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Heady Growth

Side Dishes: The Alchemist Pub & Brewery expands - and embraces cans


Heady Topper, the popular double IPA from the Alchemist Pub and Brewery, will soon be trickling out across Vermont — in cans. The pub is almost through with a brand-spankin’-new 15-barrel brewery, cannery and tasting room about a mile from its current digs in Waterbury.

The new brewery, on Crossroad Road, has double the capacity of the seven-barrel system used in the pub. Last winter, co-owner (and brewer) John Kimmich hired Jim Conroy — formerly of Stowe’s Shed Restaurant & Brewery — to helm the new brewery and cannery, and Conroy has been in training all spring.

Heady Topper is the first, and so far only, Alchemist creation to emerge from the brewery and will be distributed in Burlington, Montpelier and Stowe starting later this summer, says co-owner Jen Kimmich, though the brewery is currently awaiting its fermenters. If the distribution runs smoothly, the Boston market could be next — but nothing is written in stone.

“We’ve never been able to sell growlers, because we brew to capacity, and the growler doesn’t preserve beer very well,” says Jen Kimmich. Light, in particular, can damage a beer. But canning, she says, does the job.

“The can presents us with a unique opportunity to put a very special beer in a container that will protect it from the harsh realities of leaving my loving embrace,” writes John Kimmich on the brewery’s website.

The roughly 4000-square-foot space will also have a tasting room and retail shop, and visitors will be able to take a self-guided tour. Jen Kimmich hopes the retail shop will open by Labor Day.