After stopping briefly in the morning at The Alchemist in Stowe, Chris & I headed for Vermont’s best reputed brewery Hill Farmstead. I know a few people who had been there, and read plenty of articles and blog posts, and the universal theme was “It’s in the middle of nowhere, but it’s totally worth the effort.”
Those sentiments nail it perfectly.
A close friend, esteemed travel blogger and my ‘beer brother’ Red Hunt had echoed the ‘middle of nowhere’ theme, but also added that the drive was so beautiful, that it alone was worth the trip. The fact that there was world-class beer at the end of the trip just made it all that much more satisfying.
Brewmaster Shaun Hill founded Hill Farmstead in this remote location, outside the tiny hamlet of Greensboro Bend, Vermont, on a farm that had been in his family for over 200 years. Hill founded the brewery with the idea of brewing great beer, but also doing it in a self-sustaining way in this beautiful environment. The brewery just recently more than double it’s capacity, but still does not distribute outside of Vermont. Hill also does not bottle any of his IPAs, believing they should be consumed fresh. So people travel hundreds of miles to get their growler fills. There are bottles available for on-site consumption as well as take away, but never IPAs. All of their beers are sought after, but the sour beers brewed by Hill have special cache. Unfortunately for Chris & I, there were no sours available on our visit.
First order of business when visiting Hill Farmstead is to acquire your beer. For us, this meant getting in line for our growler fills. They will outside growlers, but they must be very clean. The beers available for growler fills are announced on their website, and are also projected onto the wall in the ‘taproom’ itself. It’s not your classic taproom- it’s a growler fill station first and foremost, but unlike The Alchemist, they do allow you to enjoy a couple of full pours on premises. They also have some special bottles of their own, as well as selected special guest bottles available to consume on-site. Our second stop was an adjacent building where we bought our bottles and brewery swag.
There is no restaurant at Hill Farmstead, but they often bring in food trucks for the larger weekend crowds. We were lucky to have a beautiful day weather-wise, and we sat out on the gazebo and enjoyed our beer while soaking in views of the Green Mountains.
Hill Farmstead consistently wins Vermont’s ‘Brewery of the Year’ and was named as the Best Brewery in the World for 2015 by the website Ratebeer.com. For us, the experience was an incredibly satisfying one. We had a couple of good beers in a beautiful setting, and were able to bring back a bunch of growlers to share with friends while fresh (less than a week later). It’s certainly worth the trip anytime of the year.
(Thanks to Chris for the use of 5 of the pictures in this post)