Hop head’s church is right across the street, I can smell the wort.

Let’s try my luck and see if there’s a line, see if there’s any beer left. I’ve heard about lines out the door and down the street, cars parked for hundreds of metres, eager hop heaps waiting to get their fill of Heady Topper and Focal Banger, Heady’s little brother, a slightly lower ABV IPA.

Walking across the gravel carpark, it is super quiet, a couple of tradesmen walk the opposite way giggling like school girls carrying two whole cases! This is looking promising.

I get to the doors, the place is virtually empty! One of the sales assistants meets me at the door ‘welcome to The Alchemist, there’s one pack of Heady Topper left and as much Focal Banger and Crusher as you want’ oh yeah!!! So stoked.

I waste no time and grab my cache of cans, I’m not going to go crazy, I don’t want to be drunk the whole time and I’m sure there’s a million more beers I’ll want to squeeze in my bag. I get myself a 4 pack of each. Like most US crafty beers, they’re in a convenient pint can.

The brewery isn’t as big as I’d expected, similar to Feral’s Bassendean operation. A couple of brewers are busy cleaning but there’s little else going on so I get some tasters and browse the merchandise.

I went kinda nuts on merchandise, schwag as they call it here! T shirts, glass wear, hats, drink bottles, you name it, I bought it.  Well… it’s unlikely I’ll be back any time soon so hell, I’m stocking up!!!

I cruise back to my hotel, return to my hammock, sink back, kick off my shoes and have me a Heady Topper. I’m surrounded by fallen leaves, squirrels are busy scooting around the trees, I spot a woodpecker, this place is so cool!!

I’m going to go exploring! The Stowe Motel and Snowdrift where I’m staying has free bike rental, so I grab myself a mountain bike and I’m off.

There’s a long recreation trail through Stowe which follows the river, crossing it eight or ten times along the way. It is beautiful, lines with trees with falling leaves, in and out of fields of corn, old wooden fences covered in lichens, it really is pretty special. So many squirrels dashing across the trail!!

It’s getting dark, I’d best stop somewhere and grab some dinner or I’ll be riding back in the dark.

A craft beer bar called Doc Ponds had grabbed my attention when researching the trip so I call into there. A bunch of others had the same idea, a heap of bikes parked up on the bike rack outside.

Inside, it is buzzing! A friendly barman sorts me a Hill Farmstead Susan as I grab a spot at the bar. I’m not going to carry on about another Hill Farmstead beer… they are just sublime.

I order a brisket burger which comes out pretty fast, insanely good!!! Yum.

I’d love to stick around but it’s already dark now, I’d best make my way back.

Outside, it is pitch black!!!! Holy shit, how am I going to do this? I won’t even see bears or moose on the trail, heck I can’t even see the trail!!!

I have no choice but to follow the road, slow and steady a few km back to the hotel. It’s a winding mountain road so a little hairy at night, especially with no lights!!! I turn on my phone torch so at least cars will see me.

Back to the hotel in one piece… phew!

Pretty tired anyway, it’s been a busy day so I settle in with a couple of cans I’d bought earlier in Waterbury. Vic Secret is first from Burlington Beer Company… wow, wow, wow… I know I’ve said it a few times already but this is the best thing I’ve tasted… better than Heady Topper!!! Cloudy, thick and oh so juicy. I love it!!

Feeling the effects, I go for a Lawsons Super a Session next, a really solid session IPA, tastier than any other lower ABV beer I’ve had but I’m not exactly here to mow the lawn. Won’t bother putting those in the case.

Time to crash..