It was a Wednesday afternoon that started out like many others. I had just received the weekly email newsletter from Beer Corner USA informing me of new arrivals and upcoming events. One item that piqued my interest was the recent tapping of La Folie by New Belgium. I had missed out on this beer the last time it came around, and I was not about to make that mistake again. I darted from my apartment in a whirlwind that I imagine left my laptop spinning on its edge, like a quarter spinning on a frictionless plane while teenage rapscallions anxiously wait to see whose knuckles are about to take damage.
I arrived at the bar moments later and ordered my La Folie, and it was good. It was real good. And though I was extremely excited to get to the bar to order the La Folie, and even more excited to drink the La Folie, the La Folie is not the story here. The La Folie was merely a harbinger of Boston Mark. Boston Mark is a gentleman who happened to be seated near me at the bar as I sipped on my La Folie. Boston Mark is from Boston, but for some reason lives in Phoenix. As I understood it, he had purchased a car that was located in Boston and was in the process of driving it to his home in Phoenix. The car, though, is also not the story here. The car was merely a harbinger of the following conversation (not quite verbatim, but along these lines):
Boston Mark: Can you name the number one beer on BeerAdvocate right now? I bet ya can’t. If you can do it, I’ll give you one. No shit. I bought a few cases of it to take home, got ‘em all in my trunk.
Our Friendly Protagonist (thinking to himself): I dunno about BeerAdvocate, but I know Heady Topper has the highest BAR. I wonder if that jives with BA. Could be Zombie Dust. He’s already mentioned Three Floyds...
BM: It’s brewed in Waterbury, Vermont and...
OFP (Thinking to himself): DING DING DING!
OFP (Out loud now): That would be Heady Topper!
BM: Aw, shit! That’s it! I can’t believe you got that! I’ll go get you one. No shit. I got a few cases in my car.
At this point, Boston Mark excused himself and stepped outside, returning a few moments later with a tall, silver can in tow. As he set the can in front of me, the light that reflected off of this can was somehow far greater than the feeble incandescence which filled the room. I was suddenly frozen, my gaze fixed upon this beacon. Despite my desire to block out the world and just hold my beer, gently caress it safely amongst my ample frame, I managed to maintain a polite and affable demeanor as Boston Mark tried to explain just how good this beer is. He couldn’t quite pull it off, through no fault of his own. Even if he had been capable of speaking the letter ‘R’, I’m not sure he would have been able to pull it off. Some things are simply not describable with words. I had an idea, though. Thanks to the numbers, I thought I had a pretty good idea. At the very least, though, he was able to explain that it was canned only days ago, and that the brewer insists that it be consumed from the can. So there was that, at least.
At this point, Boston Mark was finishing his beer and was about to ride into the proverbial sunset. At this point, Boston Mark had yet to introduce himself. At this point, Boston Mark offered one last piece of advice: “If you decide to share that with any of your friends, if you got any hophead friends they’ll shit themselves if you share it with ‘em, so if you decide to share it with a buddy or anything, just tell ‘em you got it from Boston Mark. That's me. Boston Mark.” At this point, we shared a firm, gentlemanly handshake. “Boston Mark, I’m Josh. Travel safely, and thank you again so much for this.”
I have decided to share this Heady Topper. I’ve decided to share it with all of you, dear readers. Now, I will not be sharing Heady Topper: The Beer. Oh heavens no. I won’t be doing this as I’m only kind of a friendly protagonist, and beside that, geography makes it wholly impractical. What I will be sharing, though, is Heady Topper: The Experience of Acquiring.
And readers, it’s important that you know that I got this beer from Boston Mark.
The Alchemist's Heady Topper
Appearance: 4.6. Okay, I know you’re supposed to drink it from the can, but I poured just a small splash into a small glass in order to take a look. It’s a lot lighter than I would have expected. Gold and hazy. The little splash I poured did pour with a decent head. The color surprised me, but it still looks good.
Smell: 5.0. I cracked the can and wonderful aromas of pine and citrus enthusiastically escaped as though they had been imprisoned for years, decades, lifetimes even, and oh how happy they were to escape, and oh how they danced!
Taste: 5.0. Yeah, it tastes good. The hops are aggressive, but the whole thing is incredibly balanced. All the hop flavors you want to be there are there, including some that you didn’t know you wanted but now that you’ve had them you never want to not have them ever again. The flavor also hangs around on the tongue for a good long while.
Mouthfeel: 4.8. I can, in a way, see why they tell you to drink it from the can. The oils from the hops coat your tongue and it doesn’t feel like they’re going to give way anytime soon (which is fine with me) and the slightly more bubbly feel I get from drinking straight from the can compliments this oiliness pretty nicely. With the first sip I wasn’t quite so sure, but with subsequent sips it all made sense.
Overall: 4.9. Yes, this truly is a wonderful beer, deserving of every accolade upon which it has been bestowed.