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To hand craft succinct, elegant beers of distinction and to revive and diversify the farmscape of the Hill Farmstead in Greensboro...


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Thanks Given...

On November 19th, 2011 we will be releasing some of my favorite beers thus far produced at Hill Farmstead.  Dan and I spent a significant portion of our spring brewing beer destined entirely for oak barrels.  One of these beers was my conception of the "Imperialized" version of our winter porter, Twilight of the Idols.   We brewed Birth of Tragedy way back, 6 months ago, and aged it in Blantons, Buffalo Trace, and Elijah Craig bourbon barrels.

Also, over the last few months, we have been joined by some of our closest friends in the brewing world - Mikkel Bjergsø of Mikkeller, and Tim/Doug/and Joey from Cigar City Brewing Company.

With Mikkel, we constructed a unique Imperial Stout/Porter with 1,000 ICUS (international citrus units)  of Orange.  Hopped with Galaxy and Citra - bottle conditioned - and more than 10% abv.  We also redesigned our label concept for this special beer - Alex Peltz, best friend and graphic designer, reworked our original concept (which was designed by Søren Varming of Copenhagen) and Natalya Zahn (, another childhood friend, provided a profile sketch to mimic Mikkel's already brilliant logo.

With Tim, Doug, and Joey we constructed an Imperial Pale Ale ("Nor") that would be the antithesis of Or (Imperial Black IPA brewed at Cigar City last September).  We used an abundance of Motueka, Cascade, and Simcoe Hops - and chose to use some rice syrup solids in the kettle and toasted rice flakes in the mash.  Words of Wisdom: never use Rice Syrup Solids.  You will thank me later.   9.2% abv. 170 theoretical ibus.

We will also be releasing Civil Disobedience #3 - a blend of barrel aged Arthur and barrel aged Vera Mae.  6.5% abv.

Hope to see you all on Saturday at 12pm.  I'll be pouring glasses of all of the above beers for 5$ - bring your own Hill Farmstead stemware.  No bottle limits on Daybreak and Tragedy.  Growler fills of Nor and Twilight....

So many things...

So many things to say and update.  It's been a long, long time since writing.  I promise to do it more frequently...

First anniversary party next weekend.  See the link under upcoming events for more information.

Been extremely busy filling barrels... and brewing as much beer as possible.  When we started this brewery, we brewed 2 batches a week.  No we are brewing 4.

By the end of next week we'll have 40+ oak wine/port/bourbon barrels filled with Spontaneous
Fermentation, Oud Bruin and Buckwheat Rye Imperial Porter (both brewed with
Will Meyers of Cambridge Brewing Company), Flanders Red, Flora
(buckwheat/spelt barrel fermented Florence Saison), Art (wine barrel
fermented Arthur Saison), Ann (Sauvignon Blanc barrel aged Honey Saison),
Mimosa (Sauvignon Blanc barrel aged Orange Saison... primary fermented with
B.Clausenii and tangello/tangerine juice and zest), Damon (Russian Imperial
Stout aged Blanton's Bourbon Barrels), Genealogy of Morals (Rye Coffee
Imperial Stout aging in Madeira barrels) and - Birth of Tragedy (Imperial
Porter brewed with Coffee, Cinnamon, and Honey - aged in Bourbon barrels and
conditioned on Madagascar and Papa New Guinea vanilla beans). Nearly all of
these beers will be released around the winter holidays. All of the
intentionally "sour" barrels have been inoculated with nothing other than
our own house spontaneous cultures from our winter cool-ship projects.
Thus, we are crafting a truly indigenous/chthonic flavor profile, unique
only to our brewery and Greensboro, VT.

The guys from Cigar City, in Tampa Florida, will be traveling to Hill
Farmstead in late June to complete the 4th element of our Collaboration with
Grassroots (our sister/contract brand in Denmark). Cigar City/Hill
Farmstead/Grassroots have released and brewed Either, Or, Neither, and, in
June, Nor. Neither and Nor are the opposite of Either and Or - rather than
11% abv Imperial Black IPAs - we are shooting for 9 to 10% abv
pre-prohibition Imperial Pale Ales. Our version will likely be brewed with
organic buckwheat, corn, and honey from one of our local Vermont Farms.
Expect "old school" hop varieties to be used, Cluster/Nugget/Cascade... and,
in the fall, for All Four Version to be on tap at the brewery for our annual
Fall Harvest Festival on September 24th.

