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Riwaka Pale Ale - Hill Farmstead Brewery

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Riwaka Pale Ale
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27 Reviews
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Reviews: 27
Hads: 112
Avg: 4.41
pDev: 11.34%
Wants: 54
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Hill Farmstead Brewery visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  5.20% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Brad007 on 12-31-2010

An American Pale Ale bittered, flavored, and dry hopped exclusively with one of our favorite hop varieties: New Zealand's rare and difficult to obtain Riwaka!
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 27 | Hads: 112
Photo of yourefragile
4.79/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

On tap at Prohibition Pig weekend of 2012 Harvest Festival.

Pours a cloudy light golden amber color with a generous white head, great retention and lacing. Aroma and flavor took me by surprise as I wasn't expecting something quite so unique while being exactly what expected. Loads of tropical and juicy citrus hops, but there was a slight tropical leafiness as well that added a slight spice and earthiness that enhanced the juicy and sweet flavor (without distracting). One of my favorite HF I/A PAs.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.52/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Moll for grabbing the growler for me. Served in Hill Farmstead stemware. Plenty of citrus peel and light pine. A bit floral. Flavor is quite dry and very bitter. Light body. Excellent. This was simply incredible. Shaun really knows what he's doing and, especially when it comes to hoppy beers, can't seem to miss.

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Photo of largadeer
3.85/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Arbitrator shared this one several weeks back. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance: Hazy, milky blond body with a tall white head that retains well.

Smell: Quite grassy up front, which eventually dissipates and reveals pineapple, lime and green tea. Yeast and malt are pretty neutral and allow the unusual hop aromas to shine. The hop character is unique, interesting and fairly enjoyable, but I'm not blown away by it.

Palate: Grainy, a bit gritty in texture, presumably from hop particles that didn't fully settle out. Lime and green tea flavors are prominent, with a touch of grapefruit bitterness toward the finish. Light and dry on the tongue, and firmly bitter in the finish. This is good and easy-drinking, but HF has made more impressive pale ales.

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Photo of seeswo
4.42/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Typical stellar looking HF single hop pale ale. Light enough to be potentially mistaken for a saison with a nice whitish head. I don't know if that is supposed to look good or if I am been trained that when I see that, it is a HF hoppy beer and will be good. Either way, looks great.

Now let me explain. Had this one time in the middle of a substantial tasting and really didn't like it. Earthy, grassy...just a bit odd. This new go is on a growler where this is all I'm doing. Reinterpretation of the smell and flavor of this beer - gueuze. The nose is really funky and smells like a very hoppy gueuze. I am now appreciating it and it smells unbelievable. Grassy, minerally. I can even say that it reminds me specifically of Drie Fonteinen Oude Gueuze. The taste is quite hoppy with a very mild gueuzey/minerally/grassy funk. Doesn't taste quite as good as it smells, but it is really nice.

As with all of these HF beers, the body is medium/light with good carbonation and everything seeming to be dead-on. I mean, the man knows what he is doing.

Overall, this beer is pretty great. I could stick my nose in it for hours. Doesn't deliver as much on the taste as it does the smell, but I now have the best context to understand it - it's a gueuze IPA and now I think it is a revelation.

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Photo of Luk13
4.7/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at HF Harvest Fest and growler. Hazy gold pour with white head. Super powerful nose, spicy hops, very very citrusy - quite unique hop aroma, definitely new to me, a kind of mix of spice, lemon and grapefruit. Pretty exotic. Taste is sharp and hoppy, very fresh, citrus zest and grapefruity finish. Super tasty APA. My favourite with What is Enlightenment.

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Photo of Gosox8787
4.35/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 2L growler chilled and poured into a pint glass. Filled from the brewery on Saturday.

Appearance: Pours a really nice, two finger white and creamy head with really good retention. Sticks incredibly well to the glass. Color is the typical light yellow to orange in color.

Aroma: Really interesting and unique tropical profile. Mango, pineapple and lots of orange zest. Very citrusy. Some bittering hops and a light biscuit tones.

Taste: Big, bright citrus and hop notes with lots of bittering notes. Very tropical and drinkable. A really nice balance of hop sweetness and hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied and crisp. Very refreshing and easy to drink as evidenced by me drinking the entire 2L myself.

Overall, a really single hop beer that does a great job of showcasing this hop variety. I am not to famaliar with this hop, but the tropical and citrus notes are really tasty. Very nice balance throughout. Definitely a good single hop beer and another great HF beer. Not sure if it is my favorite IPA from them but it definitely is good.

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Photo of koopa
4.15/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler filled at the brewery.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy golden to pale orange juice color with a 1 finger white crown comprised of fine/dense carbonation bubbles that show moderate retention and good lace.

