Last night I was feeding my daughter at the kitchen table, thumbing through my phone as she currently is in this stage where it takes her forever to eat. Occasionally she just likes to practice holding the foods, which is adorable, but can go on for a long time. On facebook there was a post from Mike Shatzel, a guy pretty much responsible for opening the best beer bars in Buffalo. The post read:
“2 cases of heady at monk”
I had plans to go out later that night with my friend Pat, to catch a beer or two, and we happened to be going there. I was pretty excited at potentially getting to try this. People have been hyping it for some time now in forums and Facebook groups – it’s not sold here. I tried not to get my hopes up for scoring a can, and in a few hours I made my way over to The Blue Monk.
As soon as I walked in, I saw a couple dudes at the bar with some. I looked around to see if it was advertised anywhere. There was nothing. I wasn’t sure if it was some secret thing or if I had to quietly ask for it…I wasn’t sure how this worked. I finally decided to ask as I wasn’t quite sure if I’d ever have another opportunity. Good thing I did. For $9.00 a can, I now had in my hands a can of “Heady Topper,” the number one rated beer on beer advocate with an impressive 100 rating.
Now I’m not going to say anything bad about this beer because it was very good. Just not at all what I expected. I mean look at the artwork on the can. It’s awesome. There are loads of hops exploding out of this man’s head. Getting to try another one of the other best beers in the world, Pliney the Elder, when I was in San Diego – I had high hopes for this beer. I cracked open the can and took my first delicious sips. It was really good, just not at all what thought it would be. This beer was a lot sweeter then I ever expected. It had a slight hop finish, but nothing memorable. Maybe it’s the West Coast beer lover in me, where I love a citrus, piney, hoppy overload that Pliney is able to supply, even Firestone Walker’s Double Jack, but this beer was nothing like them. It was unique in flavor, and the flavor was very good, just nothing I’d seek out special.
I suppose where this beer gets its praise is it’s balance. The balance of hop and malt among beer lover’s is praised in over 7,000 reviews. So from a personal point of view, I thought this beer was good, but not amazing. Putting that aside, and breaking down what this beer actually is, how it tastes, the balance, the color and carbonation, this beer is very impressive and well crafted. I had to really separate my personal preferences when tasting this. I will have to thank my daughter later for forcing me to look at Facebook by endlessly staring at her piece if spiral pasta. Love you kid