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  1. #1
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    My pilgrimage to Hill Farmstead

    So I touched on it in the New England Beer Vacation thread but I thought my trip to Hill Farmstead deserved a thread all its own. It's a little long winded but please read on...

    First off, when I originally started planning our trip to ME, NH and VT I had the intention of taking an afternoon to ride the Kingdom trails near Burke, VT with maybe the possibility of visiting Hill Farmstead if time allowed. I booked a one night stay at the Wildflower Inn (great place by the way) just outside Lyndonville, VT with this in mind. As the trip grew closer and closer I realized (A) doing a ride in the middle of the day while my wife and son waited for me was going to kinda screw our schedule up (I tend to try and pack too much in) and (B) if I was this close to Hill Farmstead, I had to go. I may never make it back to this part of the country again I figured so I guess the beer geek shot down the bike geek on this one.

    I don't know if it's just me but the more I learned about Shaun Hill and his brewery, the more the mystique of this place seemed to grow. Amazing beers, property has been in the family for 8 generations, middle of nowhere Vermont, the thoughtful approach, etc. I'm not sure there is another brewery quite like it in the country.

    Cut to last Thursday morning...we eat some breakfast, take some pictures of the beautiful Vermont countryside, check out of the Wildflower and we are on our way. 122N to 16S. Right at Taylor. Right at Jaffin Flats. I've got it memorized at this point. Oh, there's the sign! You are on a dirt road smack dab in the middle of the Northeast Kingdom and the only thing that says you are a mile away from one of the best breweries in the country is a humble little sign with the HF logo. That's it!

    We finally get there and we're a couple minutes early (they are open Noon to 5pm, Wed-Sat). To kill some time, we had muled a bottle of beer out from our friends at Sante Adairius Rustic Ales to give to Shaun, so I had my wife pen the description of the beer on a "Hello my name is" sticker to put on the back of the bottle...Ok, they're open. We walk in and Shaun and crew are in the middle of a brewday. Zesting and juicing oranges for "Daybreak" (Imperial Stout with orange destine for Grand Marnier barrels). My wife and I split two tasters and settle in. What can I say, every beer is just mind bending and every beer shows so much finesse, beauty and restraint. With so many breweries these days trying to just overwhelm and berate your taste buds, Shaun's beers are the opposite. They lure you in with plenty of aroma and flavor but then sort of gently lull you into a beer nirvana. An amazing mouthfeel on every beer. Really just some of the finest beer I've ever had. True artistry and craftsmanship. The setting just adds to the overall experience. Were he inclined, I'm sure Shaun could set up shop in any city in the country and just absolutely rake in the dough, but he doesn't. In keeping his operations on the property, he has created a new legacy for his family that will endure for years to come.

    As you can see I'm still on a bit of a high so to speak. I have had many beers and visited quite a few breweries in my days, but that hour at Hill Farmstead will always stand out. Should you ever find yourself in the North East Kingdom, you must visit Hill Farmstead.
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    Last edited by Carl Hungus; 10-17-2012 at 03:26 PM.

  2. #2
    Paper Mill Aleworks
    Reputation: JFryauff's Avatar
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    Beautiful shots, and great write up!
    They are a wonderful crew up there, churning out some amazing stuff.
    A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. - Winston Churchill

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by JFryauff View Post
    Beautiful shots, and great write up!
    They are a wonderful crew up there, churning out some amazing stuff.
    Trying to compete with your write ups is hard work man.

  4. #4
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    Reputation: jtmartino's Avatar
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    Great shots man, for sure. I think all the pictures you took really captured the essence of your trip. Never before have I wanted to visit Vermont so badly

    I'd love to make the pilgrimage to HF one day. Were you able to pick up any bottles?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtmartino View Post
    I'd love to make the pilgrimage to HF one day. Were you able to pick up any bottles?
    Yes.

