If you believe the drinkers at Beer Advocate, Heady Topper, a double IPA from the Alchemist brewing company in Vermont, is the best-tasting beer in the world. (If you believe the folks at Ratebeer, however, Heady Topper is #23, lower than 16 imperial stouts.) Either way, it's an amazing and delicious beer. But if you've read anything about Heady Topper, you know it's almost impossible to get outside of Vermont.
Except tonight, that is, when it will be included at a special tasting of "Vermont's Best Ales" at Bourbon in Adams Morgan. The $35 tickets -- limited to 50 -- include the following, from 7 to 10 p.m.:
• A 16-ounce can of Heady Topper
• 12-ounce bottle of one of Long Trail's Farmhouse IPAs, which are only available in Vermont
• 4-ounce tastes of two different beers from Hill Farmstead, a tiny world-class brewery that has a perfect 100 percent rating on Beer Advocate.
• A 4-ounce pour of Fiddlehead IPA from Fiddlehead Brewing in Shelburne.
• A 4-ounce pour of Citizen Cider, from the Citizen Cidery in Essex.
UPDATE: As an FYI from Hill Farmstead, which doesn't like it when their beers are sold outside of Vermont, the beers on tonight's menu include several growlers that were filled at Hill Farmstead one or two weeks ago, including Motueka, George, Edward and Harlan. Two other Hill Farmstead beers, Arthur saison and Daybreak imperial stout, will be poured from bottles.
Hill Farmstead's (understandable) fear is that the beer in growlers might not be in the best shape, due to issues of time and travel. Bourbon's James Woods says that "I understand their views, in terms of quality control. We're going to open and taste every growler tonight before serving them." If flavors are off, Woods says, he'll only pour the bottled Hill Farmstead beers.
Fiddlehead IPA is also being poured from growlers, because the brewery doesn't bottle or can its beers. If the Fiddlehead is off, Woods will substitute another beer in its place. Even if the beer in growlers is in fine shape, Woods says, he obviously won't sell any of it after tonight.
For lovers of rare and delicious beers, this is a fantastic opportunity. Tickets are sold through Eventbrite.
If you miss out on the all-inclusive tickets, a limited number of Heady Topper cans and bottles of Long Trail and Hill Farmstead will be available for purchase a la carte.