Ah the beer road trip; a journey to parts that hold glass upon glass of gold and brown liquids. Wondrous sudsy liquids that make even the most manly beer lover as giddy as a schoolgirl. Beers that we travel hundreds of miles away for because thats the only way we can get them. Dragging our beer enjoying but not loving significant others along to taste. Tonight we analyze three beers found on Vermont Route 100, so dubbed the IPA Highway. A location in Vermont that offers not only beer (but for those dragging along reluctant friends and loved ones) presents options such as the Cabot Cheese Annex and the Ben and Jerry’s factory.. It’s called the IPA Highway but it offers so much more and I wanted to express that with the beers I chose. Tonight I taste a gose from Lost Nation Brewery, the aptly named Vermonster from Rock Art Brewery, and Heady Topper from the Alchemist.
First up we have a Gose from Lost Nation Brewery. A cloudy hay colored brew that is light, slightly tart, and refreshing. An interesting style that includes salt in the recipe which presumably enhances the flavor more than it adds an inherent although detectable saltiness. This was my first gose so I can’t state whether it was appropriately to style, but I can say I enjoyed it. This beer had a slight buttery diacetyl taste, but since I have only had this one example of the style I don’t know if it’s appropriate or not. I so wish I gave this libation a sip on a hot day instead of the cold Autumn day that I did.
Speaking of the cool weather we have a highly appropriate beer in Rock Arts Vermonster. A 10% ABV barleywine that is so fantastically malty that it disguises 100 IBUs of bitterness. A dark chestnut colored ale that is again malty with a slight residual sweetness. The Vermonster presents a pleasurable silky mouthfeel and a rounding hint of chocolate as the brew warms. Outrageously drinkable and smooth for a 10% beer, this monster scares me.
Last up we have Heady Topper from the Alchemist. The beer I must say is the reason I made this trip to Vermont. I can’t speak for the color or appearance as I am instructed several times on the rim to “DRINK FROM THE CAN!” What I can speak for is the flavor; Heady Topper washes over the tongue in three waves : hops, biscuity english malt, and hops again. This beer is extremely well balanced and simple but in a good way. The Alchemist’s potion is hard to get your hands on so it is a fun reward to be able to drink one.
I’m going to to do something I don’t normally do and that is not declare a winner between these three beers. The reason being is that you should make the trip to Vermont 100 and decide for yourself. Hell, there are some really good beers that I tasted on my three days in Vermont that I didn’t get to discuss do to the suddenly constricting feeling format that I have chosen for this column. Many more offerings from these breweries plus ones from Lawson’s Finest Liquids, Hill Farmstead, and Trapp Family Brewery await those that make this trip.
Mike “Beruski” Berube is a beer lover who has the belief that there are good beers, there are bad beers, and then there is the right beer. He has begun a quest to find the perfect for every situation.