Tagged: Vermont

Review: Hill Farmstead Brewery | Vera Mae

Photo cred: Some dude's porch (HMU)

Photo cred: Some dude’s porch (HMU)

Toiling beneath the unforgiving sun, we languished in the fields. Not a damned one of us would dare ask for reprieve, complain, or even ask how long until the day was done. Bound to the soil, we picked until our fingertips became as numb as the earth below us. Stained and embarrassed, we hunched in our anonymity until we were addressed, accordingly.

Luckily, I was pretty much ignored, like that kid in phys. ed. who wanders around in the field grasping at his crotch like a safety blanket, hoping not to be found, while coach skirts by with a ‘participation’ grade as not to upset the parents…

We thankless souls picked
Every
Fucking
Last
Dandelion
In
That
Fucking
Field
That
Day
Lord, my thighs were confessing the next morning.
50 Hail Maries did they pray, you bitch!
–sorry.
Toil did we do, though, every last one of us.
Picking the yellow stuff, all hoped not to get whipped.
–but if Shaun Hill whipped any of us,
It’d probably turn into some sort of masochistic orgy
Moreover, God knows NO work would have gotten done.
Thank God for Søren Kierkegaard and the virtue of a limp dick.

Anyway,

Vera Mae has a special place in my plaque-encrusted heart. 2013 seems long ago, but I can recall that day every time I release the cap from this beer.

I remember how much Mr. Hill talked about himself.
I remember how much we 10 of us didn’t pick that day. Four or five large trash bags, and we still didn’t bring in quite enough.
The disappointment of father in son.
I told you, brain surgeon, not plastic surgeon!

—But I didn’t care
Hands caked in vermilion, windows down, the wind rushed through as I broke my own.
“I feel like Justin Vernon,” I mumbled, half-drunkenly to Derek in the driver’s seat.
He laughed obligingly.

I couldn’t squat for the next week.

It’s a beautiful, yet constipated time of the year.

The harvest is yet upon us, and no clearer is that for me than with the release of Hill Farmstead’s Vera Mae.

A rustic saison, brewed with dandelion, Vera Mae is an instant late summer classic.

Every time I pry off its cap, I remember what a little bitch I was that day. Every time I gaze upon its lemonade-yellow hue, I remember complaining about how hot it was.
Opaque.
Fizzy, frothy white head.
Away from the light, hints of gold and orange curve around the edges. Exposed to the light, slight chartreuse emerges on the surface. Hazy as fuck, bright and beautiful, I remember taking intermittent breaks while everyone else picked along.

Every time I inhale and am greeted by that floral and oak character, I remember that one guy who wouldn ‘t shut the fuck up about how much he appreciated previous vintages and other collaborative works with other well-established breweries and—oh yeah—how they’re all just great, too.
Honey and beeswax.
Slightly phenolic.
Light funk.
Lemon.
Slightly saline.
Lactic character.

Every time I taste that lemon-like acidity, I remember that attractive, somewhat older woman with the dope dog, and I get distracted; I was distracted then, too. I didn’t do much work. Long and lean, she had a somewhat regal character about her. I like to think that Shaun Hill’s late, great-aunt—the name sake for this saison—was like this too. However, I don’t want to give the impression that I have the hots for one of Mr. Hill’s ancestors. I don’t. You know what I mean.
You can’t misconstrue that.
I mean, like, regal like a Rolls Royce. You wouldn’t fuck a Rolls Royce, would you? I mean, you wouldn’t actually have sex with a car, right?
Do you know what I mean?
…Seriously, I mean no disrespect. I’m sure Vera Mae was a really beautiful woman, and I’m sure her husband was really glad to have all that, and shit – Not that the rest of Mr. Hill’s relatives weren’t likely beautiful in their own way. I mean, I don’t want to show any preference here.
Shaun’s a good lookin’ guy. I’m not physically attracted to him. No, not like that.
He’s not a car. I’m sure he’s doing fine. Lactobacillus* character bursts forth in the middle of the mouth. Strangely, a drier, saltier, lemon-lime Gatorade comes to mind here, as well. Then comes the oak. In a bizarre way, I a lemon sherbet or some sort of lemon frozen yogurt. Bitterness from the dandelion comes out towards the end with a strong herbal, earthy, green, vegetal kick. Some fruity esters follow, ending with that classic coconut character that comes from lactobacillus.

