It feels like forever since we posed those old Vermonteer bottles with pedantic books, spinning some yarns about the current state of farmhouse affairs. Might as well get back on that grizzy with this wild aley, saisoney, IPA-esque mushing of tips, the likes of which we haven’t seen since Stone decided to crash their brett IPA head on into the marketing divider. So what can we make of this bretty, hoppy, oaky lady? LOL JUST READ THE NEXT 650 words!!! LOLK
Hill Farmstead Brewery, HP Lovecraft Woods/Vermont
7% abv, barrel aged IPA cum de wild ale by way of brett addition
This is wine barrel aged Susan, with brett added.
A: This has that classic frothy eggshell foam and copper underpinnings that gets my undercarriage all overheating. The lacing is generous and belgian in execution leaving broad sheets of soapy love for the maid to clean up. It isn’t as radiant as their other saisons, nor is it exactly as clean and transparent as their hoppy offerings either. It is a weird halfway house for both and doesn’t present itself as especially beautiful in the SRM and clarity but that carb gets my bubbles pumpin.
S: This is decidedly more bretty farmhouse oakiness than it is the Susan was have grown to know and love. The Susan aspects are sitting in the background whittling, presenting a grapefruit and orange bitters sort of dryness, overlooking the parapet ever so gently while the wild ale grenaidiers perform the main advance. You get some twine, rope musk, leather/hay, and a tropical fruit closer. The whole affair is just gentle and soft, its like the Downey bear’s taint, with equal parts laundry musk delivered in kind.
T: The wild ale aspects meet the bayonet of the advancing hops, so aged, so experienced, flanking the right wing of this beer’s overall performance. There exists an IPA core to this that has a resinous, aged hoppy character to it that seems to work in intervals with the brett and the oak. A sharp bite of amarillo goodness (if there’s no amarillo in here, zero fucks given, THIS IS PROSE) then the creamy mouthfeel sublimates into a juicy citrus and tangerine that finishes dry and long, like postmenopausal labias.
M: This is not nearly as dry as E, which is the natural comparsion here, and it retains more of the hoppy underpinnings. The mouthfeel is arguably the best quality and just exudes character in its whipped lemon meringue and pine finish. It feels like if E and Dorothy were parking lot smashing and the kid came out bigger than both of them, by way of Barrel aged group homes. Dorothy couldn’t support her and, hey she deserves a fair shot at life, Sue deserves better.
D: This is exceptionally drinkable despite the dryness and the faded hops on the backend. It isn’t drillable on the Florence or Side Project Grisette level, but it is a weird hybrid class with DPS and healing abilities. This is well worth your time but, it’s tough to deliver a blanket statement with what the HF tickers demand for these bottles as of late. I mean, you could always drink Stone Enjoy After and try to figure out when your life became a shitty approximation of your forgotten dreams. You could always do that, Stone bottles are sitting on the shelf, go for it.
Narrative: Sue lay in wait, deep below the weeds and earthy compost of South Dakota, a fitful slumber for her time worn bones cased in sediment. During her prime she was an apex predator, consumer of fauna, the top tier of an unsustainable ecological model. The wood would encroach and the world was not long for the aggressive bite of the T rex. Eventually it would be a world replete with wood and bugs and microflora, the soft caress of herbivores humming gently through the clicks of time. The year was 1990 and the boots of the expedition sent shocks below the topsoil and she knew it was time to rise again, forever changed but oddly intact. Her frightful skeleton would serve as a harbinger to the complacent doughy museum going populace of the modern era. There once was a fierce bite that has given way to the Dionysian culture of complacency. Sue’s time would come again, such is the way of all things. Until then her suspended jaws hang ever suspended, ever waiting, to consume again.