An All About Après top choice for skiing and riding's best après ski beers.
If you have heard of Heady Topper, you know that coming upon a can of one, if you are not from Northern Vermont, is like finding your cell phone in the snow after you've dropped it off a lift. Hell, even if you are from the Northeast Kingdom, it's pretty damn tough to get your hands on this iconic beer. Stories of people waiting in epic lines or chasing down the Alchemist delivery truck are stuff of legend and something that I have personally been a part of.
Last spring, while on my way up to Stowe Mountain, it was raining pretty darn hard, but I swore that my weather app said it was snowing at the mountain. The further north we got, the worse the rain got and a powder day became less and less likely. With that in mind, my wife came up with the brilliant idea of trying to find Heady Topper. She jumped online and went to the site Heady Spotter where all of the Heady delivery days and the locations were listed and began to call. Each time she picked up the phone and dialed, the response was the same, "Sold out." You see, Heady Topper is delivered to specific towns and stores on specific days and most of it is gone within hours of its arrival. That's part of the beauty of the Alchemist brewery's brilliant marketing. In doing this, they have created a demand for this beer that is almost unrivaled for a beer that is produced year round. Kind of impressive when you really think about it. Nonetheless, there was no quitting, it was raining and who knew when the next time was that we were going to be up that way. So we trudged on, even stopping at the new, unopened, brewery trying to bribe the driver before he left. No such luck. Did we end up finding this elusive beer? You betcha, but it was, honestly, a stroke of luck. I pulled up to a little convenience store called the Edelweiss Mountain Deli and they happened to have one four pack left. I immediately snatched it up. My luck didn't stop there, I also happened to find four more four packs at Stowe Seafood grabbing them quicker than you can say après ski beers. Just for good measure, and because my greed got the best of me, we even stopped at The Blue Donkey and threw back one of these oh so delightful concoctions there.
To say I had enough of Heady Topper in that one day is so far from the truth. Heady is all it is cracked up to be and then some. Consistently rated as one of the best beers in the world, Heady Topper over delivers on taste. Most double IPA's are total hop bombs and a bit much for my taste buds. However, thanks to the secret combination of hops that are added late in the brewing process, Heady Topper produces well balanced flavors of grapefruit and citrus without the bitter taste of excessive hops. It is a little higher in alcohol content at 8%, as most double ipa's are, so as an après ski beer having too many may put you out for the night. However, if you can get your hands on it, and, since it is becoming more readily available than in the past, chances are you can, it is well worth the price of admission.