Hill Farmstead Edith Black Saison

The last beer of that night was this gem. I haven’t had a chance to try anything from this brewery, so when I got a chance to try a glass of this, how could I refuse? Also of note, is that I haven’t had a “black saison” that I’ve ever really enjoyed, so I was definitely even more excited to try it.


ABV: 6.5%

Style: Saison/Farmhouse Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Edith (1897-1992) was our grandfather’s sister, and Hill Farmstead Brewery rests upon the land that was once home to her and her 13 siblings. In her honor, this black saison is crafted from American malted barley, German roasted malts, European hops, our farmhouse yeast, and water from our well. Unfiltered and naturally carbonated, this is the ale that I dream to have shared with Edith.”

Random: I’m getting through the new season of Arrested Development and this one was absolutely hilarious.

This brew poured with a half a finger of tan head that dissipated slowly and left decent lacing on the tulip glass. The body was a clear, dark brown color with lots of visible carbonation. The nose presented with yeast and lemon and a bit of clove and nutmeg. The nose was really pleasant. The taste was really complex as well. I got citrus hops, brett and yeast as well with some roasted malts. The body was medium thickness with heavy carbonation. It also had a quick finish with some lemon and roasted malts. This brew was perfection and what every beer of the style should taste like. It was a balance between roasted malts and yeast and citrus brightness. I loved this beer. I would definitely have this one again.

Untappd Rating: 4.5/5.0

Cantillon Gueuze 100% Lambic

Cantillon how I love you. I got a chance to try this one, and honestly, how could I refuse?


ABV: 5%

Style: Gueuze

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Up to the 19th century, the people from Brussels and Brabant mostly drank two beers, Lambic and Faro. The glass bottle and the discovery of Dom Perignon will bring about a revolution in the small world of the Brussels brewers. The Gueuze became the icon of the Brussels beers. Lambic, which is the base for the making of Gueuze, is a spontaneous fermentation beer. All beers made with Lambic are naturally sour, but some will be more sour, more bitter or ‘softer’ than the others. The Gueuze is the result of a well-considered blending of Lambics of different ages and with different tastes. The Lambic beers from the Cantillon brewery, which are conserved in oakwood barrels, are called ‘young’ after one year, but they will reach their full maturity after three years. The young beers contain the sugars which are necessary for the second fermentation in the bottle. The three years old beers will contribute their taste and their flavour. The main task for the brewer, however, is tasting. He will taste about ten Lambics from different barrels in order to select five or six which will be used for the Gueuze 100% Lambic presenting the typical characteristics of the beers from the Cantillon brewery. The bottles are closed with a cork, capped with a crown-cork. They will remain horizontally in a cellar for a year on average, in order to allow the sugars to be converted into carbon dioxide (second fermentation in the bottle). The saturation of the beer is slow and natural. When the Lambic becomes sparkling, it is called Gueuze. At that moment, this crown-jewel of the Cantillon brewery will leave the cellar of the brewery and find its way to the cellars of the lovers of the traditional Gueuze. Every blending will produce a different Gueuze. Since we work according to a natural process, it is impossible to make a standard beer. This beer is not only unique because of its brewing process, but also because it can be conserved for a long time. When kept in a good cellar, a Cantillon Gueuze will still have an exceptional taste and flavour after 20 years. The Gueuze 100% Lambic Cantillon represents half of the production of the brewery.”

Random: Yes, I did specifically crop that photo so you could see the empty in the background.

This brew poured with a half a finger of white head that dissipated slowly. It left a little bit of lacing on the glass. The body was a hazy yellow color with lots of visible carbonation. The nose had a bit of funk and some tartness as well. Some oak came through with light fruit as well. The taste started with lemon and horse blanket. Then, some oak came through as well with green apples and white grapes. The finish was all too quick for my liking with some funk, albeit the finish was very dry. The body was medium thickness with seltzer-like carbonation present as well. This was just an outstanding beer that I couldn’t get enough of. If you’re a sour fan, this is a must have.

Untappd Rating: 5.0/5.0


Bluegrass Brewing Lexington Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Stout (Clay Street Series)

Apparently I still suck at life. I completely forgot to take a picture of this one too. Anyways, I was continuing the southern theme and trying as many beers as possible before coming back up. I haven’t heard anything about this one, and it was one of the last local ones to try on tap, so I ordered a snifter of it.

ABV: 8.6%

Style: American Stout

Trivia: I couldn’t find out much about this beer, except for the fact that it is aged in Four Roses bourbon barrels. I love bourbon.

Random: I’m at that point in the documentary where they are discussing when elk like to mate. Yes, I am that dorky. Thank god Kate appreciates it, otherwise I would be screwed.

