I have wanted to try Vermont's Hill Farmstead beers since reading about them on the Kaedrin Beer Blog, and subsequently, in other publications. This small brewery is uber hip, and its limited distribution feeds the buzz. I had never seen one of Hill Farmstead's beers here in Southern California until a few weeks ago, when I saw - and immediately bought - a Hill Farmstead collaboration beer, La Vermontoise. It's a saison brewed with Belgium's Brasserie De Blaugies.
La Vermontoise was a spicy, yeast-forward beer, with a marked dryness. The Amarillo hops imparted a gentle bitterness through the long finish. This was a drinkable, approachable beer. A safe beer. It was straightforward in its construction, and didn't pull any flavor twists. I noted that I felt it a serious beer despite its straitlaced approach to the saison style.
I liked La Vermontoise. Saison is a style open to liberal interpretation and variation, and I appreciated La Vermontoise's traditional take on the style. Initially, with Hill Farmstead's trendy reputation, I was expecting an edgier beer, but its edginess was its traditionalism. It is easier to find a beer's flaws when a brewer adheres to a strict style script than when playing loose and pushing boundaries, and I didn't notice any mistakes in La Vermontoise. Once I realized La Vermontoise's was a formal saison, I was able to enjoy it for its excellent construction, and most importantly, excellent flavor. I'd like to try more Hill Farmstead beers, in particular ones that helped create its trendy reputation.