We are also increasing our supply of bottled conditioned Saisons - and some
VT consumers could find 750ml bottles of Hill Farmstead Saisons on store
shelves.   Anna is being labeled today and is for sale this weekend...

Bottling update…

The final numbers from today's labeling session are in...

The following amount will be for sale tomorrow.  Limited to 3 bottles of each label , per person.  If there are still bottles remaining at 5pm, the limit will be removed...

F/T French Oak: 300 bottles
F/T Blend: 312 bottles
F/T Bourbon: 288 bottles
Jim: 216 bottles

Definitely a bit soggy outside - we suggest wearing proper attire.  The band has finally agreed to play.  Weather is clearing up.  We'll pour Mikkeller Beer Geek Bacon and have also added our new saison, Arthur, to the draft line up.  Cheers!

Autumn Festival Updates

It's nearly 1 in the morning, Anders and I just finishing smoking the malt for tomorrow's brew - and I thought it beneficial to lay the ground work, a bit further, for Saturday's release event and beer festival.  In case there was any confusion...

-The entire event is cash only.

-There will be a number of local food producers on site... plenty of food to go around...

-It looks as if we'll have to limit the number of bottles that each individual can purchase.  Our of fairness, the initial limit is 3 bottles, of each type, per person.  If there is a significant amount of bottles remaining at the end of the day, we'll open it up with no limits on what is remaning.  Each of the 3 Fear and Trembling bottles is 15$ per 500ml. Jim will be released at 12$ (due to the lower alcohol %, etc).  There are approximately 350 bottles of each type...

- Each of the beers will be on draft - along with the first of the wild saisons.  Tasting tickets are 10$/4 tickets... or individuals for 3$.  This will retrieve a 6 to 8 ounce pour of each beer - depending upon the abv and treatment, etc.  You must purchase the Hill Farmstead Tasting Glass (which is a 12 ounce, branded wine glass) for the event... this is reusable at any future brewery event... (this will help keep the pour sizes consistent...).  The tasting glass is 5$.

- There will be a guest tap... which is still undecided.  We're accepting votes.

Email me if there are any other questions!

Grassroots, Holiday Ale, Dark Saison, and Cigar City…

As late summer thermometers commence their hesitant, calculative descent toward frigid, wintery lows - the maple leaves adorning Hill Farmstead begin to display signs of their own transformative withdrawal. In fact, the entire landscape is a symbolic cooperative of coalescence and recoil. Thus, with winter's retreat imminent, Hill Farmstead Brewery is embarking upon two months of grandiosity: to be conducted with the pretense of better beer, a successive whirlwind of gratitude, of arrivals and departures to ensue - before retreating into the brewery, bound by feet and meters of snow, with every intention of emerging amidst the first sign of spring...

Our September:

Ryan Witter Merithew arrives on August 31 for a five day visit to the Farmstead.

On Wednesday, we'll craft our first wild sour ale - a sort of amalgamation of Flanders Red/Oud Bruin/American Wild Ale... to be barrel aged for years.

On Thursday, we'll craft our first Holiday ale - a strong, winter porter to be brewed with vanilla, cinnamon, and coffee. This beer will be bottled in 750ml bottles and released during the first week of November. Some will be barrel aged and released in the middle of the winter. Some will be in limited draft form.

On Friday, Ryan and I will be joined by mutual friend Jean Broilet of Iron Hill (Westchester) and, together, we'll craft our Dark Saison. A portion of this will be primary fermented in Russian River Valley Pinot Noir barrels (with wild honey added), a portion will be aged in Napa Cabernet Barrels, and all of it will be fermented with a mélange of ingredients and wild yeasts...

