Brewery Name: Hill Farmstead Brewery
Type of Brewery: Retail Brewery
Location: 403 Hill Road, Greensboro, VT 05842. It definitely isn’t easy to get to, but it's well worth the drive into the gorgeous mountains of Vermont.
Facebook: Hill Farmstead Brewery
Background: I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you about Hill Farmstead. The brewery has been consistently ranked among not just the best in New England, not just the best in America, but the best in the world. Hill Farmstead’s beers are among the most sought-after on earth, and, while I had been able to try a few of them before, I was very curious to see the brewery itself. Hill Farmstead has worked hard to make their space a must-visit destination for beer lovers.
Growlers: Yes. Hill Farmstead fills multiple growler sizes, although there are some restrictions. They provide a full rundown here on their website, so double-check to make sure you've got the right size with you!
The Beers: Between taps and bottles, Hill Farmstead had a wide variety of beers available for purchase. One of the nice things about the Hill Farmstead brewing space is that they can sell full pours on the premises. I tried quite a few beers both while I was there and when I returned home.
Vibe: What can you say about Hill Farmstead that hasn’t already been said? A lot, it turns out. I made the trip to the brewery with very little idea of what to expect. I’ve had my share of Hill Farmstead beers on tap around Vermont, but the brewery itself was a mystery to me. It’s not as accessible as a city brewery like Trillium or Other Half. Hell, it’s not even as accessible as Tree House, which is famously in the middle of nowhere. Hill Farmstead of like a magical land in the north that many have spoken of but few have visited.
Alright, that’s not quite true. Many have made the trek to Hill Farmstead, and do so on a regular basis. If there’s one thing that has become clear about the craft beer community, it’s that people are willing to travel very, very far for the best beer in the world. And Hill Farmstead absolutely has a reputation for producing some of the best beer in the world. I visited the brewery in the mid-afternoon, well after the initial rush had cleared out, and there was still a huge number of people standing around waiting for bottles or pours.
The people at Hill Farmstead were incredibly friendly, both employees and patrons. I had some nice conversations both with people raving about Hill Farmstead’s beer (and bragging about how far they traveled for it) and the employees who genuinely seem to love where they work.
The property itself...wow. I’m a writer by trade, and I don’t even think I can do it justice with words. Hill Farmstead sits on a beautiful, lush, well-maintained plot of land nestled on a gorgeous little hilltop. The brewery and serving area is a rustic-looking all-wood building with a deck overlooking the property where patrons can hang out and sip a beer or two.
And let’s not overlook how important serving beer is to the vibe of a place--and full pints, at that. At Hill Farmstead, you can buy bottles, yes, and you can fill growlers, sure, but you can also grab a full pour of a wide selection of their beers. With separate lines for all three options, you won’t have to stand in line for too long (depending on when you arrive, of course). Unlike some breweries, there is actually a fair amount of variation between what you can buy in bottles, growlers, and drafts, so if you want to maximize the number of different beers you can try, you’ll want to mix it up while you’re there.
Dogs: Dogs are welcome outside, but don’t bring them inside.
Price ($ to $$$$$): $$$$. It’s hard to give a firm rating for Hill Farmstead because they definitely vary. Bottles range from the $6 or $7 range all the way up to $20+ for rare beers and barrel-aged stouts. I got a bottle of everything they were selling that day as well as a couple of growler pours and pints, and probably wound up spending in the realm of $150.
One of the great things about Hill Farmstead is that they rarely impose bottle limits. If you want a case of one of their beers, you can buy a case of that beer (there are exceptions, but the limits are usually reserved for their more expensive bottles, which, hey, how much money do you really need to spend in one day anyway?). You could drive up, have a pint, and spend almost no money at all, or you could go absolutely crazy and easily drop several hundred dollars. Hill Farmstead gives you options, and that’s something you’ve got to love.
Food: Nothing inside the brewery other than snacks, but there was a food truck outside when I visited and I would guess that you’ll find one there most days.
Final Thoughts: I can’t say enough good things about Hill Farmstead. And I can’t wait to make a return trip. I’ve never had a bad or even sub-par beer from Hill Farmstead, and I’ve had more than a few beers that seemed to redefine a style. In particular, I look forward to seeing how their Madness & Civilization and Society & Solitude beers continue to develop.
It’s hard to say anything more. This is usually where I would say “I expect great things from [BREWERY] in the future,” but Hill Farmstead is already at the mountaintop. Anything more they do just goes above and beyond.
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