Madness and Civilization #9 by Hill Farmstead Merry Christmas indeed!

Madness and Civilization #9 Hill Farmstead

(C) 2017 popsonhops

Madness and Civilization #9

Tasting: December 31, 2017
Style: American Double / Imperial Stout
Beer #: 1,123
ABV: Not listed. My guess, 9.0% based ABV of components.

This bottle of Madness and Civilization was a surprise Christmas present. On the sight of the label, my eyes lit up like an eight-year-old. The only word I could utter out of my slack-jawed mouth was “wow”. Why wow? First, you have to appreciate that this is a beer that is only available at the brewery. Then you have to realize that this brewery is in the most remote area of northeastern Vermont. For persepctive, Hill Farmstead is about an hour from Stowe and about 25 miles from the Canadian border. On the drive to the brewery, you may spend a half an hour on unmarked dirt roads questioning your GPS. Lastly, you have to account that releases like this may only happen over a few days each month.

Notes from the brewery: This batch of Madness & Civilization is composed of Barrel-Aged Everett (PoH note: 8.0% ABV) and Birth of Tragedy (PoH note: 9.0%), each aged in our favorite bourbon barrels for 2 years, blended with fresh Genealogy (PoH note: 9.5% ABV), and then conditioned further with coconut and vanilla. After months of bottle conditioning, this beer is now ready for release and enjoyment.

This motor oil colored stout was a little cold at first pour and flavors were limited to a charred roasted flavor. Let it sit quite a bit, hoping that some of the adjunct flavors of vanilla and coconut would come through but I didn’t get any of those flavors. I shared this bottle with two others and they reported the same. I did pick up some cocoa, nuttiness and coffee. Mouthfeel is rich and decadent. Not as great as I was expecting but not as bad as getting underwear for Christmas. Madness & Civilization is a very good 92 points.

Read my thoughts on some other Hill Farmstead beer including Everett 97 points

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Difference & Repetition Hill Farmstead or Difference and Repetition or repetition and difference

Hill Farmstead Difference & Repetition American IPA brewed by Hill Farmstead, Greensboro Bend, Vermont

(C) 2017 popsonhops

Sometime over the summer, a friend told me that he was going to be working with a PBS program that was filming a segment featuring Hill Farmstead Brewery. He asked if I’d be interested in a quick road trip. I guess by now, you know my answer.

Hill Farmstead Cans of Difference & Repetition brewed with Simcoe, Galaxy and Hallertau Blanc hops. Hill Farmstead, Greensboro Bend, Vermont(C) 2017 popsonhops

Beautiful crisp fall morning in Burlington. A quick stop at a local coffee shop and we were on our way driving through the back drop of peak fall foiliage. We were probably the first people at the brewery and were welcomed to hang in the tap room while waiting for the crew to arrive.

Hill Farmstead Difference & Repetition American IPA brewed by Hill Farmstead, Greensboro Bend, Vermont along with Brisket Tacos

(C) 2017 popsonhops

Enjoyed lunch and a fairly nice sized haul of goodies including twelve cans of Difference & Repetition. I had the opportunity to ask a couple of questions of the brewery manager. A new addition to the brewery was the availability of cans in the bottle shop. He said that they tested cans and were pleased that they held the flavor. He did say that they might notice a subtle difference after a few days but a consumer probably would not. The use of Hallertau Blanc hops was a new one on me. I know Hallertau hops as being one of the German noble hops but it doesn’t necessarily excite as part of an American-Style IPA. He explained that it was a newer variety, possibly in reaction to onslaught of New Zealand, Australian and hops from the American northwest.

My thoughts on Difference & Repetition…

Style: IPA
ABV: 6.0%
Beer #: 1,116

First few sips, explode with white wine grapes and the signature smooth polished mouthfeel of a Hill Farmstead ale. Orange, grapefruit rule. Really nice, 95 points.
The philosophical reference: Difference & Repetition is a 1968 book by philosopher Gilles Deleuze. I won’t even attempt giving you the Cliff Notes.

Visit the Brewery Website

Here’s another series of Hill Farmstead Ales

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Hill Farmstead Abner Imperial IPA Cross another off my bucket list

Hill Farmstead Abner is an American Double / Imperial IPA brewed by Hill Farmstead, Greensboro Bend, Vermont

(C) 2017 popsonhops

Hill Farmstead Abner

Tasting: October 12, 2017
Style: American Double / Imperial IPA
Beer #: 1,111
ABV: 8.2%

When I first started this website in 2011, the craft beer world was a whole lot smaller. There were fewer than 2,000 breweries in operation compared to the nearly 6,000 reported in 2017. There was no Trillium, no Tree House and no Other Half. My aim was to find the beer widely considered the best beer in America. Of course, that task seems impossible today as the landscape keeps shifting.

Before I started this website, I quickly realized how naive I was about the availablity of what was considered the best in America. You may recall my story of when I asked about buying a Dark Lord at my neighborhood beer store. I realized that getting to try these limited release beer would need some travel, trades and some patience. Early on, I created a bucket list of sorts and I’m happy to say that I crossed off a number of beers off one of my early lists.

My early beer bucket list:

Three Floyds Dark Lord 97 points
The Bruery Black Tuesday 97 points
Surly Darkness 96 points
Three Floyds Zombie Dust 90 points
Fifty Fifty Eclipse 2009 Elijah Craig 97 points
Lawson’s – Double Sunshine (Still Hunting)
Hill Farmstead – Abner (YESS!)
Goose Island – King Henry (Not sure this is still being made)
Cigar City Hunaphu 2014, 98 points
Alpine – Exponential Hoppiness (not really interested anymore)
Peg GOOD RareR DOS (Might replace this with some of the cycle releases)
Surly Abrasive 94 points
Kern River Citra 94 points
Three Floyds Dreadnaught 94 points

Hillfarmstead Abner:

I was able to cross this off my list as part of a whirlwind trip to the brewery on October 11th. I’ll give you more details on my trip in a later post. As far as Hill Farmstead Abner, I get massive fleshy orange and orange rind that weaves itself around some mild but noticeable boozy ethers. As you’d expect, there is that wonderful Hill Farmstead balance and polish. A true work of art, 97 points.

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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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