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Heady Topper

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From the can!

8%

Heady Topper is one of those white whale beers. Almost impossible to get, especially if you can’t make it up to the cannery in Vermont. Special thanks to Gregg for picking up some up in Vermont.

Known as one of the best beers in the country, The Alchemist keeps it their way with a tall boy can with “DRINK FROM THE CAN!” wrapping the rim. Not long after you crack the can you start to get an amazing smell, incredibly hoppy, almost bordering on grapefruit. 

The first taste coats your mouth with intense hops, but then fades nicely. What puts this beer head and shoulders ahead most other beers is what happens next. The hops fade nicely with very little residual bitterness. It leaves the nice hop flavor with just enough malt to balance it out, while leaving it very refreshing tasting. Hands down one of the most drinkable 8% beers you can find. 

Heady Topper has a truly amazing characteristic, every time you take a sip, it is like the first time you tried it. When I drink it, it always goes one sip, coat the mouth, wait, take another. Each time it is an explosion of nice fresh hops. This is one of the hardest beers I have had to write a beer about, because it does not compare to almost any beer out there. It stands atop my personal podium with only Lawson’s Finest Liquids Double Sunshine. Truly great beer coming off of the Vermont Ale Trail. 

If you are ever in Vermont, find this beer. If you have friends who have the means of getting this beer, find a way to try some. Short of both of those, rumor has it Boston restaurant Eastern Standard sends someone up to VT on a regular basis to keep it in stock, though the price tag is said to be around $10. 

Grade: A+

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Current Top 3

What am I drinking right now?

Here is my current top 3, this changes not only every week, but every 5 minutes.

The list is currently as follows:

Maine Beer Co. Peeper Ale

Jack’s Abby Hoponius Union

Firestone Walker Double Jack 

Honorable mention:

Abita Strawberry (yeah I know, strawberry beer, just try it, you will like it)

Pretty Things Fluff White Rabbit

Uinta Hop Notch

(not really a beer) Green River Ambrosia Ginger Libation

 

Reviews of some of these to come, keep an eye out.

Brooklyn Sorachi Ace

Bottled

7.6%

Pours a slightly hazy golden-yellow. Very light white head. Smells very floral, a very faint malt and pretty refreshing. It smells very spring-like. The taste is very light and as refreshing as the smell. There is a nice kick of lemon, and some bite that tastes of pepper. There is a good strong taste of the yeast. Finishes very clean, and crisp.

Impression: This is a great light easy drinking beer. It is very complex while not overpowering the taste buds. There is just enough hops to keep it from being another light and airy saison that doesn’t have much flavor. Make sure to let it warm up a bit farther that you think it needs. It may not be the ice-cold refreshment that you are hoping for but it will let the aroma come through a lot better and give you a much better tasting beer. As it warms up you can taste the floral flavors before the beer even hits your tongue. It takes a beer that is just light and refreshing and lets you really enjoy the flavors that are present.

It benefits a lot from being bottle fermented, you get a very nice little bite from the yeast still in the bottle. The most important thing while drinking this is to make sure you get the yeast from the bottom of the bottle. Pour it out into each glass, then swirl and make sure each glass gets that left over yeast. Overall this is a great drinking beer, one of the best I have had from Brooklyn. It could use just a bit more hops or a bit more spice, something to kick it up into the great range, as is, it is very good.

Grade: A-

 

Harpoon Catamount Maple Wheat

Bottled

6.8%

The Harpoon 100 barrel series maple wheat pours a beautiful red amber. The smell is almost non-existent, very weak. The taste is nice and light at first but quickly gets very tin-ey. The taste is just far to metallic to be worth while. The maple flavor is almost non existent, maybe a tiny bit on the back-end.

Impression: Most of the Harpoon 100 barrel series are pretty good. They are usually a safe bet. Unfortunately comparing this to the rest of the 100 barrel series is like comparing Aunt Jemima to real Vermont syrup. It may be the same thing by label, but when you get down to what is inside it really does not do the trick.

This beer is a very weak effort by Harpoon considering their usual success with this series. I had high hopes for getting a maple beer that finally works, unfortunately this seems to be maple by label only. What you find inside is a weak, metallic beer that is not worth a try. There are very few beers that I actually suggest you don’t try. Almost every beer is worthwhile just to see if it fits your taste. However with this, it is just very disappointing. It is not worth the try, there are just too many good beers out there.

It is not the worst beer I have ever had, not by a long shot, but it seriously misses the mark.

Grade: D

Slumbrew Trekker Tippel

Bottled

9.5%

Pours a clear golden amber. Smells very sweet, intensely of cloves, with the spiciness you would expect a bit more out of a belgian white. Not quite what I would be expecting out of a trippel. There is an odd hint of banana in the smell as well. The taste is much better than you would expect out of the smell.

Impression: The initial taste of this beer starts out a bit like banana, and a bit strange. It is not the best first taste in the world. Luckily the taste rounds out a pretty quickly. Where the smell is a bit too strong of clove, it is not as harsh in the taste. It is a very nice yeast-y flavor that you would expect out of an unfiltered beer. That gives way to a nice slightly sweet slightly bitter stickiness. It is not the unpleasant stickiness that you get from some beers. This lingers just long enough.

This would be a very easy beer to dislike if you gave it a smell, gave it one sip, and gave up. As long as you keep giving it a chance it works pretty well. The amazing thing is how smooth this is for a 9.5%. You really do not realize that it is that potent when you are drinking it. It is very light while still having pretty good flavor. The biggest problem you would have with this is that it will not pair up with the same foods that a trippel traditionally does. It is not the best belgian style I have had, but it does the job well in a surprisingly well.

Grade: B+

Beer Inspiration

You can’t be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline. It helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.
-Frank  Zappa

“Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza.”

-Dave Barry

 

Southern Tier Hop Sun Summer Wheat Beer

5.1%

Bottled

Pours a pure gold, clear. Nose is pretty relaxed, nice and hoppy but still pretty light, the hops come through with a solid note of citrus. The first taste is surprisingly light after smelling the hops. The hops follow-up nicely on the end, but it avoids being sticky like some hoppy beers.

Impression: This is nearly a perfect summer beer. Summer tends to be my least favorite season for beers, often they forgo flavor to keep a beer light. Southern Tier does a great job of making sure that did not happen in Hop Sun. It is a great beer to leave in a cooler during a barbecue because it will hold up to the heat. It will not leave you feeling too hot and weighed down. The bitterness from the hops lingers for just long enough, without sticking around to make you feel too dehydrated.

There is a nice lemon zest type flavor right at the peak of this beer. It flows down from there into the slightly bitter aftertaste. One thing I would like to see from this beer is slightly more carbonation. Fizzy yellow beer is no good, but a bit more carbonation can be great for a light summer beer sometimes. A bit more carbonation would also help the smell come across a bit more and lighten up the flavor.

Overall I first tried this beer while I was grilling, not planning on reviewing it, but after trying it, it actually sent me back to the store to get a full 6-pack.

Grade: A