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Hill Farmstead Brewery is the culmination of many years of travel and insight—of experience and education—of friendships and explorations. 

The brewery is the revival and continuation of 220 years of Hill heritage and hand crafted history in North Greensboro, Vermont. 

Its logo is retrieved from a sign that once hung in Aaron Hill's (our great(x3) grandfather) tavern, just up the hill, in the early 1800s.

Below you will find a collection of early posts and writing spanning the period before the opening of the brewery through the early years—a living document of our brewery's inception and shaping.



My friends and fellow readers - Today - Monday, March 29th, is our first brew day. I sit here, at 3:30am, drinking a draft Sixpoint Bengali Tiger with Dan Suarez, following a very long day of brewery preparation (including an excursion to the Alchemist to introduce Dan to Vermont's Finest...) Tomorrow we will brew an India Pale Ale... our inaugural ale, so to speak. Thank you, everyone, that has supported me on this journey - emotionally, spiritually, financially.... It is difficult to believe that "the Day" is finally here... Let's hope for a great fermentation and to many, many more flawless brew days. Pictures soon to follow!

Gold and Silver…

Hey Folks - yet again a very late night here in northern Vermont... but just wanted to write a quick note before retiring for the eve. Tomorrow I'm off to the airport to pick up Anders Kissmeyer in Burlington - returning here to the Farmstead to plot out and brew our Maple Smoked Baltic Porter... However, having just received a dozen or more text messages (and a phone call from Anders) from Chicago - I had to take a few seconds to update all 37 of you followers that 3 of my Nørrebro Bryghus beers have taken medals at the World Beer Cup. Both our SEVEN Russian Imperial Stout aged in a Port Barrel as well as our Port Barrel Barleywine have taken GOLD medals at the World Beer Cup! Our Viking Oud Bruin took Silver in the American Style Sour category! It's amazing to win the American style Imperial Stout category... with a beer brewed in Denmark with 6 other Danes =) In fact, all of our categories were in "American" style beers, brewed or barreled in Denmark by an American =)
3 batches of beers in the fermenters. Cheers my friends - here is to a successful future!

Reflections on the “beginning”…

Good evening folks. I'm finally resting here, Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout before me, wood fire burning alongside, and trying to manage the multitude of information before me. Stacks of bills and catalogs, books and notes (I'm making 'to-do' lists out of 'to-do' lists...), and hundreds of photos, designs, videos, and choices to make. As the inaugural brew at any brewery should be a day of mild stress and relative excitement, I thought it best to attempt and share some of the moments, video, and photos from the first four beers and the last few weeks.

Piecing it all together, it grows ever more clear that Hill Farmstead Brewery is genuinely held together by the friendships and relationships, love and optimism, of every individual that comes into contact with the project. For example, without Mike, Darren, and Jim, this project never could have happened.

Also, without Mikkel, Jeppe, Brodrick, Jens, Anders/Marie, Kim, Peter, Alex and so many other believers - we never would have found our footing to build this foundation. Of the four brew days that we've had thus far, none has been in solitude - Darren (my brother) and Ben (a best friend from my high school days) have been present to assist every day - while my parents drop by to say hello. My neighbor Jim (who plumbed my entire cooling and water system) hasn't missed a chance to observe the process - but, we've also been greeted by many guests and gifts. For example, a box of beer happened to have arrived from Utah on the very morning of my first brew day... planned, as it were, perfectly, by the sender. Mike Ingrassia, who will help sell our beers in the Phiadelphia area, visited last weekend and helped us smoke malt and relax for a few moments; Anders Kissmeyer (my great friend and former boss in Denmark) has been here for the last 5 days; Paul Sayler (American Flatbread Burlington Hearth) came out to help us brew the Smoked Baltic Porter yesterday; Dan Suarez, who happens to be a brewer at Sixpoint Brewery in Brooklyn, visited us for several days during the planning of our first brew.

(That's Anders smoking the malt for the Porter... )

Here is a poor quality video of Dan Suarez and I during our very late preparations, the night before the first brew:

And here is a poor quality video of the first brew day:

And the visits, and friendships and support, haven't stopped. Mitch Steele is coming through, while researching for he and Steve Wagner's "IPA book" and we're discussing an unofficial Black IPA collaboration. In Denmark, Ryan is hammering out the details of a Cigar City collaboration while we also finalize the details of a special Grassroots/Mikkeller collab for the Italian beer market. Our Grassroots Citra IPA and Double IPA will hit Copenhagen and Italy within the coming weeks. I'm also working on the details of the sour barrel project with Chad Yakobson ( and should begin brewing the first of that release series by next weekend. Glass companies (Thanks to Lorri of Saxco and Richard from United) are pooling incredible efforts. Søren Varming (Punktum Designs in Copenhagen: has finished up the label and logo design - which we will unveil in the coming days - and Alex has manipulated it all into keg collars, t-shirts, and glassware designs. HoldFast Designs ( should have our shirts available within the coming weeks. Sigh. Endless, isn't it?