Smell: Grapefruit, loads of pith, lightly grassy notes, bready malt, a touch of brewing salts, and the tiniest burnt rubber quality.

Taste: Same as the nose but that burnt rubber quality is more apparent. The burnt rubber quality was much more prevalent in a draft sample I had the same weekend at the Blackback Pub. It's also a quality I've tasted in other hoppy beers that didn't use Riwaka before. It's probably just the way my palate presents some particular types of hops or perhaps a particular amount of hop bitterness or something. As the beer warmed I seemed to notice it less.

Mouthfeel: Thick side of thin bodied with medium carbonation. A touch too thin for my liking.

Overall: A fairly stock HF hoppy beer which means it's really good! The riwaka hops are nice but they didn't wow me like I wanted them to.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.75/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Very excited about this one. The beer is similar in appearance to most other HF IPAs. Orange with a white head. The aroma is fabulous, with a huge hop presence. Light in body, with a nice bouquet of citrus. A tad sweet, but not too. So drinkable. Fluffy and soft on the palate. Elegant bitterness in the finish. Overall, this was simply terrific.

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
4.37/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from tap into provided stemware at the 2012 Harvest Fest. Pours a hazy light orangey hay with a good amount of foam. Huge huge hop aromas...realy nice pine and citrus. Taste is fantastic pine, citrus, grass hop flavor but almost bitter/sweet at the same time. Very well balanced with the malts as the usual hop bomb bitterness is so well masked that just the hop flavor is noticeable. Superb huge hop APA!

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Photo of Sean9689
4.15/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at HF Harvest Fest 2012 and poured into HF wine glass.

Pours a golden yellow color, hazy, white frothy head, spotty lace. Aroma is citrus zest, grass, and light pine...very little malts in this beer. Flavor is citrus and grass, less pine then the nose. Light body good carbonation, oily hoppy finish.

An excellent APA that was just super-easy to drink and contained a massive amount of hoppy goodness. How can you go wrong with that combo? Answer, you can't. Another winner from HF.

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Photo of jbertsch
4.6/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice golden color. A big hazy. Fluffy white head.

Wonderful aroma of citrus fruits and grass. A little straw-like grain noticeable.

Taste follows suit. Slightly astringent citrus-hops (lemon, grapefruit) and lemongrass greet you with a touch of bitterness up front but smooth out immediately. Mild honey-like malts in the back. The finish sweetens just slightly. Very chuggable.

Mouthfeel is smooth as always with HF beers. Decent body for the lower ABV.

Overall this is very much like What Is Enlightenment, but with a slightly bolder body and not as borderline watery. However, as good as the aroma is here, it's just a notch below the incredible nose of W.I.E.

A beautiful little pale ale, yet again, from HF.

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Photo of portia99
4.15/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml growler courtesy of jlindros...thanks for picking this one up for me! Poured into a Harpoon 100 Barrel series stemmed glass. Haven't had anything with the Riwaka hops...so anxious to give this one a try.

A - Pours a rather pale and quite hazy golden yellow. A two finger pillow of dense and rocky head lingers for several minutes giving a nice white cap. Tons of webby and sticky lacing nearly completely cover any beerless surface in the glass. Great looking beer.

S - Really interesting hop bouquet on this one. Starts off with the requisite citrusy blast on first sniff. Still grapefruity, but I get much more of an orange presence and a mix of lemon as well. Behind that is a strong piney-ness that hides itself initially, but comes on with great intensity and gives an almost concentrated pine extract aroma. There is also some spiciness that is a bit peppery too. Quite good. Not much malt showing thru, if any - struggling to find some...but honestly - who cares? The hops smell so good, I'm afraid any malt might diminish their effect.

T - More intense pine can be found in the flavor. Tastes almost as I'd imagine pure pine sap to taste. Very intense flavor here. Bitterness level is rather high...very crisp...ends a bit medicinal and/or solventy on the finish and still intensely piney. Again, really not much malt here...only the slightest bit present. A bit different and rather good. I'm liking it.

M - Resiny and bitter, herbal and piney, very fresh. Body is lightish medium with a prickly, fine bubbled medium-high carbonation level. Pine tends to overwhelm and leaves a long lasting impression after the swallow, giving a cool piney feel on each breath.

O - Rather different pale ale which I think can be attributed directly to the Riwaka hop variety. Very intense pine...more than I've ever encountered before. Interesting and really quite good. Not sure this would be a go to hop though for me...mix this in with some intense citrus - Citra maybe? and I think this could really be outstanding. Bump up the malt a bit and this could make a top notch DIPA.

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.43/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to Mike for hooking me up with this one!