Ahem—

Mouthfeel has medium to strong acids, a yeast bite, drying astringency and a tart, clean finish.

It’s not a sex thing.

Seriously

*9.2 out of 10*
*A lactic acid bacteria (as is capable of converting lactose into lactic acid), particularly harmless to humans, used to intentionally sour ales. Mostly of the L. Casei or L. Brevis varieties. Hey, fun fact: Lactobacilli are also found predominantly in intestines and vaginas. Bottoms up!

Review: Rock Art Brewery | Vermont Spruce Stout

Photo Cred: vtbeer.org

Photo Cred: vtbeer.org

 

T here is a McDonald’s off the main drag that is within walking distance from my apartment. It’s the piec e of shit sprayed over with glitter and given a fancy bow and WIFI. The tables there still stand as tall as I did when I bashed my skull against that one in the corner by the window covered in pigeon shit a nd hot picante sauce that could never quite be scraped off after the breakfast burrito incident. I’m f amily there. The otherwise despondent night manager slips a McNugget in my fries, every time. Strang ely, she never returns my calls. I spend my leisurely evenings confused, drenched in sweat, bitter, po ssessed by an atavistic sense of primal ennui—call it bloodlust, call it drunkenness—standing in line at 1 am behind that family.

“I want that McDouble with heavy, heavy, heavy, heavy, heavy, heavy, heavy, heavy, heavy, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, (I begin to contemplate my life’s meaning, here) HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, (nearly uncontrollable) HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, (slowly dying, inconsolable) HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY onions

McDonalds
However, every time, I leave satisfied, detached from the human race, blissfully careening into the black of the night, into the emptiness of mind, emptiness of soul. The cold consumes me and I am enveloped in a thick, numbing paste of nihilistic bliss.

I’m back in my kitchen, covered in ketchup. I’m scared and alone

Where is my promised land?

I ate a box of Crayola for this?

That’s Morrisville, Vermont’s Rock Art Brewery for you.
A reward for the trip there.
Cheap, obliging, friendly, folksy, accommodating.
Mildly unsatisfying, but it’ll get the job done.
Trying so hard to make two and two make three. Their late fall/early winter/who gives a fuck release, Vermont Spruce Stout, is an imperial stout… brewed with Spruce… in Vermont.

God, who cares?

Look, it’s a dark beer brewed with pumpkins, spruce tips, and it comes out once a year.
It’s a weird fucking beer.

It pairs well with Filet O’Fish with a heaping pile of shame and a large fry, personal resentment, feelings of inferiority, white, liberal guilt, and sharp cheddar cheese.

No one cares what the beer tastes like.

I’m covered in grease, sprawled naked on the couch, sobbing.
Somehow, I got tartar sauce on my back
MY BACK

 

MY GODDAMNED BACK

The beauty of fall is fading,
Death ensues for every living creature
I ate that one

fry

off

the floor

Pitch

black
A creamy, khaki colored, receding head,
A slight hint of mint, sweet caramelized sugar, roasted malt, and dark fruit
A strange flavor akin to grape pop rocks—I blame it on the spruce. It barely brushes the tongue before fading into the taste of pine and Christmas.
Full bodied from the pumpkin, I’m sure.
Heavy chocolate flavor
Yet dry
I dig it.

I dig it like a night of defeat coupled with a Quarter Pounder, no cheese, medium fry, sweet and sour on the side.

Thank God I’m not into Sudoku.

That’s my one solace.