    1 Arthur (Rustic Saison) my wife and I enjoyed on Sunday for our 6 year anniversary.
    1 Anna (Honey Saison) ditto.
    1 Everett (Porter) might go this week.
    1 Genealogy of Morals (Rye Coffee Imperial Stout aged in Madeira barrels) probably going to sit on this for a while.

    Also picked up a 750ml fill of Abner (IIPA) that we drank that night (soooo good) and a t-shirt for my wife. Money well spent.

    Also brought back a Lawson's Finest Liquids Hopzilla (damn good IIPA, sharing it manana at SARA), a Mean Old Tom from Maine Beer Co. and Creme Brule Stout from Southern Tier. I think that's it.

  6. #6
    Hi.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Hungus View Post
    Yes.

    1 Arthur (Rustic Saison) my wife and I enjoyed on Sunday for our 6 year anniversary.
    1 Anna (Honey Saison) ditto.
    1 Everett (Porter) might go this week.
    1 Genealogy of Morals (Rye Coffee Imperial Stout aged in Madeira barrels) probably going to sit on this for a while.

    Also picked up a 750ml fill of Abner (IIPA) that we drank that night (soooo good) and a t-shirt for my wife. Money well spent.

    Also brought back a Lawson's Finest Liquids Hopzilla (damn good IIPA, sharing it manana at SARA), a Mean Old Tom from Maine Beer Co. and Creme Brule Stout from Southern Tier. I think that's it.
    Nice pickups! Everett is an awesome beer. I have not tried the others. If you're so inclined we can do a bottle share with your stout

    Lawson's makes some great beer too, and I recently had Mean Old Tom at home. A terrifically smooth beer.

    Congrats on the anniversary.

  7. #7
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    Shoot, I live in northern Vermont (Stowe), and I've never made it over there! But, every time I've had their beer, it's fantastic. I guess I take for granted living close to a lot of great breweries, but I sure don't take it for granted living in such a pretty place. Vermont is awesome.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by willapajames View Post
    Shoot, I live in northern Vermont (Stowe), and I've never made it over there! But, every time I've had their beer, it's fantastic. I guess I take for granted living close to a lot of great breweries, but I sure don't take it for granted living in such a pretty place. Vermont is awesome.
    Yeah it's decent...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails My pilgrimage to Hill Farmstead-hf-property2-small.jpg  

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    Last edited by Carl Hungus; 10-18-2012 at 01:54 PM.

  9. #9
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    Nice shots! I usually only have an old point and shoot with me (was fly-fishing in the above shot). Having a camera in the right place at the right time seems to be half the battle.
    Sorry to hijack. Back on topic, have you tried Hill Farmstead "Edward" (pale ale) or "Citra" (an IPA with Citra, as the name implies)? Edward is one of my all time favorite beers.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by willapajames View Post
    Back on topic, have you tried Hill Farmstead "Edward" (pale ale) or "Citra" (an IPA with Citra, as the name implies)? Edward is one of my all time favorite beers.
    Yeah, Edward was on tap last week. No Citra though. Would love to try that. The single hop Riwaka and Simcoe were quite good. I read on their facebook page they brewed a Citra/Simco/Riwaka IPA this week...Susan. It should be quite good.

  11. #11
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    Great Adventure....

    .....Thanks for the excellent write up and pictures.....Getting to Hill Farmstead is an adventure....here is a different shot of Hill Farmstead....from the parking lot.....Ride On!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails My pilgrimage to Hill Farmstead-087.jpg  

    There are two paths you can go by but in the long run........

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtmartino View Post
    Nice pickups! Everett is an awesome beer. I have not tried the others. If you're so inclined we can do a bottle share with your stout

    Lawson's makes some great beer too, and I recently had Mean Old Tom at home. A terrifically smooth beer.

    Congrats on the anniversary.
    Seek Arthur out in trade if you can. Really amazing Saison with farmhouse funk. Right up there with the best from Fantome and the like.

  13. #13
    aka baycat
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    I would have robbed that place.

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