You hear and learn some funny things when you are traveling, and The Cult that is Heady Topper is one of them. Now I knew that craft beer in the USA had exploded, but I was probably unaware of just how far they have come since their Budweiser days. Throughout out travels in the New England states, there are just two topics that people talk about regularly. The weather and their craft beer.
It was not until we got to the totally magical Stowe in Vermont that we heard about The Cult that is Heady Topper.
Just some background to get you up to speed. The Alchemist is a small, family run brewery in Waterbury, Vermont specializing in fresh, unfiltered IPA, which stands for India Pale Ale. They specialize in brewing this beer that has gained such a cult following. That beer is the Heady Topper, an American Double IPA. The Alchemist brewery makes only 45,600 16-ounce cans of the double India Pale Ale each week, and it is only distributed within a 20-mile radius of Waterbury. They do not make a lot of the beer, and this makes the elusive beer a sought after treasure…and a treasure hunt to get it.
Now The Alchemist do brew another beer, that is also a big hit with locals particularly. This Focal Banger and Beer Advocate ranks it at #4/100 of the Top Rated Beers: Vermont (US). There is no need to guess which one is #1. We are told by a local, therefore this is here-say, that Focal banger is for the locals and that Heady Topper is for the out of owners. I have no evidence whatsoever for the validity of this, but it appears that whatever The Alchemy produce, they gain this cult following.
So sought after is this beer, that people follow The Alchemist truck to get their quota of Heady Topper, and yes there is a quota. It is not just the people of Stowe, Vermont who follow the truck but people come from surrounding states to get their quota – and the quota is just one 4-pack. That is it. That is all you are allowed to buy. However, there is a Heady Topper trail track .
How to pursue the fabled Heady Topper.
– Truck leaves The Alchemist
– It is followed into Stowe Vermont, by a car full of people.
– The truck makes first stop.
– All people run in, queue up with all of the other people and HOPE get their one 4-pack.
– All people, who are smart, already KNOW the next stop. They drive there, queue, and hope to buy their 1st or their second 4-pack. (unlikely)
And on it goes, until is no Heady Topper left.
How to Plan a Heddy Topper Run
Homework, Homework, Homework. Plan, Plan, Plan. Luck, Luck. Luck
– Check the delivery dates for each location.
– Get your map/GPS out and plot the most expeditious run
– asked only the smallest of your friends to join you, so that you can get more in the car, and hopefully get your hands on more of the Heddy Topper
– expect to head to Burlington, Stowe, Montpelier and Waterbury.
– expect to see “Sorry we’re out of Heady Topper.” .. a lot
– don’t give up
– expect to travel many miles and make many stops and realize that your very small yield of the beer is a coup unto itself.
I kid you not, but there is a cult that is Heddy Topper.In case you think this is a little OTT, here are some references to validate this phenomenon.
What do we think of Heddy Topper?
If we could get our hands on some, we would let you know what the best beer in the world tastes like. We are doing the run tomorrow.
– we are staying at the Green Mountain Inn, Stowe and really think that in the interests of good journalism, we really should try Heddy Topper. What do you think? (smiley face)