Located in the relatively remote town of Greensboro, Vt., Hill Farmstead Brewery is one of those breweries that just about anyone who drinks craft beer for any length of time knows about, but that relatively few have actually visited.
Originally founded in 2010 by Shaun Hill,1 the brewery sits on land his family has owned for generations. In fact, quite a few of the beers are named after relatives of his that have long since passed away.2
Beyond Good and Evil is a release in Hill Farmstead’s Philosophical Series, which also includes such beers as Birth Of Tragedy, a slew of different Civil Disobediences, Conduct Of Life, Excursions, Genealogy Of Morals and Madness & Civilization, among others. The imperial “sweet stout” is brewed with “a touch” of Vermont maple syrup before being aged in bourbon barrels for over 18 months. It has been released on twice: for the first time in May 2012 and again in April 2014, both in 375ml bottles.
Hill Farmstead has this to say about the name of the beer:
Beyond Good and Evil is one of Nietzsche’s most powerful works, challenging conventional wisdom and urging us transcend good and evil while confronting the very nature of knowledge. This challenge both informs and inspires our work.
Beyond Good and Evil pours a tar black and features a very small brown tinged head that disappears quite quickly, leaving just the ghost of a lacing behind. There is some slight carbonation visible, and aroma from the top of the glass is a combination of strong, sweet maple, bread, bourbon and popcorn, along with a touch of oak.
The first sip of Hill Farmstead’s Beyond Good and Evil brings intense flavors of the same sweet maple from the aroma, as well as raisins, marshmallows, roasted coffee beans, coconut water and burnt oak. The sweetness is actually a combination of dominant maple with some vanilla thrown in, and is very evident in every sip, almost—but not quite—cloying. The mouthfeel is creamy and viscous. There is a slight underlying hoppy bitterness on the palate that I find to be quite harmonious to the overall profile. The finish is clean and crisp, and includes an interesting floral note that comes and goes: sometimes quite strong, other times almost non-existent. The carbonation is light from the start, but it suits this beer quite well in that regard.
As it warms, the maple sweetness is kicked up a notch—although I did not think it was possible—as is the hoppy bitterness, making for an interesting combination. The carbonation starts to fade out, and the mouthfeel is a bit more thin, becoming almost slick on the tongue.