The Bird's Eye Maple Smoked Baltic Porter (smoked with our very own maple - courtesy of Darren) is fermenting away - happy lager yeast loving the sugary wort. Anders has just left me, returning to Boston, probably wreaking of maple smoke, where he will find a flight home to DK on Sunday. No doubt he is still flying high from our gold and silver medal wins in the World Beer Cup.

Amazing, really. To have crafted the best American style Imperial Stout and American Style Barleywine (both aged in Niepoort barrels )- in the same competition? When was the last time that this happened at a beer competition? When I realized the project that would come to be known as SEVEN - the goal was to pool together the best 'dark beer' brewers in DK and craft the perfect Russian Imperial Stout. Imagine that... and a Silver medal for the Viking Oud Bruin in the American Sour Ale category? Again, this is all so elating and unreal - that the barrel aged series of beers that I crafted while in Denmark would take 3 medals in the largest beer competition in the world. Kissmeyer and I raised our glasses several times in disbelief... Wow. Street credit, I reckon... and not such bad timing, either - just one week before releasing the first beer from Hill Farmstead.

The first batch of IPA will hit the streets of Vermont on April 20th (yes, 4/20!) - I highly encourage you to seek it out at better beer establishments. I'm very happy with the first batch produced from this brewhouse - soft, elegant, rounded - the result of our well's water and a great hop profile and yeast strain. It's 5.5% abv and hovering in the 85 ibu range. Draft only for now - Edward India Pale Ale (in honor of my grandfather) is our flagship and likely to be our only true year round beer. The Imperial India Pale Ale will be released and will likely debut, in triple dry hopped fashion (twice in the fermenter, once in the cask) at the Three Penny Taproom's Montbeerlier, first anniversary event ( 8% abv, 170 theoretical ibus - Abner Imperial India Pale Ale (in honor of my great grandfather) will only be produced, in very limited quantities, several times a year. Frankly, the massive amounts of hops used to produce this beer (in the range of 70 pounds worth of hops for a 220 gallon batch of beer) prove difficult during clean up. I can only imagine what the brewhouse will look like after crafting Ephraim Imperial India Pale Ale (a triple ipa brewed in honor of my great great grandfather)... Anyway, check out Abner around the first week of May or come and fill up a growler at our brewery. The retail shop opens on May 1st and, karma-willing, we'll have growlers to fill with both Edward and Abner... along with glassware and t-shirts.

That's all for now folks. I'll leave you with a little information about our forthcoming summer events:

May 22: Brattleboro Brewer's Festival (

May 29: Our grand opening. Please email me for details. Camping is available but please email ahead - it would be great to have a general idea of how many people will be attending/staying throughout the evening/morning. This is shaping up to be several times larger than the Backwoods Brewdown... Deep Breath. Hope we have enough beer, t-shirts, and glassware for the event. Shaun(at)HillFarmstead.Com or call 802 533 7450.

June 4/5: Philly Beer Week. Jeff Norman has invited us back to Kennett Square (after 2 epic years of participating in the Kennett Square Beer Festival and debuting beers like Annika and Hell Spawn...) and we'll be hosting a special event on Friday Night at the Kennett Flash ( At my request, this will be catered by one of my favorite food establishments, Talula's Table. On Saturday, we'll be participating in the Festival itself - bringing along the usual family members, Edward and Abner, as well as Arthur (my grandfather's brother) Farmhouse Saison, and, all too likely, either an early preview of the Smoked Baltic Porter or our Black IPA... or maybe neither... or maybe Both... ? Hmm.

June 18/19: BeerAdvocate's American Craft Beer Festival. If the Alstrom Brothers invite us down to Boston ( , we'll be pouring beers for the weekend and likely doing something special at either Deep Ellum or the Publick House.

Goodnight Folks. And thank you for supporting our vision.
Shaun e.

Celebrations and releases

Another month has passed since my last entry - proving more difficult to find the creative spirit and timing to update everyone with our progress.  But, with the Grand Opening party just a week away, I have forced myself to write an update and a few words while in the midst of filling kegs and brewing yet another batch of Edward.

Next Saturday, May 29th, several hundred people will descend upon Hill Road for what will soon become our annual festival (which, in a way, merely displaces the annual birthday celebration of my youth - memorial day weekend).  A few words about the event:
12pm to 6pm
Counter to a circulating myth, there will *not* be free beer.  Only great beer. Very hoppy beer. And much of it.
For those that arrive promptly at 12pm -
Cask Conditioned Edward (double dry hopped, naturally carbonated) 5.2%
Cask Conditioned Abner (triple dry hopped, naturally carbonated) 8.2%
Cask Conditioned Edward James (double dry hopped, naturally carbonated) 6.8%
*This is the debut of James, our India Black Ale.