This one poured with half a finger of tan head that dissipated quickly. There was no lacing left on the glass. The body was a dark brown that was almost black with high visible carbonation. The nose was light, given the bourbon barrel aging. I got a touch of vanilla and smoke. There was not a lot of coffee or chocolate to it, which was surprising. If I wasn’t told that this was a bourbon barrel aged brew, I might have doubts. The taste was identical to the nose with vanilla, smoke and some roasted malts for fun. Some coffee came through, but not much. The body was light for the style and had lots of carbonation, which I would have preferred been dialed down a touch. The booze was well-integrated however. The finish was mild with vanilla. This was a nice beer, but it isn’t anything mind blowing. But, if you see it, it is definitely worth a try.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Kulmbacher Monchshof Schwarzbier

As a matter of comparison to the last review, I purchased this brew, a true German schwarzbier. Yet another thing I’m not used to in NJ, a beer bar that has bottles, but charges a corkage fee (pretty much like wine). Despite this, beer is still insanely cheaper in Virginia than New Jersey. So, let’s see how this one fared.

ABV: 4.9%

Style: Schwarzbier

Trivia: This beer is from the specialty profile of the brewery. Cool!

Random: I hate the heat. I’m sitting under a fan and still sweating like crazy. This is not fun at all. Is it fall yet?

This brew poured with a finger and half of tan head that left lots of lacing on the pint glass. By the way, also love this glass. Anyways, the body was a dark brown color with visible heavy carbonation. The nose had smoke, coffee and dark chocolate to it. Compared to the last brew, this nose was really big. The taste was really full bodies with lots of chocolate up front with smoke that quick to follow up. Toasted malts came through as well. The body was medium to heavy with a lot of carbonation. The finish was long with a decent amount of smoke. This wasn’t overly complex, but had some great flavors to it. I really enjoyed this one, especially having it side by side with another beer of the same style. It wasn’t watery, but wasn’t too heavy for the style. The flavors were spot on and I could see this really complimenting a barbecue dish. I would definitely have this one again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Devils Backbone Schwartz Bier

I found yet another crazy local beer while I was at Beer Run. Have I talked about the sandwich I had there? If not, it was awesome. It was a bratwurst with homemade sauerkraut and mustard on a pretzel roll. I am a serious sucker for pretzel rolls. Plus, I really love bratwurst and sauerkraut, so the sandwich in general was going to be a home run for me anyways. So, I first heard of this brewery when I went into the local spice store (where I picked up a bunch of great spices to use for either beer or barbecue). It ends up that the woman who owned the spice store sold them a bunch of spices for a brew. Totally cool. Onto the beer…

ABV: 4.9%

Style: Schwarzbier

Trivia: From what I could find on the website, a pilot batch of this was brewed in January of 2013 and this is a beer that they occasionally brew.

Random: I’m watching a grizzly bear eat a frozen fish on my documentary.

This brew poured with a finger of tan head that dissipated very slowly. It left significant lacing on the glass. The body was a dark brown color that was almost black with no visible carbonation due to the color. The nose was light for the style. It presented with roasted malt and a touch of smoke and char. The body was a bit bigger than the nose. I got smoke up front with some chocolate and roasted malts. The body was borderline watery, even given the style. The finish was quick with smoke. This brew was nothing all that special to me. It had some nice flavors, but given how watery the beer was, it took away from the experience.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Potter’s Craft Farmhouse Dry

One thing that I found about Virginia is that they are very into ciders and Kombucha. Cider is present in New Jersey, although Kombucha really isn’t, but it definitely does not have the popularity it does down there. This one was on tap at Beer Run as well and given how local it is, I figured it was worth a shot.

ABV: 7%

Style: Cider

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Potter’s Craft Cider is a revival of authentic American farmhouse cider. It is made using nothing but high-quality traditional cider apples, including Virginia Winesap and Albemarle Pippin. Our apples are grown locally in family-run orchards from the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Tim Edmond and Dan Potter (pictured left) are the owners and cider makers. With a shared passion for the art and science of cider making, Tim and Dan are excited to explore the countless flavors and aroma profiles that can be achieved using the apple varieties that are native to the area. Potter’s Craft Cider is currently sold in bottles and on draft in Charlottesville, VA and surrounding areas.”

Random: My team absolutely sucks. I turned on a documentary instead of watching the suckage today.

This cider poured with no real head to it. The body was a watery, light yellow with mellow carbonation visible throughout. The nose was sweet fermented apples with not much else to it. The taste was like apple flavored champagne. I got a lot of sweet apples and significant effervescence to it. The fizzy body took over all the flavors after awhile. It was very crisp, yet had a touch of Granny Smith tartness at the end. Obviously, this cider was very apple dominant. The body was light and the carbonation (according to my notes) was on crack. The finish was longer than expected with apples. I really enjoyed this one. If you see it in Virginia, definitely try it.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Parkway Bridge Builder Blonde

So, in Charlottesville, they have this place called Beer Run. It has about 15 taps (I think?) and food, along with a full package store with lots of goodies that I couldn’t get in New Jersey. This brew hails from Salem, Virginia. I’ve never heard of it, honestly the only reason I ordered it was because I knew I had no shot of ever getting it again.

