The popular beer Heady Topper, produced by Alchemist Brewery, is in perpetual short supply. Retail stores put limits on how many 4 packs of the hoppy IPA customers can purchase. The Alchemist's retail outlet in Waterbury limits by the case. And as basic economics would predict, the short supply has led to black market sales of the beer at inflated prices, sales that frustrated the producer so much they started a designated retailer program.
Why is there such a demand for Heady Topper? It tastes good. It's hip to get a beer in short supply. The whims of the beer muses. The Alchemist provides some answers to this question (including the related 'why don't you brew more?') on their blog.
One result of the demand has been high traffic at the Alchemist's Waterbury retail location - traffic it wasn't designed to handle and that has become too disruptive. So, the Alchemist is closing their retail operation at the end of this week (11/15). As this Vermont Public Radio story explains, an upshot of that decision will be much more Heady Topper at other retailers. But that doesn't mean folks won't be on a pilgrimmage to Waterbury for a last stop at the home store. If that's you, we suggest taking this opportunity to explore beyond a single location.
Waterbury has great restaurants - yes, they serve Heady Topper, along with othe fine beers and cocktails.
On Rte 100 between Waterbury and Stowe, you'll also find food retail outlets such as the Cabot Annex Store (which includes Lake Champlain Chocolates), Laughing Moon Chocolates, Cold Hollow Cider Mill and the Ben and Jerry's ice cream factory. Check out this DigInVT blog post about the Cabot Annex Store.
You could also use the Alchemist as a starting point to explore all of Vermont beer. . . although perhaps not in one day, we've got a lot of great craft breweries. As the Vermont Brewers Association says "Small State. BIG BEER." You can explore breweries as a category on our Places map and check out the beer and cheese pairing trail.
Or, check out the entire central VT region using our Regions page.
There's lots of exploring to do!
Helen writes about food and flavor at www.discoveringflavor.com