Once those casks are gone -
We'll be pouring those 3 in draft versions plus the debut (if time and conditioning cooperates) of our all Citra IPA and a sneak peak at our farmhouse ale (with 2 weeks in the oak)...

Pricing: All beers are 5$ per glass.  There will be specials - but it is very much a cash only event.  Admission to the event and music is free for your auditory pleasure.

Food: The Parker Pie Co. will be serving:
P.E.I. Mussels with Saison, Leeks, and Fennel
Red Curry Chicken Kebab
Pork Belly and Kimchi Sandwich
Gruyere, Prosciutto, and Sage Mac and Cheese
Smoked Trout Cake with Apple Slaw

Music:  Jazz with PJ Davidian, Parker Shper, and two guests.

In Brewing News - The barrels are full.  Our smoked baltic porter is resting, silently, in wine and bourbon barrels.  Growing more delicious by the day (I can attest!).  The first batch of Arthur, our Saison, is resting in Pinot Noir barrels with various strains of Brettanomyces - and, one barrel, with 5 kilograms of honey straight into the barrel.

The new and the upcoming...  Next week we'll be brewing a new saison - our Dandelion/Lilac/Honey saison.  This is a throw back to a beer that I brewed 3 years ago and served at the Belgium Comes to Cooperstown event at Brewery Ommegang (Terra Madre).  This beer will likely be called Vera Mae (my grandfather's sister and the first born child of Abner... One might entertain  stories in a manner akin to greek mythology : Abner, as an imperial india pale ale, gives birth to a daughter... who likens herself to all things the encompass flowers and spring).  A good friend of mine, Will Meyers (of Cambridge Brewing Company) will be joining me for the day.  Will seems to like picking flowers (ie. Heather/Lyng)... and he'll return to our brewery, once again, in June, to collaborate on a new barrel aged beer - likely an Imperial Rye Porter (similar perhaps to the beer that Mike Murphy and I brewed at Amager: RugPorter/Murphill... two of Amager's highest rated beers =)

Also, we'll finally brew our Russian Imperial Stout - Damon (named for the memory of my beloved Black Labrador Retriever).  This one will be aged in Bourbon, Brandy, and Wine barrels... think SEVEN, slightly modified (ie. not 17 different malts...)

Lastly, Ryan will be flying over to Vermont in early September where we will likely brew my Christmas Porter/Stout (strange, isn't it, to collaborate with another brewery that you own? Grassroots/Hill Farmstead.)   After two days in Vermont, we'll fly together to Tampa, Florida for a collaborative brew with Cigar City...

Oh.. yeah.. and Menno from De Molen will be passing through in the coming months, as well.  More to come...

New at the Farmstead: Within the coming months, we will be launching a few special beers that will only be available at the brewery, in growler fills.  Please check the website for availability.  We will also begin selling Grassroots Brewing beers from Denmark, in growlers, here at the brewery. Available nowhere else in the US.

Bottle shop is open, too.  Featuring beers from Mikkeller, Cantillon, Nøgne ø, Dieu Du Ciel, and various oddities... check often for updates.

Upcoming events:
May 22, 2010: Brattleboro Brewer's Festival: 1pm to 5pm

June 4 and 5, 2010: Philly Beer week events in Kennett Square.

June 18/19, 2010: BeerAdvocate's American Craft Brewer's Festival, Boston, MA.

July 9th, 2010: Hill Farmstead Beer Dinner at the Round Barn Inn in Waitsfield, VT.  Email me (shaun at or the chef, for more details or tickets.  Will be an amazing dinner with never before sampled beers...

Early September, 2010: Potential Beer Dinner, here in Greensboro, VT, at the Lakeview Inn, with two my favorite people: Mikkel Bjergsø (Mikkeller!) and James Beard Award winning chef Matt Jennings, of Farmstead/La Laiterie.  Still in the planning stages...  but expect greatness from all three of us... along with a blend of Nordic and Vermont cuisine.  ** If, for some reason, Mikkel cannot entertain these dates, we'll either fly solo with Matt or... 1. Import Grassroots Beers for their first ever sampling in the US 2. Invite another friend...?

See you all soon!

Farmstead in Summer

A very long over due update - as always!
Over the weekend we (which is I) brewed a new wheat saison - made with organic raw wheat from the first certified organic farm in Vermont.  This will become a summer release and will morph into another being when the winter months arrive.  Speaking of arriving - I will soon be joined by four extra hands at the brewery: A Danish traveler that will be here for 6 weeks and, on a more long term basis (I hope), Owen - who has been traveling around Europe, himself, for the last year.  You will soon learn more about Owen - in the meantime, let's wait until he arrives.  Maybe he'll write a few words about his experience here on his own blog...?

