Unlike my typical style, I didn’t take any photos of this year’s Flora when reviewing it but here is a photo of Flora resting safely @ home in my locked cabinet. I usually like to take photos of beers and review them after they’ve sat upright for a few weeks allowing the beer to have complete clarity from all yeast (i.e This HF Ann Photo). I chill the beer for a few days then pour it all at once into 2 glasses. These make the best photos but my friend wanted to open her Flora up this weekend so I gladly enjoyed a glass of hers. Not a pretty pour but the beer was phenomenal.
How Flora blend 4, 5 and 6 differ? Well there are subtle differences but not big ones. Blend 5 continues to be my favorite and I’ll for sure enjoy another one soon (my last one). It had this ultra-clean sourdough yeast with a lot of citrus, tons of wine notes and a great mix of a wheat saison and wild yeast. It was absolutely perfect. Flora Blend 6 is terrific out of the gate but it’s not very ‘sour’ yet and I use that term very carefully because ultra-sour beers aren’t my thing. I’ve hated almost every beer from Rare Barrel and I’m afraid to trade for beers from breweries that have a wild ale and I haven’t had one of their other sours yet. It could be so sour that I pour it out (like what I did with Sante Appreciation B1 and countless other ‘rare’ beers).
Flora Blend 6 is more close to Florence than it is to the Flora that we know right now. And that to me is a great thing because Florence is an incredible wheat saison. Flora in 6 months to a year is going to be amazing I am certain of it.
What about the other BA Hill Farmstead beers? First of all, I really need to open an E. very soon and maybe a Sue in 2-3 months but I imagine they’re both doing well and will continue to evolve for the next 12 months. Sarrasin is as great as it was at release and continues to improve. Best beer of 2014, I guarantee it. CD#10 was very good at release and I’m hoping for great things as time goes. Art B3 incredible. My favorite Hill Farmstead beer by a mile. Norma 2012 and 2013 vintages are both doing great right now. I could imagine keeping Norma for 3 years after release with no ill effects to the quality of that beer. Obviously, if you have any of these let them sit upright for 6 weeks in the fridge and enjoy them carefully poured in crystal stemware split with 2 other friends MAX for optimum enjoyment. I only horde these beers because I go to HF a lot to buy growlers and grab bottles also available I buy more than I can drink ASAP which is good for you, dear reader because I take the risk of keeping these too long.
There are some variations in each of the standard saison Foudre batches this year but I’d say consistently that Hill Farmstead’s 2014 Case-Limit Saison-fest™ has been fantastic for locals and to those who mule HF beers for people. Something I didn’t think could happen certainly did in which all summer I maxed out the case-limit Hill Farmstead saisons and then last month I realized that I had over 90 bottles of just saisons (Arthur, Clara, Florence, Nordic, Convivial, Anna, Soigné) all sitting on 2 shelves and now when a new batch of these is released, I’m only buying 4-6 bottles because honestly I have a 9 month backlog of HF saisons sitting in my basement. Obviously, these all do well over the next year and get better but I can’t buy as many as they offer now. I never thought I’d see the day where Hill Farmstead was brewing more beer than I could drink but they are. I’m drinking 3-5 Hill Farmstead saisons a week and my life is much simpler although I’m sure some friends are thinking I’m a fanboy but I protest 🙂
Maybe this one got off on a tangent but I have 2 more things to mention.
First, I’m really bummed about the lack of dark bottled beer releases from Shaun lately. I’m sure there are good reasons but I sorely miss Twilight of the Idols, Everett, Damon, Birth of Tragedy, Madness & Civilization, etc throughout the winter months. I look forward to those eventually making a return and it looks like Spring will be it. Of course Spring means the potential for even more beer coming out of HF so I might just have to stop buying beer from any place else to make room for the amazing list of beers coming out next year. What is certain though, when their dark beers start hitting in the Spring, there are going to be a lot of them hitting fast so without any insider knowledge, I’d recommend keeping March – June pretty wide-open if you’re into Shaun’s dark beers. Case limit Everett? I can hope!
Also I thought it was worth mentioning again that Flora isn’t a batch, it’s a blend so if you’re talking about Flora online (not advised because we don’t want too many people buying it) it’s Blend 5 & Blend 6, not batches.
Oh and one more thing, I’m going to be doing a tasting this Summer. I’ll be announcing it here on the blog first and people who read this blog that can make it to Northern New Hampshire for a big beer tasting, you won’t be disappointed so keep an eye out for that. Two months ago, I set out to do a Hill Farmstead tasting around their Magnum (1.5L) releases and I wanted to put together 12 Magnums and have 12 people come so that’s only 2, 750s a person of pretty middle-of the road ABV beers. People could camp out in my back yard and we’d have a fire and BBQ some meat and it would be a good time. Well, after that goal was set in motion I now have 13 magnums from HFS and given how many beers are being released between now and June, it’s possible I’ll have 20 of these by then. I’m not sure yet how this will be organized but I’d really like 1 person per magnum and people bring their own food and an extra special bottle to share (can be 750ML). Either way, I’ll announce it here first so people who read this blog can RSVP then to my local beer meetup group then to some trading partners. Keep an eye out for that post.
This blog post turned out a bit longer than I expected but thanks for dropping in and checking things out.