Saison marathon wouldn’t be complete without tossing a new upstart that gets no fewer than 10 ISOs a day, the newest club banger out of those Vermont ballers. This is a wine barrel aged New Zealand hopped saison and continues that proud lineage of Norma/Ann/(HF X beer + wine barrel) that seems to consistently deliver. Any way, enough pageantry and Biggie lyrics, Saison Marathon needs to address NEW HIGHLY SOUGHT SAISONS.
Hill Farmstead Brewery
Vermont, United States
Saison / Farmhouse Ale | 7.40% ABV
A: This has a bit of a deeper bronze/amber aspect than most of the HF molly dropping saison raves that I am used to attending. This may be less of a light show, but still is a foam party nonetheless. The 375ml gushed harder than an overweight woman after a first date. After it finally settled down, the pour was more tame and left little lacing and seemed more watery than I expected, but perhaps the barrel aged treatments provide some working over to the residual sugars, maybe every beer doesn’t need to leave your glass looking like a haunted house, ever think of that?
S: This beer is incredibly interesting in the respect that it approaches citrus from both angles and just chinese finger traps your olfactory. You get this dry musky pineapple meets kiwi sort of fruit profile from the hops, but deep down you know it is that trickster alpha oils trying to lure you into its Econoline van. Then at the same time, you have traditional/acidic aspects more akin to “real” fruits like apricot and lemon from the saison and light lactic aspects. Both nose holes filled, just getting jumped in from rival citrus gangs, tatting juice tears on your cheek.
T: This is drier than I expected, but maybe we should cast our prejudices aside. Maybe being raised in a barrel gave it a predisposition for citrusy violence. “Nature vs. Nurture in the Farmhouse World” is the title of my forthcoming Woman’s Studies Thesis where I explain why there are not enough female eukaryotic in the saison industry. Enough fucking around, this tastes like a brett C profile at the outset, like looking through an old yearbook, trolling for digits, that musky paper taste when you lick her picture, those Tommy Hilfiger overalls in Geometry and when she would sit you could see- wait what. So you get brett and then a nice substantial wheat profile like a Hawaiian roll that is sweet but lingers with a flash of bready grist that subsides into this lemongrass and apricot jamba juice boost on the backend. There isn’t as much juice in this as expected largely due to the dry profile, but it ends up more refined as a result. Maybe that girl from Purdue wasn’t as hot as you had hoped, but she was a anthropology major.
M: This is nowhere near as dry as E. but presents a smattering of elements from a series of the other accomplished entries in the Hill Farmstead catalog. You get this honey aspect that reminds me of Anna, but a sort of substantial wheat aspect that pushes me closer to Arthur, and with loving dryness and light acidity, old Norma watches the fold with loving care, slowly knitting an afghan for the coming Vermont winter. It ends up being a Voltron of several good qualities but not overdoing it on any one area, like playing as Yoshi in Mario Kart. One thing that bothers me is when the uninitiated saison asshole seeks this out because “IS GOOD RATEING!” and complains 1) wut this isn’t sour or 2) saisons are a simple style, etc. Fortunately, if someone is actually drinking this, they likely know what they are in for.
D: This is exceptionally drinkable and I can see why people wanted multiples of such an exceptional beer. The ABV hides under the porch waiting for citrus mommy and hop daddy to stop fighting. The 375 is almost a punishing format for a beer that disappears this quickly. It would be like if Live Oak finally bottled their Hef and then used 25cl bottles. My room would look like a CRV depository. In sum, another amazing beer from HF that pushes another elegant etching into the arabesque of the saison world. I can’t think of an analog to seek out to emulate this, which is something noteworthy in the beer world.
Narrative: Turritopsis nutricula floated lazily in the Chardonnay medium. Barefoot Winery would have never suspected that the salt conditioning of their barrels would contain this prolific common rider, dancing lazily in the fluid. He was a resilient jelly, not insubstantial in grace or refinement. Some would argue that he was out of place in the lower end wine game, but he held a deep secret: NUTRICULA IS ETERNAL. I say that not in the Aristotelian way that he will remain in history forever, he was literally immortal. Whenever the changing tides of acidity or oak would affect him, he would embrace the citrus and float daintily down and respawn buds anew, changing his tissue to embrace the tannins in a new life. He was the lazarus of the depths of abject alcoholism, each time reborn with new strength. This diversity and power came from the polyp, for only by returning to life’s beginnings can one truly apprehend the beauty of a $7 bottle of wine, sometimes the negligent beginning of another life. Turritopsis would wait, elusive, ever changing, fortified by alcohol, oak, and juice; the Tuck Everlasting of the beverage world.