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September 19, 2013

'The Atlantic' Tastes the Alchemist

HeadyMost of us know James Fallows as a longtime national correspondent at the Atlantic. But when not pursuing hard-hitting stories, Fallows identifies himself as "a beer guy."

Fallows is in Vermont for his blog series on small cities, which feature positive stories of economic and cultural growth. Last week Fallows tasted his first Heady Topper over dinner at the Bluebird Tavern.

Given the Alchemist's small supply of the beer (two-thirds of it is sold at the Waterbury factory), Fallows had never had a chance to try the beer. "They had it and I thought, Yes!," he told Seven Days today.

When plans fell through yesterday for an interview on "a more worthy topic," Fallows headed to Waterbury, where injured co-owner Jen Kimmich took the journalist on a tour of the factory. Read his post about it here.

Following his hourlong deviation, Fallows was back to reporting on environmental sustainability and public works. But after touring America, the journalist says that despite an encroaching box-store takeover, one thing the country seems to be getting very right is beer.

"There are ways in which America looks more and more the same in a bad way," he reflected. "But what's more and more the same in a good way is every place has a brew pub culture now. America is getting better in that way."

But Vermont is still the only place that has Heady Topper.

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