Timed perfectly with the kickoff of Craft Beer Week, New York City has just gotten its first ever shipment of Heady Topper, an insanely sought after beer made by a Vermont brewery called The Alchemist, whose distribution only reaches outside its home state on very rare occasions.
Heady Topper is an 8% ABV Double IPA that’s sold in 4-packs of 16oz cans, and unlike any other beer sold in cans, this one, as per the big letters right around the rim, is not meant to be poured into a glass, but drunk straight from the container. The only time I was lucky enough to get my hands on one, I ignored their command and poured it into a glass. Big mistake: I generally don’t mind a little sediment floating around, but I’ve never seen anything like this—my glass looked like a freshly agitated snow globe. It was intense and, I won’t lie, pretty fucking unpleasant.
But how’d it taste? Well, first let’s talk about the smell. As I popped the top and began to raise the can to my face, I actually laughed out loud. There’s just this huge wallop of extremely abundant and extremely fresh hops. What’s most impressive about it—and this carries over to the taste—is how you easily you can pick out so many different hop characteristics: citrus, tropical fruits, pine, floral notes, earthiness and then just straight up weed. It’s really, really crazy and super delicious. And at 8%, it’s actually fairly tame for a Double IPA. It doesn’t have that thick mouthfeel of something like a Dogfish Head 90 Minute, either, so it’s relatively drinkable—not that you’ll ever have enough of it to want to drink more than one at a time anyway.
Tracking it down won’t be easy. Brew York reports that The Bling Tiger had some last night, as did a restaurant called the Guilty Goose on W. 23rd and 6th. Beer shops Randolph Beer and Hop Shop are said to be getting shipments this week too. The only Brooklyn spot to have it so far is Brouwerij Lane in Greenpoint. Follow Brew York on Twitter for more availability updates. Good luck out there—once this shipment’s gone, we won’t be getting more, at least not any time soon.