Ten years ago, Heady Topper was a nice, tap-only double IPA made by a small brewpub in Waterbury, Vermont. As recently as two years ago, I was able to travel to The Alchemist’s canning facility and buy as many cases as I wanted without a wait. But times have changed—today, Heady Topper is the quote-unquote “world’s #1 beer,” and that honorific has transformed it from a local favorite to a national sensation. It’s no longer available at the brewery—long daily lines became too much of a nuisance to the brewery’s neighbors—and it lasts on store shelves mere minutes before it’s all snatched up.

Let’s be clear: Heady Topper is great—I won’t dare be a contrarian and claim otherwise. But whether you’ve had it or not, my current recommendation is:  forget it. Because I’m going to tell you about the next potential Headys—all brilliant, currently-off-the-radar IPAs and DIPAs made by newish micro- or nano-breweries in the Northeast.

True, none of these are widely distributed, and most have smaller production numbers than Alchemist’s bread and butter. But for the moment, many of them are still easier to get your hands on than a silver tallboy of Heady. Flex your beer geek muscles by giving these East Coast hop bombs a try before everyone else finds out about them. 

Fiddlehead Second Fiddle


From: Shelburne, VT
ABV: 8.1%
Website: fiddleheadbrewing.com
Where can I find it? Four-pack cans occasionally at the brewery

By now, even your Skinnygirl Sangria-sipping mom knows of Vermont’s robust IPA scene. But while everyone’s (justifiably) slobbering over The Alchemist, Hill Farmstead, and Lawson’s Finest, another canned DIPA has quietly landed on the scene—and it’s nearly as good as anything from the aforementioned breweries. Less than a year old, Second Fiddle is fruity, floral, and ready to propel Fiddlehead into the esteemed company of Vermont’s famed troika. (Photo: Facebook/Fiddlehead)

Bissell Brothers The Substance


From: Portland, ME
ABV: 6.6%
Website: bissellbrothers.com
Where can I find it?: At the brewery, and occasionally at bars and stores around the state

Office park neighbors to the legendary Allagash, this less-than-a-year-old brewery is run by 26-year-old brewmaster Noah and his 30-year-old brother Peter. The Substance is the only beer they have produced since their doors opened in late 2013 and it has already gained a cult following, with lines forming on canning days to buy beer that is often just minutes old. Four-packs of cans are self-distributed to about 50 stores and bars in the state in a neon green van the brothers have dubbed “The Green Bastard.” (Photo: Youtube)

Tree House Julius


From: Monson, MA
ABV: 6.5%
Website: treehousebrew.com
Where can I find it?: Growler fills at the brewery, and occasionally on tap around the Worcester area

About 20 minutes off the closest major highway, beer nerds can find a bucolic plot of land that’s open to the public a mere 13 hours a week. Visit during those times and you won’t be alone—hoards of hop-lovers flock to Tree House Brewing Co. to buy and fill growlers (only five per customer per turn in line) with the highly-acclaimed Julius. Luckily for folks who can’t get to Monson, head brewer Nate Lanier plans to can Julius “soon” for distribution throughout the state—though his definition of “soon” might actually not be all that soon (he’s thinking the fall).  They’ll instantly become some of the hottest beer-trade bait around. (Photo: Tree House)

Trillium Congress Street


From: Boston, MA
ABV: 7.2%
Website: trilliumbrewing.com
Where can I find it?: Occasional taps and bottles around the Boston area

Trillium’s Fort Point makes a convincing case for the best pale ale in America, so it’s no surprise that the brewery is equally successful when it cranks up the hoppiness even further. Congress Street is dry, drinkable, and delicious. Unfortunately, it is as of now bottled and released sporadically, and only in and around the brewery’s Fort Point neighborhood, but one can usually score some when it is. (Photo: Trillium)

New England Fuzzy Baby Ducks


From: Woodbridge, CT
ABV: 6.2%
Website: newenglandbrewing.com
Where can I find it?: Limited-time tap offering at the brewery and local bars

For as famous a double IPA as Heady Topper is, it’s odd that the #1-ranked single IPA on all of Beer Advocate is barely discussed. Perhaps that’s because the beer, Fuzzy Baby Ducks, is from a brewery in Connecticut (not exactly a beer-geek mecca). Or, maybe, it’s because the beer is tap-only. Still, people in the know understand the brilliance of this DIPA, and they line up at an unassuming building in Woodbridge to fill their growlers with this 100% Citra hops beer on the two or three times per year it is released. (Photo: New England Brewing Co.)

