On a quest to do some holiday gift shopping, I traveled to Greensboro, Vermont, home of the renowned Hill Farmstead Brewery where I planned to pick up some bottles of hard-to-find brews. I say “hard-to-find” because you almost never find these bottles anywhere else but at the brewery. My car rattled over the mud- and snow-slicked country roads, before the Farmstead appeared on the horizon. Usually, this brewery is insanely busy, but I was lucky on this particular gray and damp day, and as I was able to secure a parking place.
Prepare for a Three-Act Play when you visit Hill Farmstead … the growler filling station, the bar where you buy and drink pours by the glass, and finally the retail shop where you can purchase bottles to take home. The oddity is that, while there is some overlap, each one of these Acts offers beers that you can’t find in the other Acts. (The Play becomes four Acts in the summer when you throw in lunch from one of the visiting vendors.)
I started my “Play” at the growler filling station. After taking a peak at the brewing operations, my number was called and I stepped up to the counter. I first tried some samples:
- Society and Solitude #5 (8% ABV): This Imperial IPA is brewed with both American and New Zealand hops. It offers a consistently bitter-hop taste and is very drinkable.
- Society and Solitude #10 (8% ABV): Another Imperial IPA, which like the #5, provides a mix of bitter, hoppy flavors.
- Edward (5.2% ABV): The American Pale Ale is the flagship beer from Hill Farmstead. Nice, even hoppiness with a consistent, smooth taste.
- Convivial Suarez (5.5% ABV): This ale is brewed with hibiscus and lemon, and the ingredients are apparent in the complex array of tastes that greet you as you sip. It has the potential of being too sour, but the taste always seems to step back from the brink of becoming a “sour”.
Finally I filled up my growler with Society and Solitude #10 and then decided to purchase another growler of the Edward.
I then moved on to the retail shop where I secured my holiday gifts, a mix of bottles of Convivial Suarez, Dorothy (a Farmstead ale at 7% ABV), Arthur (another Farmstead ale at 6% ABV), and Brother Soigné (a Farmstead ale at 5.5% ABV with an interesting mix of blood orange, lime, and hibiscus). Wanting to try Brother Soigné for myself, I stashed away an extra bottle for yours truly.
The Cicerone says: getting to Hill Farmstead is a hike, but well worth it. You can bring and fill as many growlers as you can haul and cool, so plan to stock up!