On Saturday (September 4th), I'll be running the retail shop while Ryan and Jean are sipping on a the very last keg of a beer that they brewed together just days before Ryan left to join me in Denmark... you won't want to miss this one!  Here is what Jean has to say:

Tuff Ghost- Red Rye Super Saison. Fermented and aged in used Pinot Noir barrels from Chaddsford Winery with fresh Danish Heather honey and a blend of yeast and bacteria. Hopped with Saaz, Cascade, and Amaril...lo. Keg conditioned for one year. 40 ibu, 8% abv.

On Thursday, September 9th, Ryan and I will arrive in Tampa, Florida to join Wayne, Joey, and company at Cigar City Brewing for a Cigar City/Grassroots/Hill Farmstead Collaboration: Imperial Black IPA. The details of the release (availability?) are pending - but it seems likely that some of it will surface at the Farmstead... Details and a Photo Blog of the Collaboration to follow.

And then... September 15th: Farmhouse Tap and Grill in Burlington, VT. An evening with Hill Farmstead Brewery's beers and Jasper Hill Farm's cheeses. A long envisioned collaboration (beyond the sphere of simply only Winnimere) - Greensboro's two artisan food producers team up to deliver an evening of pairings (I recall discussing a beer and cheese tour with Mateo three years ago... and it's great to finally see it come to fruition!). Is Hill Farmstead/Jasper Hill the closest link in the United States to a beer/cheese relationship?

October 2nd: Hill Farmstead Harvest Festival at the brewery... Kissmeyer will be here for the release of our Barrel aged Smoked Baltic Porter! Details for this are listed beneath the Upcoming Events section of our website. Basically: the only difficulty has been procuring enough Vermont grown hops (100+ pounds) for the wet hop beers. It didn't happen. Thus, we are still releasing at least one beer that is "dry hopped" with Vermont grown hops... (lame, I know) but, if all goes as planned, the manner with which we approach this "release" and dry hopping could be monumental and epic. More details to follow... although still vague, think: oak barrel full of hops... =) pictures soon... promise...

Then... Menno of De Molen is still thinking of visiting us mid October.

At the end of October, I am planning to fly to Rome and Denmark. Mikkel and I are hoping to do a Hill Farmstead night at the Mikkeller Bar. Ryan and I will brew a new beer for Grassroots...and I'll fly home. Easy as that...right?

November 14: La Laiterie/Farmstead, Providence RI. A night with Hill Farmstead beers. Matt and I will put together an epic beer and food menu - I'll bring the best of everything that I have... and we'll try to pull off the most ridiculous beer dinner possible. Afterwards, we'll try to convince Matt to join forces with us in creating one of the best brewpubs on the East Coast...

December 4th: Beer Dinner at the Reluctant Panther, Manchester, VT. More details to follow - but chef Justin is planning a 3 or 4 course dinner and a more specific menu is soon to follow...

Then... we retreat into our cocoon for the winter... Gratefully Yours - Shaun e.

Farmstead, Inc

As the week begins here at the Farmstead, we welcome Søren Parker Wagner  (my replacement/trainee at Nørrebro) the same day that Peter Andersen flies back to Denmark.  From here on out, it is just Owen and I... and whatever guests happen to pass through.  It is clear that Anders Kissmeyer will return in the fall - for the release of his Smoked Baltic Porter guest brew.  Perhaps we'll find the time to brew yet another batch... as this one is just SO damn good that I can't imagine being without it.  Still void of names for the collaborative beers... open to ideas.

Lastly, before I return to the brewery for kegging/washing kegs for the morning, you should all check out the following blog entry, about our brewery,  written by my friend Matt at Farmstead/La Laiterie.  We're hosting a beer dinner together on November 14th at his place in Providence, RI - book ahead, soon, because it will sell out fast (we're breaking out *all* of the greatness for this one... the only keg of smoked baltic porter to leave the brewery, for example... the debut of our barrel aged holiday ale, perhaps the Cigar City Collab...etc).  Matt runs one of the best cheese shops in America and is a James Beard award winning chef... check it out!

That's all for now - time to visualize...