The grand opening has come and gone - and I'm looking ahead to our first anniversary celebration.  I suspect that somewhere between 300 and 350 people made the trek to Hill Road for the first celebration - and next year's celebration will be even larger.  The highlight for me was having Will Meyers (Cambridge Brewing Company and one of the reasons that I ended up at Nørrebro Bryghus) pouring beer and *working* behind the faucets - while other friends (Tod Mott, John Kimmich, Dave Brodrick) made the journey and enjoyed themselves (well, except poor Dave...who couldn't drink beer that day!) for the duration of the afternoon.  We are already planning our next event...

Fresh Hop and Barrel Aged Beer Release
Tentatively October 2nd, 2010 - we'll release two fresh/wet hopped ipas - all made with Vermont grown hops.  It appears that Centennial and Nugget are on the horizon.  We'll also release 3 version of the smoked porter that we brewed with Anders back in April.  Bottles of our other beers will be available, too - most for the first time. More to come...

We'll be participating in a beer dinner at the Round Barn in in Waitsfield on July 9th.  Check out the new section of my website titled "upcoming special events" for...well... information on upcoming special events!

Philly Beer Week was a whirlwind weekend.  We spent most of our time (Mike and I) in Kennet - with a special event at the Kennett Flash and then serving beers at the Beers on Broad Festival the following day.  Personally, I spent 12 continuous hours "on the town" (as I like to call it, innocently) on Saturday evening - culminating in a 7am departure from Monks Cafe.  Hoping Tom Peters will soon visit the Farmstead and hang around so that I can return the favor.  We'll likely participate, somehow, in the Kennett Square Beer Festival this fall, as well.  However, as it is the same day as our Fresh Hop Festival - we'll have to send beer to Philadelphia in order that it be served by our close friends...  and, fittingly, we'll be sending some beer to Philadelphia (Bella Vista Distribution) in the coming weeks. Likely to be kegs of Edward with a few samples of our Saison Wit, Porter, Harlan, and Sorachi Ace.

Summer is often known as the season of beer festivals.  However, this summer we won't be participating in a single festival.  We're focusing on preparing the brewery for continued efficiency and production - most notably, winterization.  7 day work weeks (in the now absence of extra hands... anxiously awaiting those helpful apprentices!), paper work, taxation, production, is exhausting.  We had to cancel our attendance in BeerAdvocate's American Craft Beer Festival due to the unannounced departure of my brother for San Diego (where he is likely drinking some fine hoppy ale, as I write this) and because our kettle was down for repairs.  Someday soon, I hope to find the time to participate in a small beer gathering - one of knowledge and excitement - at which the beer is savored and pondered rather than gluttonized and forgotten.  I suppose this is largely my motivation for organizing our own beer events....

The retail shop at the brewery is doing exceptionally well.  We're nearly sold out of 2L growlers and are hoping that the next shipment will arrive soon.  As soon as the the time allows for my freedom, I'll continue working on plans for expanding the retail shop as well as the availability of guest beers and broadening the draft selection.  Note that we have changed our hours - we're no longer open Monday and Tuesday (only by appointment) but will remain open Wednesday through Saturday, 12pm to 5pm.

In brewing news... Great friend Christian Skovdal Andersen (Ølfabrikken, Beer Here, BierWerk) was here last week and managed to spend 5 very relaxing days in Greensboro.  Together, we crafted a yet to be named beer that will likely become our house porter.  Christian is soon to launch his next project, Bierwerk, in his new home of South Africa.  I wish him the best and you can be sure to find some of his bottled beer, when it's available, for sale at our retail shop.

In collaboration news - Ryan will be visiting from DK during the early part of September.  Together, we'll brew the Hill Farmstead Holiday Ale (a strong stout or porter) and travel to Tampa, Florida for a few brew days at Cigar City Brewing.  The idea is to craft two different black ipas - both of similar backbone but with slightly different touches... it appears that the two beers will be packaged and sold together.  Definitely more to come on this... as it is still young.

In early October, Menno Olivier of Brouwerij de Molen is planning a journey in our direction.  We shall see what is brought forth...

Lastly, and most sought after - I have two new trips planned away from the Farmstead (other than the trip to Tampa with Ryan).  Yes, count them *two* trips!  First, flying into Chicago the last weekend of July to catch Wilco in South Bend, Indiana.  Coincidentally, Three Floyds is located close by... Secondly, I intend to visit Denmark during the last week of October.  Perhaps not the greatest time to visit Denmark - and almost exactly one year since having left! - but it will afford me a chance to say hello to old friends and to reflect upon the journey of the last 12 months.  Perhaps Mikkel will arrange for a beer tasting at his new beer bar, and perhaps Ryan and I can craft a new Grassroots beer. Or, better yet, maybe I'll just relax and avoid "beer" for a week.  Imagine...