ABV: 5.9%

Style: American Blonde Ale

Trivia: According to a Roanoke blog, “The brewery’s Bridge Builder blonde and its Get Bent Mountain IPA will soon be available in 12-ounce bottles, said Keno Synder, who co-owns the brewery with his wife Lezlie Snyder. The Snyders anticipate that the bottles will be available at area Kroger stores in two to three weeks. The beer is bottled at the brewery on Kessler Mill Road in Salem. Up until now, Parkway’s brews were available only at the brewery’s tasting room, and at more than a dozen restaurants. Parkway is the second Roanoke-area brew available in stores. Roanoke Railhouse has been selling its beers in stores in 22-ounce bottles. The brewery is working with a mobile canning company to put its signature beer, Track One, in 16-ounce cans which will be sold in four-packs. You can read more about that in this Retail Roundup column from last month.”

Random: It’s already to the point in the summer that it is too hot for me.

This one poured with no real head. There was a crown of white on top, but that was it. The body was a hazy, medium yellow color with heavy carbonation visible throughout the body. The nose was light with some wheat, oranges and general crispness. The taste was really clean and crisp. I got some wheat with mandarin orange sweetness. I could totally see this as a summer seasonal. The body was medium thickness with high carbonation. It finish quick and clean with wheat. If this was readily available, I would definitely have this one again. It goes down way too easily and has decent flavor. If you see it, definitely try this one.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Starr Hill Starr Pils

As I mentioned in a previous post, I had the most amazing lobster club at Citizen Burger in Charlottesville, Virginia. I wanted to pair it with a beer that would really let the sandwich shine. Although I am not a fan of this style, I felt that it would pair really well with it, plus it was local. Let’s see how it fared…

ABV: 4.2%

Style: German Pilsener

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Starr Pils is a classic German Pilsner. This beer is crafted with Pilsner malt, German hops and Bavarian lager yeast. It is golden in color with a subtle malt backbone and pleasant hop aroma.”

Random: I’m now onto a documentary about FDR. The one about Catherine the Great was really interesting.

This brew poured with less than a half a finger of white head. It left limited lacing on my pint glass. The body was a clear, straw yellow color with heavy carbonation visible throughout. The nose was really light with some pale malt and not much more. The taste was really crisp. It had some light skunk with malt and that was it. Despite this, it was really clean as well. The body was light with heavy carbonation. It had a quick finish with a touch of skunk. On a hot day, this was a definitely thirst quencher with crisp and clean flavor notes. It was a great compliment to my lobster club as well. If you see this one, it is definitely worth a try. I would have this one again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Devils Backbone Belgian Congo Pale Ale

So, it’s embarrassing to admit, although I do it much less frequently now than when I first started the blog, I apparently forgot to take a picture of this one. It’s even worse when I took a bottle home and easily could have photographed it. Oh well, I guess you’re going to have to deal with a stock photo of the label…

ABV: 6.8%

Style: Belgian Pale Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Belgian Inspired IPA. A blend of old world traditions.. Brewed like an IPA, it blends pine, and citrus, hop flavors with hints of apple & pear from a secret Belgian yeast strain. 6.8% Alcohol by volume, 50 IBUs”

Random: Yet another crazy local brewery to Charlottesville. I’m hoping the growth that we’ve seen in New Jersey with breweries continues, because some of these local breweries are putting out great brews.

This beer poured with a one finger white head that dissipated relatively quickly. It didn’t leave any lacing on the glass. The body was a hazy yellow color with heavy carbonation visible. The nose was definitely more Belgian influenced than IPA. I got notes of Belgian yeast and golden fruit. The taste was more of a hybrid than the nose. I got some grapefruit hops up front with apricot sweetness and Belgian yeast following up. After a few sips, some notes of clove came through as well. The body was medium to heavy with a lot of carbonation to go along with it. The finish was long with hops and Belgian yeast. Although this isn’t my favorite of the style, it was really well executed and almost a true hybrid. If you see it, grab a pint. You won’t be disappointed.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Starr Hill Double Platinum

So, as I alluded to in another post, I found a great beer bar in Charlottesville. Citizen Burger is in the middle of the “walking mall” and has absolutely fantastic food and great beer. I went there twice during my stay in Virginia and had their burger with truffle fries (which was amazing) and the second time, I had the lobster club. The lobster club could be one of the best sandwiches I’ve had. It was large chunks of lobster, lightly tossed with dressing and on what tasted like homemade bread. The staff was insanely friendly and I spoke with both the bartender and bar manager on length about beer and blogging. If you find yourself there, seek this place out. Anyways, this was another local beer that I tried on tap there…

ABV: 8.5%

Style: American Double/Imperial IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Double Platinum is dry-hopped with Simcoe and Centennial hops to achieve a strong aroma of citrus and pine, balanced by a smooth, malty backbone. The beer weighs in at approximately 8.6% ABV.”

Random: I love any sandwich that has large chunks of lobster…it’s the way to my heart.

This poured with a half a finger of white head that dissipated slowly and left some lacing on the pint glass. The body was a clear amber color with lazy carbonation visible throughout. The nose was really light for the style. I got some grapefruit and malt, but really not all that much. The taste was more hoppy, but this drank like a single IPA. I got some hop presence and pine resin with a touch of grapefruit. There was not a lot of malt there to balance it out. The body was thick with medium carbonation. It had a long finish with a touch of pine resin. This beer just didn’t do it for me. In a style that has so many standouts, this one just doesn’t deliver.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0