our beer. We are committed to providing you with an unfiltered and unpasteurized hop experience. Why do I recommend that you drink it from the can? Quite simply, to ensure a delightful, hoppy experience. The act of pouring it in a glass smells nice, but it releases the essential hop aromas that we have worked so hard to retain. If you MUST pour it into a glass you may find that some of the hop resins have settled to the bottom—leave them in the can when pouring. This beer is perishable, and at its best when it’s young, fresh and hazy. Keep it cold, but not ice cold. Drink this beer immediately, we are always making more.
– John Kimmich, The Alchemist, Waterbury Vermont”
Heady Topper is near the top(per) of my list of IPAs every hopeless hop head should try at least once. I just finished my can, and I’m already pining for another. That’s some heady shit.