Beer and Cake in Vermont: The Procurement

So a friend of mine just got back from Australia and brought me back a bushel* of brews to try.  And now another friend has returned from Vermont with a some tall-cans full of joy for my drinking pleasure.  This Beer Blogging thing is really working out.  The liquid Thunders from Down Unders deserve their own BFF, but I’m going to start with the sweet stuff from this continent because…I don’t know…this is my space and I do what I want.

*Did you know a bushel is an actual unit of measurement?  64 US pints!  What I was given was off by about 60 but I’m a sucker for alliteration so the word stays. 

Pete is a good friend of mine.  Pete is unique.  Unique Pete.  Pete is wicked-smat (an east coast mannerism for an east coast trip) and also wicked particu-lah and he likes what he likes.  So if he likes 89′ VW Westfalias he’s gonna get one.  But that shit ain’t just for show: he’s tricked it out and camps in it every chance he gets.  And if Pete wants to get a motorcycle then it has to be an ’84 Honda Nighthawk because that’s the one.  And if another ’84 Nighthawk comes up for sale then that is also the one, because isn’t it nice to have a spare?  And if Pete wants to see one of his favorite bands perform but they only do so sporadically and who even knows if they even will after this show, then gosh-darn-it!  Pete’s gonna to fly to Vermont!  I love it.  I mean, how many times do we get to take Life: The Ride?  Oh, just the once?  Then how’s about I do what I wanna do and see what I wanna see and damn the torpedoes?  Anyhoo, that’s my buddy Pete.  Now here’s me:

I don’t know if it’s a selfish quality, per se, or maybe self-preserving or certainly self-serving but really it’s all of those things: if you’re doing something cool it’s not enough for me to just be happy for you.  I want a little taste.  So when Pete told me he was going to Vermont to see Cake play I said, “That’s awesome!”  Then the self-serving devil on my shoulder whispered how this could benefit me and I asked, “Where are they performing?”


The little devil got a little more animated with it’s whispers.  “Well shoot, Pete,” I said after doing a quick google-map attack.  “That’s just South of Burlington which is just West of Winooski.  Do you think you might be able to do me a little favour?”

Let me back up a tad.  I’m new to the beer-blogging game but not so new as to not know about the fabled Heady Topper.  I know Heady is one of the most highly rated IIPAs on the planet, I know it’s pretty hard to get outside of it’s State of Origin and I even kinda knew that it was hard to procure inside its State of Origin.

“Sure Mal, what is it?” Answered Pete.

“Do you think you could pick me up a couple beers if I wrote the name down for you?”

It sounds so innocuous when you put it like that (which is why I put it like that).  Like Hey!  You’re going to be having a couple cans anyway, why not just set a few aside for little ol’ me?  Of course Pete agreed, because Pete’s a nice guy.  Later that night I did a little more ‘Googlin’ and found that, in fact, there are usually line-ups out the door and down the way for this stuff.  There can be line-ups outside before The Beverage Warehouse (if you can’t make it to the Alchemist Brewery, the Beverage Warehouse is the place to go) even opens!  This is all kinds of crazy.  This is Star Wars movie premiere camp-out-crazy.  It’s just beer!

My costume comes with a catheter and a coke bottle. I can wait in line and crush beers with impunity, motherfucker! AP Photo/Dave Pickoff

Finally the angel of reason, residing on my opposite shoulder, spoke up.  And so I texted Pete,  “Hey.  PLEASE don’t go out of your way to find me this beer.  It’s NOT a big deal.”  Having suitably covered my bases I left the results in the hands of the Fates.

Well wouldn’t you know it, the Fates were on board (which makes me worried for the next time I need a cosmic decision to fall in my favour: did I just blow an otherworldly dice-roll on beer?) Pete texted me when he returned, saying, “I’ve got your goods.”

Well Sir,  shit just got real.  I bolted over there, paid the man his money and listened intently to the tale of Cake and Beer in Vermont all the while salivating at what I saw.  Not only were there four Heady Toppers in tow, but two cans of Lawson’s Sip of Sunshine, too!

“Was there a line-up, Pete?”

The faces have been altered, but the beards are real!

“Ya, but not too bad.  It was cool, actually, there was a guy in line workin’ one of those folding knife things.”

Pete and I have a similar idea of what cool looks like.

“A butterfly knife?”

“Ya.  He was flipping it all over the place.”

“Cool.  Was the beer hard to find once you were inside?”

“No,” Pete answered.  “They had a big neon arrow pointing right to it.  This stuff is pretty sought after, huh?”

To say the least.

That arrow could use a couple bulbs. Hey Beverage Warehouse: if you wanna fly in an electrician to fix that for you, I’m available pretty much anytime. Seriously. Call me.

So I gave Peter my eternal gratitude, and even more than that, I gave him one of the cans of Heady (it felt like the right thing to do) and cradled the rest in my arms like precious puppies just born into the world as I made my way home.

Once the precious cargo was safe and sound in my beer fridge I wondered, can I even drink these?  I mean, of course I can and absolutely will, no question.  But is my palate refined enough to appreciate the nuances of the highly touted Heady Topper?  What if I think it only tastes…okay?  Would I have to hand in my Craft Beer Aficionado card?   Would I have to start drinking Macro again?  Would I have to change the name of the blog to Sea to Sky Bud Light & Blue Guy?  When I get over-dramatic I know it’s time for bed, so I’m going to let that quandary hang like laundry; out on the line for a while.  Maybe next week I’ll dip into these east coast wonders and let you know what I find.


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