Hill Farmstead Society & Solitude #4 I had three chairs in my house; One for solitude, Two for friendship, Three for society.

Two Adirondack chairs made from used barrels, Hill Farmstead Brewing, Greensboro Bend, Vermont, Abner IPA, Society & Solitude and Difference & Repetition

(C) 2017 popsonhops

Hill Farmstead has two main themes for their beer. Their “Ancestral” line is a foundational series of standard offerings that follow a loose rotation of release. Each name comes from Shaun Hill’s family tree. There is the familiar Edward, named for Hill’s grandfather who lived in the house that still stands on the brewery property. All told Edward had 13 siblings and you’ll recognize them through Hill’s series of tribute.

The other series of beer is known as the “Philosophical” line. Not surprising as Hill was a philosophy major in college. Where else would Friedrich Nietzche’s birthday (October 15th) be celebrated with cellared rarities like Beyond Good and Evil (named for a book by Nietzche)? More on that stout later.

I’m not one for really deep philosophical thought. In my mind, it always leads back to depressing thoughts of our own insignificance. However, I was taken by the name of this beer and its connection to Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau once said that he had three chairs in his house, one for solitude, two for friendship and three for society. Is it that Society & Solitude leaves out friendship or that friendship is found between Society & Solitude? Hmmm.

Society & Solitude #4

Tasting: October 11, 2017
Style: American Imperial IPA
ABV: 8.0%
Beer #: 1,109

I read a description of Society & Solitude #4 and it said to think Double Citra and Double Galaxy 97 points Uh, yes please!

Can I just say wow? Amazingly complex with guava, pineapple, orange flesh and some robust citrus rind. A bit more assertive than I was expecting and that’s just fine by me. 97 points.

Beyond Good and Evil (Maple Bourbon-Barrel Aged)

Tasting: October 11, 2017
Style: Stout with Maple Syrup aged in used bourbon-barrels used to age maple syrup
ABV: Unknown
Beer #: 1,110

Beyond Good and Evil deserves more than just a mention at the end of another beer’s entry but I didn’t get any photos. While having lunch at the brewery, my friend was sipping on a stout. He said that it could be the best stout he’s ever had in his life. I respect his opinion and dashed off for my own pour before we hit the road for home. The tap room line was about 15 people deep. I couldn’t stand the wait.

Incredible balance, cherries, mellow chocolate, earthy moss, syrup influence is entirely complimentary as is the polished roasted bitterness. Beyond Good and Evil has muscled its way into the upper end of my list, solid 98 points. I think my friend was right on the mark. This could be the best stout I’ve ever had.

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Hecto Pale Ale Suarez Family Brewery

Hecto Pale Ale by Suarez Family Brewery

(C) 2016 popsonhops

Tasting: December 30, 2016
Style: Pale Ale
Beer #: 1,037
ABV: 4.5%

Hecto Pale Ale by Suarez Family Brewing

Hecto Pale Ale by Suarez Family Brewery

(C) 2016 popsonhops

There are times when the sight (and availability) of a beer will send my brain a minor surprise shiver. I know. Geeky, right? This was the case at my discovery of Hecto on the tap list at the Growler & Gill in Rockland County. It’s a New York State beer (Livingston) so that shouldn’t surprise me. It was the back story that gave me a tingle.

You see, Dan Suarez was a brewer at Vermont’s legendary Hill Farmstead brewery since the brewery’s inception. Suarez is considered to be like-minded in comparison to Hill Farmstead’s founder, Shaun Hill. When it was announced that Suarez was leaving Hill Farmstead to open his own brewery, it had people conjuring up a similar beer trajectory as his former employer. Suarez Family Brewery opened in June of 2016 and even the remote location, pastoral setting and beer styles have people like me planning a trip. Anyway, I hope this is just the first of many beers I’ll get to try from Suarez Family Brewery.

First sips of Hecto Pale Ale are breadish and very mellow. Have to remind myself that this is a 4.5% ABV. The flavor and complexity build sip after sip. Polished, pithy. Some lingering bitterness and astringency. Most of the flavor rolls in on the back end of the palette. A nice, refreshing pale ale, 90 points for Hecto.

Visit Suarez Family Brewery Facebook Page

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Hill Farmstead Vera Mae, Arthur and Florence

Hill Farmstead

Hill Farmstead

© 2015 popsonhops

Every summer, my family stays at a bed and breakfast at a working dairy farm in Pennsylvania. The experience is idyllic and therapeutic. You can see first hand how farms have moved from generation to generation and you can clearly see the transition of knowledge from generation to generation. I enjoy soaking in their interactions. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of the grandkids be disrespectful and I’ve never heard an adult say “Not now, I’m busy”. I take a lot of lessons home with me every year.

Hill Farmstead Growler Label (well said).

© 2015 popsonhops

While I don’t know Shaun Hill or his family, I picture the same multi-generational farm existence in northern Vermont at the Hill Farmstead. One of the things I really like is that Shaun Hill pays homage to the eight generations of his family by naming a quite a few of his beers after these forbearers. I like that these bottles make the introduction and explain how they are related to Shaun.

Arthur
Tasting: October 9, 2015
Style: Farmhouse Saison
Beer #: 824
ABV:6.0%

Hill Farmstead Arthur

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While farmhouse saison is not one of my go to styles, I did discover that I do like Hill Farmstead’s take on the style. What’s different? I find most saisons are dominated with a yeasty banana clove flavor while Hill Farmstead has a tart lemon that overrides and compliments a barnyard funk, hay and grass. It’s like Hill Farmstead is on their own saison-style island. Solid and very drinkable – 92 points.

Vera Mae
Tasting: August 22, 2015
Style: Saison
Beer #: 825
ABV: 6%

Hill Farmstead Vera Mae

© popsonhops

Shared a bottle of Vera Mae with another couple at the lake. They both love IPA so I wasn’t sure how the mild sour experience would go over but overall, I think it was a hit. General comments were of lemon, crispness, sourness, funky. To me, it really hit the spot on a somewhat warm day. 92 points.

Florence
Tasting: October 16, 2015
Style: Farmhouse Saison
Beer #: 826
ABV: 5%

Hill Farmstead Florence

© 2015 popsonhops

Just finished splitting some logs – not the manly way with an axe but rather sitting with a log splitter. Nonetheless, worked up a sweat lugging the machine back to the garage. This beer is totally refreshing. Sour, crisp, lemon. The subtleties between each of these beers is lost on me. The best I can judge is that Vera Mae was the strongest in flavor followed by Arthur then Florence but all with similar flavor profiles. I liked this one just the same — 92 points.

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