Well, it’s that time of year again … The Holidays … and time for the Cicerone to make his pilgrimage northeast from Stowe to the legendary Hill Farmstead Brewery in Greensboro, Vermont. The purpose of this annual trip is to secure some of the world’s best IPAs and farmhouse ales for the gift-giving season.
It turned out to be a perfect Fall Saturday to make the trip … a mix of snow, sleet and rain plummeted down from the sky, surely enough to keep the other fanatical beer enthusiasts from making the same trek. I gingerly set out on the drive and arrived around 1 pm.
I got a parking spot right next to the retail shop (score!); I quickly entered the shop and took my place in the short queue. Fifteen minutes later I was loading my holiday haul into the back of my car. (One side note that gave me a chuckle: a patron asked, “How long will this beer last?”. The response from the staff was “four years, which should be enough time to drink it!”).
Once I had my shopping done, I could relax … I headed over to the tap room for a little imbibing. As I took a number, I looked around at the large crowd and figured I had at least a 20 minute wait. Surprisingly, my number was called almost immediately, and I rushed to the tasting bar before they moved on to the next number. Since I was going to refill a growler, I tasted four beers that were available for growler fills.
Susan IPA (6.0% ABV) A Hill Farmstead classic, brewed with hops from Yakima Valley and Riwaka hops from New Zealand. Beautiful pour, great aroma, and great taste … excellent IPA!
Appearance: 4.6 | Aroma: 4.6 | Feel: 4.5| Taste: 4.6 | Overall: 4.6
Citra Single Hop IPA(6.0% ABV) As the name implies, this IPA is brewed exclusively with Citra hops (one of my favorite varieties!). Very drinkable beer.
Appearance: 4.6 | Aroma: 4.6 | Feel: 4.7| Taste: 4.6 | Overall: 4.6
Double Nelson (8.0% ABV) An Imperial IPA, bittered and dry-hopped with New Zealand hops. Super flavorable, at times citrus and at other times full hoppiness. Also packs a good punch.
Appearance: 4.6 | Aroma: 4.6 | Feel: 4.6| Taste: 4.7 | Overall: 4.7
Edward APA (5.2% ABV) Another Hill Farmstead classic that is loaded with hoppiness. Great overall taste!
Appearance: 4.6 | Aroma: 4.5 | Feel: 4.6| Taste: 4.7 | Overall: 4.7
After filling my growler with Double Nelson, I decided to taste/drink a glass of Juicy, which is only sold in 375 ml bottles at the brewery and which must be consumed at the brewery (they pour it in a glass for you). While at first a bit staggered by the cost … $28 for 375 ml … I was persuaded to give it a try, and I was rewarded.
* Juicy (7.4% ABV) A Belgian-styled saison, conditioned in wine barrels for over a year; this beer bursts with excellent aromas and flavors, alternating between tart, fruity and bitter.
Appearance: 4.7 | Aroma: 4.8 | Feel: 4.4| Taste: 4.8 | Overall: 4.8
The Cicerone says: Hill Farmstead’s Juicy may be pricey, but it’s worth it. Maybe share a glass with a “friend” and settle back into the cozy tap room to enjoy!
* Added to my Favorites List. I am on the look-out for these beers when at a local restaurant, pub, or craft beer store. In this case, the beer is only available on site at the brewery!