Emmy Reis

I’ve never had a sip of The Alchemist’s Heady Topper. Which sucks, because I’d love one. In fact, I’d like three or four sips, the greedy bastard I am. If you’ve never heard of it, the sought after double IPA from Vermont is one of the highest rated beers in America. But even though I live in the beer wonderland known as Colorado, this particular highly allocated brew is hard enough to find in its home state, much less in any others.

If you’re a beer nerd, or a beer fan who happens to be particularly curious, you might be familiar with this situation. Perhaps you can’t get a beer because it’s not distributed to your area. Or maybe it just sold out too quickly. Well, fortunately, I’ve got you covered.

Here’s what to do when amazing beer isn’t available in your area.

Make a vision board.

Okay, maybe this first tip sounds a little hippie-dippie, but I’m phishing for beer in Vermont, remember? Seriously though, start by making a vision board with photos of the beer(s) you want on there to focus on your goals and get motivated. Maybe a can or bottle will find its way to you sooner than you think. And if it doesn’t, blame Oprah -- she’s the one who told me to read The Secret.

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Buy another beer everyone wants and trade.

Hopefully you also live in an area with a brewery or two, and can get to one pretty easily. Your first step is to take a look at what other beer geeks are trading online. Trading isn’t about making money -- it’s about acquiring beer that one normally wouldn’t be able to. Reddit, Beer Advocate, and The Beer Exchange all have active trading communities. Perhaps people are looking for some of the beers brewed in your area. By me, there’s some interest in Odd13 Brewing’s Codename: Superfan and WeldWerks Brewing Co’s Juicy Bits (surprise! Both New England IPAs). So while I can’t drive to Vermont right now, I could drive to those two breweries and offer to trade with some generous soul in Phish country.

Go on a beer road trip.

Remember how I said, “I can’t drive to Vermont right now”? Well, that was bullshit. Because (I might get fired, but) of course I can do that! There’s nothing more satisfying than traveling a long distance for something relatively inconsequential -- whether a beer, a concert, or even McDonald’s pizza, like these beautiful fools sought out. Taking a simple flight for the prize just isn’t the same. From here in Denver, it’s 1,923 miles -- or 29 hours of driving -- to The Alchemist. What am I waiting for?!

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Beg friends on Facebook to hook you up.

Facebook isn’t just for crying at 3AM while scrolling through pictures of your ex’s new boyfriend -- it’s for reaching out to friends, too! (By the way, I was just kidding about the first part. KIDDING! Haha, just a joke. ...But seriously, that dude’s face does look incredibly punchable.) Hit up one of your friends who lives close to the brewery that makes your desired beer, and strike a deal. For example, I recently became Instagram pals with an old high school friend who lives pretty damned close to The Alchemist -- if I were to ask her to send me a can or two of Heady Topper, I bet she’d say yes in exchange for a couple of Colorado’s finest. (Jessica? Are you reading this? Don’t make me beg, Jessica.)

Grow a pair and recognize that you don’t need any one beer.

In an age in which you can tap a few buttons on your phone and make anything from a car to a hot pizza appear in front of you, it must feel like a huge inconvenience to not have every single beer you want in your fridge. But I’d bet that even if you don’t live in a thriving beer metropolis, there’s a brewery nearby where you can try something new. Hell, it might even be your new favorite beer! So before you drive 1,923 miles for some Heady Topper, get out there and make sure you’ve tried all the local beers to which you already have access.

….Oh what the hell, who am I kidding?? I still want some Heady Topper. For the love of God, Jessica, can you please respond to my Instagram message??