I found a text message on my phone alerting me that a good beer friend who I met atMaryland Death Fest had left a cooler of beer at my front door. To my surprise, I found a growler of Sante Adairius Rustic Ales “831 IPA” and two cans of the coveted Heady Topper! For those of you not familiar with Heady Topper, it’s the flagship beer of The Alchemist, and is only available in Vermont. Do a search on BeerAdvocate or RateBeer and you will soon find out, it’s the top rated beer in the world. I was so excited and grateful that I ran and grabbed a tulip glass (for aroma, of course) and poured myself a glass.

The can says right on it “DRINK FROM THE CAN!”, but I had to pour it into a glass to examine the appearance. The beer poured a hazy pale gold with a velvety head with small, even bubbles that settle after two minutes to a light froth that leaves a nice lacing down the glass. When I hold it up to light, I am surprised at how it does not have the complete clarity that I am used to with most commercial IPA’s I have had. I guess I should not compare Heady Topper to a lot of larger breweries, as they are much smaller than say Ballast Point or Stone.

Holding this beer up to my nose I get a lot of orange, grapefruit, pale malt and some alcohol. After the beer warmed up a bit I noticed some spice from the hops.

Upon tasting this beer, I noticed biscuit malt, followed by a hop explosion. There are is a slight sweetness but is perfectly balanced by the bitter hops. After the drink I get a big bitter effect that eventually felt like a mouth numbing feeling. The beer had a nice fizzy feel on my tongue and a slight astringent feel. This could be due to tannins left from the intensive hop schedule.

This is an excellent IIPA! I know it gets a lot of hype due to it only being available in Vermont and is all the rage on BeerAdvocate. One could compare this with Pliny the Elder. I would recommend this beer to anyone who is a hop head. I am not Heady Topper is worth trading some rare beers from The Bruery but I would definitely trade some Pliny the Elder for this beer.

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