In Part 2 of my “staying close to home” series, I finally gave in and visited The Alchemist Brewery, on Cottage Club Road, off of Mountain Road, in Stowe, Vermont. The directions are general enough because you can’t miss this goliath of a brewery which sprouted up in July 2016. I had the fortune (mis-fortune?) of being at The Alchemist Brewery on opening day when hundreds of eager patrons waited in a ninety-plus minute line to get their share of the elusive Heady Topper. It used to be quite the experience obtaining Heady Topper: checking on line for delivery schedules, following the delivery trucks, and stopping into shop after shop to see if it was available (and infinitely annoying the shop owners when you left without purchasing anything). It was definitely a business model based on keeping supplies short.
On this day, however, there wasn’t much of a line at all, and I strode right in and up to the tasting counter. One thing I always love about the Alchemist Brewery is the smell … there is always an overpowering, but pleasant, flourish of sweet hops permeating the whole scene. I’ve always thought it would be interesting if they could pipe that kind of smell into a shopping mall … it would make the whole mall experience that much better … hah!
As for the beer, today I tried:
- Heady Topper: the award-winning American double IPA at 8% ABV; a great hoppy flavor combined with an almost chewy texture.
- Focal Banger: a light, hoppy IPA at 7% ABV.
- Crusher: a power-packed double IPA at 9% ABV (drink with care!).
After the tastings, I walked away with a good supply of all three!
The Cicerone says: as I’ve stated before, get to the brewery about an hour after opening … this allows the initial line to die down, and then you can walk right in. Also, if you like the hoppiness of the Heady, but can’t deal with the heaviness, go with the Focal Banger … you will still be very pleased.