Bottle shop? What is this “bottle shop” contraption you speak of?
I’m very fond of the direct-to-consumer model of beer purchase; I like walking into a brewery, smelling the hop-saturated air, taking in the atmosphere of a good, well-curated space for crafting beer and enjoying the fruits of brewers’ labors. So I don’t generally go to bottle shops, except when the spirit moves me. Years ago, this meant hunting down Heady Topper and Sip of Sunshine, because years ago, that’s how you got Heady Topper and Sip of Sunshine: By finding them on shelves on bottle shops.
That’s still one way you find these beers, because now, white whales like these are readily available in stores, which in the end proves the value of a good store; you can get white whales from all manner of breweries all in one space, no need to traipse all over Vermont’s mountains to hit breweries. Simple!
You can read my full write-up for the year’s best bottle shops over at Hop Culture, where of course I gave into my Green Mountain bias.