Heading into Autumn

I believe that it was once my solemn vow to update this blog more frequently - that is, perhaps twice a month, rather than once every six weeks.  I'm a stream of consciousness writer, fueled by a cup of coffee or perhaps brimming with information to the point that I cannot help but spill over onto the page...
That being said, the weather is beginning to cool here in Vermont and it is glaringly apparent that I am long overdue for an update.  I'll try to keep this shorter and thus necessitate that more posts occur, more often, in a more concise manner.  However, this is not a legally binding agreement...

The Danes have come and gone - all of them, actually.  Peter Andersen is departing on Monday for Denmark after having helped us for the last 6 weeks.  Peter Sonne, Jannik, Mogens, and Kim arrived late last week and left us on Monday afternoon.  The photo at the start of this blog entry is, indeed, Shaun e. Hill drinking a Budweiser from a Mikkeller/De Dolle stem glass in front of the RV that they rented.  What a fine afternoon... and a very relaxed Backwoods Brewdown.  Love those guys.  And I'll see them all in a few months when I return to Denmark for a week...

Business at the retail shop has been fantastic.  We are out of space - and need to consider a different way with which to welcome those traveling in pursuit of enjoying and tasting our beers.  The wheels are turning and, by next spring, there should be outdoor seating and more space for the throngs of people that are lining up on the weekends to take home our growlers.

In the fermenter:
Ephraim: 10% abv Imperial IPA
Abner: 8% abv Imperial IPA
Upcoming: A visit from Ryan - my great American friend that is brewing the beer for Fanø Bryghus and crafting the beers for my Grassroots Brewing project in DK.  We're hoping to brew two beers upon his visit:  A Christmas Porter that will see a month or so in Oak... and an Autumn Saison with our friend Jean Broilet (of Iron Hill Westchester) that will be primary fermented in oak barrels.  Following this - Ryan and I are off to Cigar City in Tampa to brew an Imperial Black IPA with Wayne and company.  Hopefully some of those bottles will find way to VT... (yeah, I bet that they will... and you probably know where to find them...)
Also... our wet hopped India Pale Ale.  Sadly, no Vermont hop grower could supply us with 100# of freshly harvested hops (atleast, not of a variety that is worthy of one of our ipas...) and we've had to seek hops from New York instead.  Hopefully it all works out for this year and, with some planning - perhaps a Vermont hop grower can meet our demands for next year.

Owen Miller is now helping us at Hill Farmstead Brewery (bless his soul) and will soon begin writing on the guest brewer blog page - check out his ramblings and perspectives on assisting at Hill Farmstead.  Thanks to his hands, the sour barrel project will finally take hold.

Farewell for now... there are a hundred sails amidst the breeze here at Hill Farmstead... I'll do my best to explain each one over the coming weeks.  I promise!

Edward goes to Philadelphia…

I'm not sure if my grandfather ever made it to Philadelphia (I have a lurking suspicion that he probably didn't make it much further south than Connecticut...)  but the beer that is now his namesake, our American Pale Ale, is en route to Philadelphia.  This is our first shipment of beer outside of the Vermont marketplace (our next shipment to Denmark will leave at the end of July) and the entire shipment of 38 kegs is sold out before it even hits the city.  Look for our beer at some of the following (but look quickly, because each place only received 5 gallons of beer...) :

For example: Monk's Cafe, Memphis Taproom, Capone's, Craft Ale House, Devil's Den, Earth Bread + Brewery, Grey Lodge, Eulogy, Local 44, Teresa's... and so forth.

Back here in Vermont - we have hit a bottleneck at the brewery and were unable to brew this week.  Our new Porter went into Brandy and Bourbon barrels yesterday and the Wheat Saison will be keg conditioned this afternoon and hit the draft lines in the brewery next week.  We have just one 5 gallon keg remaining of Abner, about 15 gallons of James, and 15 gallons of Citra.  Sorachi Ace single hop will be dry hopped this afternoon and should be released in about 2 weeks...

We are working on plans for expanding into a brewpub as well as opening a brewpub in Southern/Central Vermont.  Will people drive to socialize? Will they sit down at our farmstead and enjoy a glass of beer?  To be determined...