First and foremost huge thanks to the Vicster for donating the bottLOL yeah right, can you imagine that dude doing something selfless not designed to maximize some self-aggrandizing desire, LOL YARITE.
So after many trials and tribulations trapezing around the current state of farmhouse affairs, we have returned to the touchstone of American Saisons: Hill Farmstead.
I want to state at the outset: I don’t generally enjoy reviewing Hill Farmstead beers. Allow me to clarify before your urethra starts spewing out liquid Velveeta. I love DRINKING these Vermont gems. I LIKE making fun of the attendant shitty, capitalistic HF traders. But in practice REVIEWING Hill Farmstead beers isn’t especially fun from the DDB pulpit.
The function of reviewing is to leverage and evaluate the shortcomings and merits of a given work. If the verve of DDB is to present these impressions with any modicum of levity, then it’s gonna be a fair amount of hyperbole and understatement to suck the marrow out of the bone. Hill Farmstead derails all possible jokes. Generally people love the excoriating rhetoric or seeing a car fire of a beer getting eviscerated, Malty Romans ripped to shreds by yeasty lions.
Yeasty lions is the name of my new protopunk group.
The problem with most Hill Farmstead beers is that they generally are either setting the bar to some degree or competing against their own product, so how in the fuck is DDB expected to make a 900 word handjob entertaining for the nondeviants to witness? It is just a parade of praise with some jRPG and hip hop references, then we call it a day.
This would be the greatest issue that I have with Art: it is too fucking good to extract a legitimate degree of humor. I would much rather just rip on one of the “shittier” Hill Farmstead beers like a sour pumpkin ale or the Jim line, but alas, I guess I finally have to review this masterpiece. Lamentably.
Here is the wind up to the pitch:
“Art is the wine barrel fermented and aged version of Arthur (1922-2005), our grandfather’s youngest brother as well as the name of our rustic farmstead ale. In honor of Arthur, we mindfully blend his namesake beer from French oak wine barrels that have been aged and conditioned for between 1 and 3 years. This is the standard that reflects, redefines and guides the progressive vision for Hill Farmstead.”
Just look at this shit. How am I supposed to do my job and maintain the tart ph salinity of my vagina, when it looks flawless. I guess I could bitch that a more diverse grist bill with spelt would combat the acidity and improve the sheeting and lacing. But does anyone think that’s a legitimate complaint? Fuck no, it’s just some domineering korean housewife nagging.
The smell? I don’t have a whole lot to deconstruct on this front either. It makes for a shitty boring review, inverse to the quality of the beer itself. In fact, the smell is the only thing that Ann does better than Art. The average shitwaffle strokes it to pinups of that lottery masterpiece, fully ignoring the fact that Art is better in several aspects if not as a whole. The nose has waves of cut clementines, nectarines, honeydew, ritz cracker, and ricotta cheese. It is unendingly refreshing like having cyber sex with a water sprite.
I first opened this beer at Beer Revolution in Oakland in 2012, when American Saisons were still enjoying this nascent blissful anonymity before covetous assholes ruined everything. The comments were like “oh so it’s a sour then? No? Is it like a Russian River then? Hmm. Weird.” People couldn’t wrap their heads around this because there weren’t many barrel aged saisons, let alone executed in this fashion. Now everything is in ruins.
The smell has a much imitated balance of tropical fruity zest with acidity that strays far from the edge of tolerability. It is incredible and a beer that uproots itself due to how good it is. The consumption is an event and in itself is destruction. The experience is a discrete event that actually makes your net life experience worse having had something this well done. For that reason it is hard to recommend seeking this out with a clear conscience. You can’t go back to watching Tyler Perry movies after you have seen Michael Haneke’s best films.
The taste is dry, not nearly as dry as E. but not nearly as honey sweet as Ann. The Aristotelian mean that is better than both of those beers simply due to this swiss army knife profile that delives depth, cleanliness, complexity, and refreshment. Usually the acidity would work against drinkability, or the dryness of the barrel treatment would be oppositional to any malty sweetness. Somehow all divergent horses and reigned in by Helios on this golden farmhouse chariot. There’s lemon zest and wheatgrass, gruyere and croissant, with a lighly herbal fernet branca grassiness to the closer. What am I seriously supposed to say about this shit?
As a caveat to undermine all of the foregoing: regular ass Arthur is like 85% as good and about 2000% easier to obtain. Unless you are a completionist asshole who needs 100% trophies in the beer game, or some Minnesota Dentist who wants to buy a palace on top of HUGE PRICK MOUNTAIN, there’s no reason for you to seek out this beer. Arthur is already so damn good and the improvements on this are akin to those absurd R TYPE models of already fast enough cars where they gut the AC and roll cage it and supercharge it to absurd heights.
Drink Arthur, or seek this out after you finally patent that dual sided Hitachi/Fleshlight marriage saving apparatus you have been working on.
Scanning the channels of a HAM radio was a tedious task usually relegated to the loneliest of shut-ins. RF frequencies rarely led to any juicy pearls of wisdom and further served to alienate the participants frittering away their lives in leaky garages around the nation. Nathan Spaulding sipped on a cup of assiduously prepared Earl Grey and listened to the white noise cascading through time and space. Each clipped frequency was an extension for contact, a passing analog glance from a stranger. In a world replete with bodies, Nathan sipped his herbal embrace and never felt more alone. “PPSSHSHS- can anyone, please, PLEASE!” the radio hissed, echoing against the wall of the garage door. Nathan frantically gripped the receiver “Yes, this is Phantom Tangelo!” the UHF/VHF transmitter shaking in his palm. “I don’t have time to explain PSSHSHHH I am Warren Dupont, I am a produce shipping magnate who was overseeing a tangerine GMO operation to increase- JESUS JUST LISTEN, the strain is…its…are you there?” “”YES!” Nathan stammered sipping his tea, “PHANTOM TANGELO here, please continue!”
That evening Warren gave the coordinates of the most potent strain of farm grown tangerines ever designed, dizzying in yields and fruit latency. It would take weeks of scouring, but Nathan would ultimately find the ultimate treasure, the pinnacle of farm-based desires. Months later, hunched over the Platonic ideal of citrus, gripping the flawless rind delicately, he would contemplate whether science had gone too far.