We’ve done it! It only took 5-ish months, but through sheer determination, will power and a fair share of morning after headaches, we finally get to check off all 5 New England states! This week will be a heaping helping of Vermont for you, starting with one of the regions most popular, Alchemist!
There is something about spending 4 1/2 hours in the car that makes you want to drink. I-89 is really beautiful, but you can only stare at mountain and trees along with the occasional roadkill for so long before it all starts to feel real monotonous. For sanity sake, it’s important to make stops to relax. On the way to Burlington, Alchemist may be one of the best stops to make.
On a sprawling plot of land in Stowe, Alchemist might as well be a skyscraper. It’s easily the biggest building in the area, towering over the cabins and cows nearby. It’s a real testament to the success that they’ve enjoyed thanks to one of countries most well-known and most sought after beers, Heady Topper. Photo dump time!
The inside of Alchemist is basically a shrine to hops. On the rugs, painted AND projected on the walls, on all their merch and cans…hops everywhere. To pay your respect to the hop Gods, you go on over to the left upon entering, where you are treated to samples of 3 of the revered brews. The middle section is meant for the congregation to gather and discuss their mutual admiration for the almighty hop, with the many vessels they inhabit looming over them. The last section on the right is where you are able to make your donation, and in return you receive your allotment of sacramental beer for you to continue your spiritual voyage at home.
So…beer! Yes, we were treated to 3 of the beers that Alchemist had currently available. They start you off with Heady Topper IPA, the beer that began it all. It’s hoppy, floral and citrusy and keeps the bitterness to a minimum. So many beers have aimed to seek the balance that Heady has, and the beer world is much better for it. One of the best IPA’s I’ve had for sure. Focal Banger IPA was the next on tap, and finds a way to be a distinctly Alchemist IPA, yet isn’t just a rehash of what worked before. There’s no “Ice, Ice Baby” here. The notes are more towards grapefruit which ratchets up the bitterness but not to an unpleasant level, just making it a more crisp beverage. The sampling wrapped with Beelzebub Imperial Stout, which of course is one of the more hop forward stouts I’ve ever had. The beer has a strong roast character with dark chocolate and coffee that rolls into a quick biting bitterness to finish. It’s a tasty departure from your usual stouts for sure.
One last quick note, the employees might have been the happiest group I’ve seen yet. They clearly enjoy what they do, and that always awesome to see.
If you’re a craft beer fan, you most likely already know Alchemist and Heady Topper. It’s most likely on your bucket list of places to go already. All I can add is, it’s not wrong to be on there, you should absolutely make it there.
Visit Alchemist Brewery @ 100 Cottage Club Rd in Stowe, VT 05672 and at https://alchemistbeer.com/