Chop & Brew – Episode 22: John Kimmich from The Alchemist


Discussion with Q&A from John Kimmich, head brewer at The Alchemist in Vermont, famous for Heady Topper. In this hour-plus video, John discusses not only his personal journey into and through craft brewing, he also offers homebrew-friendly advice and insight on all elements of brewing specifically as it relates to brewing hoppy beers. Footage shot in October 2013 while visiting Nashville, TN for the Music City Brew Off — which will be the focus of an entirely separate future episode of C&B. [Original postdate: March 10, 2014]

The Alchemist
Heady Topper Clone Recipe thread via HomeBrewTalk (includes BYO clone recipe)
Music City Brewers
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  1. Brett

    Perfect timing Chip! I’m making the second step starter in my quest to ranch up some VPB-1188 (see what I did there?) for use this summer. Thanks for getting this out, great insight here.

  2. Chuck

    Blessed to be able to hear such a great story and gain some knowledge while enjoying one of his beers. Thanks for taking the journey to document this Chip, and John thanks for sharing the story of the Alchemist. For those of you wondering if its worth it to listen to a brewer stand up and talk for an hour: Listening to John talk about his beers will make a stale 40 of Mickey’s taste good.

  3. Angus

    Man, so many of john’s principles and philosophies strike a cord with me. Was really enjoyable to listen to him ramble on through his life journey. I assume heady topper is not exported to Aus. 🙁

    Awesome podcast chip. Next month I’ll be grabbing a shirt to show some support. Hope you ship those to Aus. He he


    • You are right. Heady Topper is not available even in the U.S. outside of Vermont. I will certainly ship a sweet shirt your way brother Angus! Chip.

      • Angus

        Not outside of Vermont. Man, John was not kidding about not increasing production or getting bigger. That was something nice I took from his talk. He has an artfully produced and loved item and doesn’t want to “productise” it.
        It would be a dream to produce an awesome product, then not go “big”, keep it local and exclusive and maintain the connection with the original product. Kudos to john for being able to do that.
        That being said, it would be a hard decision to not follow the dollars.
        Reminder to buy shirt in my calendar.
        Peace out. Good brews to you Chip.

        PS: did you take your can to the toilet and smuggle it out and then put it on ebay? Be some good funding for the show. He he

  4. Love the video. I’ve been working on keeping a shelf stable product. It’s refreshing to hear John talk about expecting variations when drinking craft beer.

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