*7.8 out of 10*

Review: The Alchemist | Focal Banger

Photo credt: the Alchemist, alchemistbeer.com

Photo credt: the Alchemist, alchemistbeer.com

OH MY FUCKING GOD
I’M JUST WAITING IN LINE TALKING ABOUT ALL THE BEERS I’VE DRANK
EACH ONE WAS BETTER THAN THE NEXT
EACH ONE WAS SO FUCKING MORE RARER THAN THE OTHER FUCKING ONE
EACH BEER WAS SO MUCH MORE BEER THAN PRECEDING BEER
INTRINSICALLY, BEER OF THIS CALIBER COULDN’T BE MORE BEER
OH, WHAT CENTENNIAL HOPS? CASCADE? COLUMBUS?
NO YOU FUCKING CRIMINAL
CITRA
AND
MOSAIC
YOU
DUMB BITCH
HOW CAN YOU DRINK BEER WITH YOUR COMPLETE
FUCKING
LACK
OF
KNOWLEDGE
I KNOW ALL ABOUT BEER
NOBODY DRINKS BETTER BEER THAN ME
I’VE WAITED ALL FUCKING DAY IN THIS GODDAMNED LINE
I’VE BEEN INSTAGRAMMING THE FUCKING CLOUDS
I’M IN THE RAIN
IT’S FUCKING VERMONT
LOOK AT THE GODDAMNED MOUNTAINS
I BROUGHT A TENT
MY FIANCE LOVES BEER
MY FIANCE IS BEER
I MUST RAKE IN A FUCKING FORTUNE TO BUY ALL THE BEER I BUY
LET ME TALK TO YOU ABOUT ALL THE BEER I JUST DRANK
OH YEAH, LAST BATCH OF FOCAL BANGER WAS SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH BETTER THAN THIS PIECE A SHIT
THIS SUCKS
IT DOESN’T TASTE JUST LIKE THE OTHER BATCH
BUT ITS MORE LIKE THE PREVIOUS BATCH IF IT WERE A COMPLETE REITERATION, IMITATING ITSELF, MIRRORED AND DISSECTED, A POSTULATION OF A SIMILAR SEMBLANCE, BUT TOTALLY SEPARATE
YOU KNOW WHAT I’M SAYING? IT’S KINDA THE SAME FUCKING THING BUT DEFINITELY DIFFERENT. LIKE EVERYTHING SUCKS NOW, MOSTLY BECAUSE YOU DIDN’T HAVE THE SAME BEER I HAD WHEN I HAD IT. SO I’M SORT OF BETTER THAN YOU
LIKE IT HAD A
WYTE HEAD
AND
FUCKN
SPARSE LACING
DAMN
LIKE SO CLOUDY
GOLDEN, YELLOW, ORANGE, YELLOW
SO GORGIS
BITCH
CREAMSICLES
PINE
PINEABBLS
MANGOES
FLOWERS
FLOWERS
FLOWERS
FLOWERS
HONEY
MANGOS
CARMLES
ITIALIAN SOURDOES
SOOOOO HOPPS
MALT KINDA
BBEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEER
FEELS GREAT BETTER THAN YOU, BETTER THAN BEER
YOU SUCK,
I’M THE BEST AT DRINKING BEER
BUYING BEER IS SO FUN
I CAN WAIT IN LINE LONGER THAN YOU
I’M GONNA LVIE FORECDVRE
WATERBURY
FCKN
VERMONT
FUCKN
BEER
VFNFNA
FDMASNDFKADSFKKADSFNMAS DFLASDF
ASDNFKNADSKLFKLADS AS
DFASDFLKASDFKLA SDF
ADSFNASKLDFKLASDKFANSDF ASDKFNASDFKJNASKDFASD
ANSDFLAF]A
DFASDFADSFNASDF AWEJANEKNGKRAJNFLE;LAN F AKLAEMRKELRNA EWRNANER AEWRLKAER AWERNALERKLADSFADSMLASD’[FNASFADSFADFADSFASDFASDJNGOJ RBGARLFNORNOINKRNASDLFKJMPVNLAPFDALDSF

KL;SAD;L

 

