WHEN SHAUN HILL finds a beer he’d like to brew forever it becomes an Ancestor. Lucky that he has so many forebears, since his Vermont-based microbrewery has been virtually unstoppable since its launch in 2010. Approximately 100 recipes later, and not a dud among them, Hill Farmstead is rightly regarded as one of the nation’s most promising new breweries.
Saisons appear to be his favorite style (a dozen-plus currently in rotation) and Arthur is only one of several produced for the Ancestral series. It’s also the most straightforward, featuring no grain or flavor adjuncts, and a middling ABV of 6%. Any Saison fan will know, though, that farmhouse yeasts are capable of striking aromatics and flavors all their own and Hill Farmstead’s are no exception.
Arthur (1922-2005) looks phenomenal for his age—bright pale gold with a beautiful froth head, giving off a lightly tart and lactic bouquet. Early flavor impressions are of mint and a little candy, followed by a tightrope walk between barnyard or hay must (some brett also on hand?) and a highly refreshing spark of lemon and peach. The beer’s carbonation is strong but not aggressive, containing a little pepperiness and bit of phenol warmth that is assuaged by a bit of vanilla and yeast in the dry finish. Altogether, Arthur touches confidently and clearly on many Saison qualities without cluttering or confusing them. Its namesake should be proud.
Served: 750 ml bottle