A: Pours a rather light golden color with a foamy two finger white head on top, very nice retention. Sticky lacing forms all around the glass.

S: Very earthy, with a lot of zest/rind going on. Some lemon and grapefruit and grassy aromas. Just a bit of pale malt.

T: Light lemon and lemon rind mixed with a little grapefruit juice and some pale malt. Just a little bit of pine, but overall very clean.

M: Light to medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Extremely easy drinking.

O: A great pale ale, tons of flavor, very clean and incredibly drinkable. I had no problem polishing off the entire 750ml growler. I have had more flavor forward pale ales, but few are as drinkable as this one, which I feel is important in a pale ale.

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Photo of rudzud
4.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to JLindros for picking this growler up for me when he went up to VT to get beers for our epic 13 course beer dinner. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

A - Poured a wonderful lightly hazy/cloudy golden light orange hue pour . Big, fluffy almost 2 finger white head slumped down to leave thick, sticky side lacing and wonderful retention. Excellent.

S - So this is Riwaka hops eh? Nice New Zealandy hop characteristics, earthy, almost wet hops, nice lemony grapefruit citrus ring hop thing going on. Definitely not a typical hop aroma.

T - Taste is spot on too. More of those tasty new zealand hops here. Lots more citrus and grapefruit peel on the taste with that subtle grassy/earthy making up the background. There some slight lemon, almost like a combo of a farmhouse and a pale ale. Very interesting.

M - Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated, slightly dry. Incredibly drinkable.

O - Overall this was a delicious beer featuring a rather hard to come by hop variety. Glad I got to try another Shaun Hill offering, Really like this lighter styled pale ale.

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Photo of jaasen64
4.43/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750ml growler filled at the brewery yesterday. Split two ways. Poured into a Hill Farmstead stemmed glassware.

A- Pours a yellowish golden with about a finger's worth of thick frothy white head that leaves nice thick layered lacing. Decent carbonation. Very similar in appearance to the Simcoe Pale ale that I drank earlier today.

S- Pale malts and some wheat mixed with light citrus hops that have light aromas of lemon.

T- Perfectly balanced between light lemon hops and pale malts. Finishes with a light lemon taste. Not as flavorful as some beers, but very pleasant flavors coming through that make for a very enjoyable beer that I could drink over and over again.

M- Super refreshing, super drinkable- goes down almost like water, nice carbonation, fairly light bodied, probably one of the best if not the best mouthfeel I've experienced on a pale ale.

O- This was a fantastic APA, without a doubt one of my favorites. I can't say Riwaka is my favorite hop varietal, but this beer was fantastically made. Don't expect a ton of citrus, but nice light lemon qualities that balance with the pale malts very well. The drinkability on this beer was amazing, I could easily drink a 2L growler of it. If you like light beers without overpowering citrus and a very high drinkability this beer is definitely the beer for you.

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Photo of jlindros
4.45/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice fluffy almost 1 finger head that fades semi slowly with nice soapy lacing, hazy carrot honey orange colored beer.

Nose has this really interesting hop, a definite Kiwi style hop, with some grassy earthy qualities, almost saison like earthy hop aromas and I mean the farmhouse aromas of a saison in hop form, but there's also a light citrus rind, grapefruit, little lemony, really unique. Light fluffy malts under that with a light acid malt I think.

Taste start with more fluffy malts, a light acidulated malt again I think but not quite sure. Then the Kiwi hops take over. very complex for being a lighter hop. A nice grapefruit flavor and bitter grapefruit rind, little lemony and citrusy. Then grassy flavors, little lemongrass and that farmhouse hay like flavor in hop form again. The bitterness is not so much hop bitterness but comes through more as a grapefruit rind like flavor, quite interesting and tasty. Finish is dry, fairly bitter but that grapefruit bitterness so not a spicy hop bitterness, more lingering lemongrass and grapefruit and earthy.

Mouth is med bodied, decent carb.

Overall quite nice. Very drinkable, with lighter overall hop bitterness, and the bitterness that comes is more citrus fruit bitterness than spicy hops, nice malty base, and the interesting Kiwi hops are really tasty.

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Photo of DaveHack
4.18/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy orange with a big white, fluffy head

Smells of fresh cut grass and a little bit of grapefruit. Very organic aroma to it.

Taste is similar, grass and a bit of a grapfruit flavor. I did expect this to be very bitter on the finish, but it was not. There was some bitterness, but given the aroma, I thought it would be REALLY bitter.

Mouthfeel is very nice. Heavier body than I expected, given the ABV, but still on the lighter side. The beer leaves a nice coating all throughout the mouth and leaves you wanting more!!

Overall, this is definately a beer to try. The hop flavors are unique and definately make a special aroma and flavor. It isn't my preferred hop, but I enjoyed it.

