The brewery set atop a farm located in Vermont has been in head brewer, Sean Hill’s, family for several generations. The beer I am discussing today from said brewery, is Flora with blueberries, black currants and raspberries. The base beer, Flora, has been released seven times to date, along with Flora there have been over 10 iterations of the base beer with various fruits.

According to Hill Farmstead, Flora is the wine barrel-aged version of Florence; a wheat farmstead ale, and the name of Hill’s grandfather’s sister. This particular one was aged on hand-picked blueberries, black currents and raspberries from Greensboro and East Hardwick before being bottled. The first version of this beer was released in December of 2015, this batch was released January of 2017.

It pours a deep purple, almost looking like grape juice. The carbonation was light and didn’t last very long in the glass.

I take a deep inhale and smell a myriad of aromas, there is a pronounced tart/sour smell with a light berry aroma, heavy wheat, and a lot of earthiness on back end. I can’t put my finger on it if this is from the grain or from the barrel. Those are the good characteristics, but some of the not so good were smells of menthol or Vicks vapor rub. I am not sure where this comes from, but it’s there. My only guess would be a very strong herblike aroma from the black currants.

My first sip of this beer was very light on the palate, the smell of the earthiness shines through and there is a good amount on the palate as well. Earthy. Flora With Blueberries, Black Currants and Raspberries is sour, but not overly so, I taste predominantly raspberry out of the berries. There are very strong floral and herb flavors, almost medicinal in a way, but not in a negative Robitussin way, more like bitters you would use for a cocktail.

Hill Farmstead Flora With Blueberries, Black Currants and Raspberries (2017)
BREWERY: Hill Farmstead Brewery
LOCATION: Greensboro Bend, Vt.
STYLE: Wheat Farmhouse Ale
ABV: 5 percent
IBU: n/a
PRICE: $20
RELEASE DATE: January 2017
AVAILABLE IN: 375ml bottles
Overall the beer is good, but my expectations of a barrel-aged offering coming from Hill Farmstead are very high, and this fell below my expectations. That’s not to say it wasn’t good, but I feel it was far from great. Flora BBR was thin, almost tasting watered down, like they were so hesitant for any one flavor to dominate that they held back too much on the additions, but enough to where the base beer didn’t really shine through. The off/medicinal flavor was just not working for me either. It masked a lot of the fruit and did not work well in this beer. I wouldn’t turn this beer down if offered, but will not be rushing out to get another one. I wouldn’t call this a swing and a miss, but more a foul tip, which even that designation is rare for a brewery as good as Hill Farmstead.
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