Carton 077XX


From: Atlantic Highlands, NJ
ABV: 7.8%
Website: cartonbrewing.com
Where can I find it?: All over New Jersey, and sometimes in Philadelphia and New York City

Co-owner and brewery namesake Augie Carton has made it his three-year-old brewery’s mission to craft beers unlike anything else out there in the world. So far he’s succeeded with such offbeat creations as the mulberry Berliner weisse Monkey Chased the Weasel and the green-apple wasabi Intermezzo. Still, Carton Brewing does make one—and only one— “normal” beer, and it’s one of the better DIPAs on the East Coast. This year-round offering—named after the area’s zip code—is tropical with a slight sweetness and, best of all, it’s now available in 16-ounce cans. (Photo: Beerpulse)

Kane Overhead


From: Ocean, NJ
ABV: 8.2%
Website: kanebrewing.com
Where can I find it?: Taps in New Jersey only (but they’re widespread throughout the state)

Just 30 minutes south of Carton on the Jersey Shore, Kane operates with a simple raison d’être: creating beers simply to make brewhounds freak out. Kane produces an array of hop bombs, wild ales, and barrel-aged boozemonsters, many of which its corks and cages for special releases. Overhead is not one that’s bottled—yet—but the year-round DIPA is a piece of cake to find at New Jersey bars. Heck, I’ve ever seen it on tap at Newark International. (Photo: Instagram)

Rushing Duck War Elephant


From: Chester, NY
ABV: 8.7%
Website: rushingduck.com
Where can I find it?: Taps in lower New York state, from around Schenectady to NYC

The Hudson Valley has become one of America’s hottest brewery destinations, and Rushing Duck is leading the charge. Actually, maybe it’s Rushing Duck’s War Elephant leading that charge. Named after ancient Indian elephant cavalries that were fed beer in order to encourage them to stampede their foes, this DIPA is unapologetically pine-y and bitter. And you might have to stampede your own enemies (and even friends) to beat them to the New York state bars that occasionally have it on tap. (Photo: Rushing Duck)

Peekskill Higher Standard


From: Peekskill, NY
ABV: 10%
Website: peekskillbrewery.com
Where can I find it?: Growlers at the brewpub, and on tap throughout New York state

Yet another great Hudson Valley brewery, Peekskill is putting out some of the most acclaimed beers New York state has ever produced, especially when it comes to its IPAs. And that’s no surprise, as Peekskill’s current brewmaster, Jeff “Chief” O’Neil, was the inventor of a legendary IPA we guarantee you’ve had before: Ithaca Brewing’s Flower Power. His Higher Standard is even better—a massive imperial IPA packed with stone fruit flavors. Fortunately for hops heads, this beer is not too hard to track down in the state’s better beer bars. (Photo: shelteredgirlmeetsworld.com)

Barrier Daddy Warbucks


From: Oceanside, NY
ABV: 9%
Website: barrierbrewing.com
Where can I find it?: Taps in New York City area only

Barrier Brewing is known for making an insane amount of different beers (60 in their current portfolio) and rarely ever repeating batches. Thankfully, these cultish brewers knew they had a winner after first releasing Daddy Warbucks in late-2013. A hopped-up version of the closest thing they have to a flagship beer—the also-great Money IPA—Daddy Warbucks can occasionally be found around the New York City area on tap (their have also been three different bottled releases of the ’bucks at the Long Island brewery so far). We’d hope for the bottles to become more frequent and widespread soon, if we didn’t fear that Little Orphan Annie’s lawyers would soon come a-calling. (Photo: Beer Syndicate)

Other Half All Green Everything


From: Brooklyn, NY
ABV: 10.5%
Website: otherhalfbrewing.com
Where can I find it?: On tap at bars in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens

A few months ago, most New Yorkers hadn’t even heard of Other Half. Now, the Brooklyn newcomer is the talk of the town. This brilliant upstart has a terrific smoked saison and all-Brettanomyces blonde, but the Carroll Gardens-based brewers making hoppy stuff as good as anything coming out of Vermont, San Diego, or Oregon. All Green Everything is a remarkably dry and drinkable “triple” IPA occasionally available at some of the 180 bars in New York City where Other Half distributes. The beer is so pungently tropical that, if you’re lucky enough to find a fresh tap, you might find yourself sniffing and drinking for hours as you order glass after glass of the fragrant elixir. (Photo: Facebook/Other Half)

Aaron Goldfarb (@aarongoldfarb) is the author of How to Fail: The Self-Hurt Guide and Drunk Drinking.