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Photo of phingdong
4.68/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap from a friend's kegerator. Picked up at HF last week (thanks Shaun and Phil!). Multiple glasses. Looks similar to all HF pale ales, which is a nice, vibrant orange with a fluffy white head. The aroma is fantastic. Combines the grassy, dank, earthy hops traits with the citrus and tropical. The taste follows the nose. Piney, earthy, tropical and just delicious. The flavor profile is one of the best I've had (and a single hop at that!). At 5.2%, this packs a mountain of flavor. I could drink this forever.

Too bad these hops are so scarce. I hope the next crop of Riwaka is more abundant and this is made again in the future. Perhaps even an imperial Riwaka...

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Photo of Bendurgin
4.07/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass. This pours a hazy pale straw color with a small cap of white head.

The aroma has a nice grassy aroma with hints of citrus and lemon in the background. A bit earthy in the background. The pallet has a dank hop flavor with some grassy pine and citrus. Earthy root vegetables seem to have a bit of a presence in the background.

The body is nice and light with good carbonation. Overall this one is enjoyable. Nice showcase of this hop.

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Photo of andrewinski1
3.97/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Bendurgin for making the Trek and picking up this growler. Poured into a goblet. The color is hazy melon-orange. There is a nice fluffy head.

The aroma has a lot of dank citrus.

The taste has a lot of earthiness in the flavor from the hops. There is a great grassy hop flavor here as well. The finish is nice a crisp.

This is light bodied and refreshing. This is delicious as always.

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Photo of plaid75
4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On draft at the Blind Tiger, NYC.

Poured a hazy bright orange hue with a one finger frothy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a light piney hop with a slight essence of tropical fruit.

The taste was upfront piney with secondary waves of grapefruit and pepper. Soft malt provided an adequate platform.

The mouthfeel was clean and toward the thinner side of the style.

Overall a tasty hop forward ale. Easy to drink.

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Photo of Solomon420
4.85/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow, I am being constantly surprised with Vermont's IPAs. And this one doesnt dissappoint. This one pours a yellow/orangish hue, normal white two finger head. Aroma is of nice citrus and hops, clean smell. I like it a lot. The taste is awesome and follows the nose to a T. Mouthfeel is balanced and silky, dances off of the tongue. Its a lower ABV, which makes this thing so damn drinkable and enjoyable. Its a true champion of an IPA.

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Photo of scottcarpenter
4.49/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased from DiCicco's in Ardsley, NY. Poured from growler into pint glass.

A: Richly cloudy amber-orange; nice glow. Soapy white head that dissipates quickly. Not a lot of lacing.

S: I expected the grapefruit greeting of the IPA, but my nose was met with citrus combined with tropical fruit, almost a pineapple or mango and hint of floral.

T: Same blast of citrus and tropicals; finishes a little bit quickly, without a lot of bitterness or drying, which I missed. But this is such a showcase for the sweet fruitiness of the variety of hop that this is a quibble.

M: A bit low in carbonation (and I drank the whole growler the night I bought it, so it did not have time to sit around). It acquired an almost slickness in the body that I did not love. The feel verged on syrupy which could have made the taste oversweet. More carbonation would have helped this.

D: It goes down so very smoothly and the juicy taste just keeps inviting you to sip and quaff; and then repeat. It's nice to have a relatively low abv for a change. My kids could almost drink this one.

A really fantastic beer and a lucky find since I understand Hill Farmstead is not found much outside of Vermont. I love this idea of showcasing one particular hop variety. I'm inspired to se what this brewery does when it decides to use this flavor as a building block in their concoctions.

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Photo of Vineyard
5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Overall: This IPA manages to be very drinkable while still having a complex profile that will make your palate work.

Appearance: Darke golden color, with many orange hues.

Aroma: Lots of fruit, mainly citrus but I pick up some tropical notes as well.

Taste: Outstanding, I picked up many different fruit flavors, similar to the aromas, with a heavy tropical note on the end. The malt profile does not stick out but rather supports the showcasing of this type of hop very well.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is nicely balanced, fairly light but still very satisfing.

Drinkability: Extreamly high, I managed to finish off a growler in one night, the balance of the beer is tremendous and the flavors make you keep on wanting to pour one more pint.

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Photo of GatheringBrews
4.92/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark golden, orange color. A crisp white head with nice lacing.

Bright aroma of mixed citrus... mostly lemon and grapefruit.

Taste is well balanced with robust hops, bitterness, malts and a clean finish.

Medium body with soft carbonation and exception drinkability.

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Riwaka Pale Ale from Hill Farmstead Brewery
94 out of 100 based on 27 ratings.