*10 out of 10*

Review: 14th Star Brewing Co. | 1493 Pale Ale

Scurvy is a disease resulting from a deficiency of vitamin C, which is required for the synthesis of collagen in humans. [It] often presents itself initially as symptoms of malaise and lethargy, followed by formation of spots on the skin, spongy gums, and bleeding from the mucous membranes. Spots are most abundant on the thighs and legs, and a person with the ailment looks pale, feels depressed, and is partially immobilized. As scurvy advances, there can be open, suppurating wounds, loss of teeth, jaundice, fever, neuropathy and death.[1]

DOES THIS SOUND LIKE YOU?
ARE YOU PRONE TO GOING ON LONG TRIPS OUT TO SEA WITH LITTLE TO NO SENSIBLE FOOD RATIONS?

ARE YOU INTO EXPLORING UNCHARTED TERRITORIES?

HAVE YOU HAD NO HUMAN INTERACTION WITHIN THE PAST 6-8 MONTHS?

WHAT ARE YOU DOING FRIDAY NIGHT?

…If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, I’m a little

confused

and strangely

turned on,

but have I a solution:

Drink this beer.

1493 is not only a year popularized by journalist Charles Mann, but is also one of 14th Star Brewing’s original beers. It’s an American Pale Ale brewed with an annoying amount of citrus fruits. It’s got grapefruit; it’s got orange; hell, it’s got lemon. If the title of the beer weren’t cheeky enough, it’s brewed with the uniquely European component, coriander, and wait for it—Columbus hops.

                Oh God,

                Oh God,

                Oh Crap,

                Oh God,

                Is that a hernia?

                Nope, no, no—that’s just a massive eye roll.

                Ok, so it’s got a fun, quirky name, but the brilliant thing about this beer is that its creator, head brewer and army vet Steve Gagner, was literally inspired to make this beer while watching an episode of The Big Bang Theory.[2]

What?

 

                I can see it now, underwear, Cheetos, late night beer craving. It’s gold, it’s magical.

                IT’S FUCKING AMERICA.

                Like the peaceable good tidings of the Europeans, this beer boasts promise a rich bouquet of pine, honey and orange zest; its aroma, luxurious. It offers, however, a small pox blanket of awkward dryness that I assume is from the coriander—it has a sort of odd spicy quality to it. Then comes a wave of grapefruit, ending with an ambiguous bitterness.

                Columbian Exchange is a bitch.

Hmm… Well,

maybe it’s not so bad.

                Maybe, like a fine display of cultural diffusion, my tastes have assimilated (?)

to the….

fantastic fantasy… of blahdeeblahdeeblah.

                OK, so, cut the pseudo-intellectual bullshit and get real.

                14th Star is a nascent brew project and this was one of their oldest recipes. Really, it’s quite good. It’s not perfect—it’s got a quirkiness that challenges convention. Their beers are quite distinct—most definitely unlike most I’ve had. There’s a uncanny salinity and subtle bitterness to each sip akin to the taste left in your mouth when one of your attractive friends wonders why you’re single, because “OH, you are such a catch!” Bah!

                So basically, this beer turns you into Duckie from Pretty In Pink, then?

                Nah, nah, fuck that.

I don’t know, the more I drink it, the more I can appreciate it. It has this strange astringency remarkably reminiscent of a good gin. While it’s not something I typically look for in a pale ale, it’s definitely not something that ruins or even defies the style, really. It’s very drinkable. It doesn’t have a sluggish, filling effect that some more carbonated pale ales can have, and I appreciate that.

Hey, it’s from a modest nano-brewery based in Vermont and, as a Vermonter, I salute this endeavor. Does it sway my opinion of the beer?

Probably—

but

I’m willing to admit it could be a tad sweeter in a way that the coriander could balance out the flavor. I’m willing to admit it could even be hoppier. Nevertheless, It is, in fact, a thoroughly enjoyable and original beer that’s audacious enough to keep me interest in what this St. Albans based brewery is going to do next.

*7.8 out of 10*

[1] Wikipedia, a valuable and reputable source for every and all things. Fuck you.