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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Lindley Park Stout Olde Hickory Bourbon Barrel Aged with Raspberries and Honey

Lindley Park Stout Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout with Raspberries and Honey, brewed by Old Hickory Brewing

(C) 2017 popsonhops.com

Tasting: August 4, 2017
Style: Bourbon-Barrel Aged Stout with Raspberries and Honey added.
Beer #: 1,085
ABV: 10%

Lindley Park Stout

Lindley Park is a neighborhood in Greensboro, North Carolina. The area is named after Quaker and local businessman John Van Lindley. In 1902, he donated 60 acres of land to be used as a recreation complex. The area had a man-made lake and amusement park. The lake and amusement park closed in 1917 and the town fathers set out to create a neighborhood with a park as its main element. Coincidentally, the community celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. Another serendipitous discovery is that the name Lindley comes from the English text, Lind – meaning tree and Ley – meaning clearing. So, it seems Van Lindley lived up to his name by clearing some trees for the construction of the lake.

Maybe it’s just the age on this bottle (probably 2 years old) but the raspberry is non-existent. Well-polished stout with robust roasted coffee, baker’s chocolate but soft edges and a plush mouthfeel. A nice stout, wonder what it would have been like with some raspberry. I’ll give Lindley Park Stout 92 points.

Was Lindley Park better than this Raspberry Stout?

Visit the Brewery’s Website

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Big Gruesome Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout A Pennsylvania Treat?

Big Gruesome Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout by Spring House Brewing Company

(C) 2017 popsonhops

Tasting: May 21, 2017
Style: American Double / Imperial Stout
Beer #: 1,059
ABV: 8.3%

Big Gruesome Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout

I’m fresh off the discussion of what defines an adjunct in beer. As a quick refresher, there are some that in order for it to be called an adjunct, it needs to be fermentable (yeast food). Things like honey or corn syrup come to mind. Others say adjuncts are simply any additives to beer outside the primary ingredients. Think things like peanut butter. It doesn’t lend to fermentation, yet it is an ingredient. I didn’t pick a side last time, but if push came to shove, I’d call any additive outside the primary ingredients an adjunct.

This peanut butter stout comes from Pennsylvania brewer, Spring House. Originally from Conestoga, Pennsylvania, the brewery relocated to downtown Lancaster in July of 2015. The name of the brewery relates to a freshwater spring located in the basement of the brewer’s house.

Big Gruesome Label

Wish I had more information on the label art because I really dig the simplistic, retro, sci-fi comic book style. Seems like a recurring theme as even the interior of the brewery is painted to match. See painting story by Two Dudes. A company called Hand Carved Graphics seems to have some work with the brewery and a few labels. But no information on this particular label. Anyway, If I only had some time. And it’s beer time.

Tasting Big Gruesome

The brewery describes Big Gruesome Peanut Butter Stout as being intense with roasted flavors from chocolate malt and cacao nibs. Spring House Brewing then ages this American double stout on vanilla beans and more raw cacao nibs. Peanut butter is also added throughout the entire brewing process.

Expected some chalky phony peanut butter flavoring but Big Gruesome Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout is really authentic and well-balanced. Smooth creamy milk chocolate and nutty. Slightly on the sweet side. I don’t get the advertised intense roasted flavors but frankly, I’m glad. In conclusion, I’ll put Big Gruesome at 91 points.

on Peanut Butter Stout and Spring House Brewing

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Unjunct Stout Carton Brewing A matter of semantics and memes?

Tasting: April 14, 2017
Style: Stout
Beer #: 1,051
ABV: 8.5%

Unjunct Stout, Carton Brewing

Recently came across a beer geek debate in a craft beer enthusiast Facebook group. The discussion? What is an adjunct? There were three points of view but for now, let’s exclude the group that posted the funny “who cares” memes.

One one side were those that claim that an adjunct is simply any additive to beer that goes beyond the standard ingredients of water, hops, barley and yeast. They point to the dictionary definition of an adjunct: is a thing added to something else as a supplementary rather than an essential part.

On the other side of this meaningless debate, are those that claim that in brewing an adjunct is any fermentable additive or substitute for traditional barley. This group points to macro brewers using corn syrup as a cheap alternative to fermentable sugars. On this side of the argument, fruit or honey would be an adjunct since they offer fermentable but coffee and (say) hazelnuts would not. Not sure of their feelings on biscotti.

Seems like the point of the debate is whether we need a distinguishing term that differentiates cost cutting short cuts and creativity? Do we even need one? Me? Put me on the side of the people with the who cares memes. Good beer is just good beer.

Carton Brewing inadvertently injects themselves in this piece with their anti-junk or no adjunct reference. Pardon the food reference (I’m hungry as I write this), but with restaurants making artisanal hamburgers, isn’t it nice sometimes just to find a burger that is just a great burger? it’s refreshing to see brewers return to master the base.

Unjunct Stout is really done well. Basic recipe but a host of complex flavors. Waves of distinct coffee, creamy chocolate, smoke and some raisin. Goes well with the burger I’m enjoying. 91 points.

Off the top of my head, here are some of my favorite unjunct, un-junked, non-additive, non-adjunct and non-barrel aged stouts

Bells Expedition Stout – 93 points
Dark Horse Plead the 5th – 95 points
Blackout Stout – 91 points

What say you? What are your favorites?

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