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Foster - Hill Farmstead Brewery

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53 Reviews
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Reviews: 53
Hads: 184
Avg: 4.18
pDev: 14.83%
Wants: 25
Gots: 2 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Hill Farmstead Brewery visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Jwale73 on 02-12-2011

Foster is our Black Wheat IPA…
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 53 | Hads: 184
Photo of rudzud
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at the Armsby Abbey during Hill Farmstead tap takeover. Reviewed from notes.

A - A very nice deep black pour with a one finger head that faded to leave a nice cloud and some light side lacing.

S - Wow, this is pretty darn different and enjoyable. Heavy notes of dark rye and pumpernickle bread along with roasty malts.

T - More of that nice bitter roasted malt and rye/bread qualities. Nice fruitiness, sweet malts, and light floral hops.

M - Slightly lower carbonation than I'm used to from Hill Farmstead. Fairly thin.

O - Overall this was a very, very delicious beer. Really love the rye/pumpernickle aspect to this. Wish the mouthfeel was better though.

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Photo of yourefragile
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL growler. Thanks Tucker.

Pours a clear dark brown, near black with a thick foam tan head. Good retention and sticky lacing throughout. Strong roast malt aroma with a strong punch of pine, light smoke and faint citrus. Flavor has a strong roast malt backbone with a subtle spice and breadiness throughout before a dry finish with strong pine hops and mild citrus sweetness. Enjoyed the balance of malt and hops more so with this than James. Creamy, medium thick body with light carbonation. A very nice black IPA with subtle rye spiciness.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL swingtop growler shared by yourefragile. Served in a Hill Farmstead wine glass.

Pours black with a good tan head and some nice lacing on the way down. Thin collar throughout. The nose carries a good dosing of roast plus a really nice bouquet of pine hops with just a touch of citrus. Flavor has a nice roasty character with a bit of a dry maltiness in the background. Nice hops throughout. Finishes bitter and dry; just right. Really good brew.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On Tap at Blue Dog.

Foster looked nice and dark with a brown look, a deep dark brown look with a light browish wallop of foam up above with great retention and stick. Looks good enough.

Smell is packed with a nice smoky quality and some lavender with roasted malts out the sides. A nice earthty semi piney hop presence surrounds all of this. a nice smeller.

not being a dark beer guy I was surprised by this. alot of flavor is packed into this. some roasted malts followed by some smokey quality. Trace amounts of chocolate/cocco, with some piney quality. Not boring.

Feel is a nice medium, maybe a step down from that in body. Some roast sticks with me in the end. Carbed up nice for the style I guess, not too bitey.

All in all a flavorful beer from a brewery that puts out great work. A whole pint might be an issue, 10oz was enough though.

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Photo of FosterJM
4.02/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1072nd Review on BA
Growler to Pint

I am told this is new recipe with shift from Rye beer to Black IPA/Black Wheat beer.

HUGE thanks to mjtiernan for this gift. I owe ya buddy!!

App- A very murky deep brown with some crimson in the center. A first pour produced about a 1/2" finger of head and that was about it. Fell to about a single line of cling. Second pour only gave me a little bit of a pond layer.

Smell- When you take a large pull I really get a mix of malts and some sweetness. To me it does feel like a Black IPA. A little malty, a little wheat and some bakers chocolate. Not a vibrant citrus note but more muted and a bit dried or peel in aromatic note.

Taste- Okay so this does have a lot going on. It's missing a punch though. Maybe it was the removal of the Rye. I get very little. Could be that peppery note in the beer. That one elevating flavor. It is good but just needs a bit more. It really starts as an IPA. A little bit of bitter citrus. This moves more to a wheat beer next with a blend of wheat lightness and a little bit of creaminess in its blend. The taste finishes with more damp fruits than expected.

Mouth- A light medium body with a paired matching carbonation. This does somewhat border on a low carbonation level to give it a creamy finish with deep malts a little residual bakers chocolate and a little peppery note.

Drink- Matt, I can't thank you enough for the generosity!! You are a great BA for this one. I appreciate it very much. Foster, is a blending of style and I wish it had more Rye in it. I would have this again though. Very clean and simple. A bit tamed compared to Stone 15, but arent most beers?

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Photo of CliffBrake
4.02/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

New batch; new recipe this year. Now it is a black wheat IPA.

Black and opaque with a small brownish head that dissipates leaving a few wisps of head and light lacing on the glass.

Light fruity aroma of lemon and citrus that blends well with roasty notes from the dark malt and a bit of pine. The flavor is well integrated between the hops and dark malts. Goes down easily for the style.

Very smooth mouthfeel with just enough carbonation to lighten things up a bit. Light-medium body.

Overall this is a very pleasant black IPA. Nothing stands out...it is just well balanced, drinks easy, and is very refreshing.

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Photo of silentjay
4.16/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

as described: a black rye IPA. as described on the HF website, a black wheat IPA, knowing Hill Farmstead it's probably both.

pours a slightly viscous jet black with a nicely sized mocha head that recedes slowly to a finger in height leaving behind tons, and tons, of lacing.

roasted malts and piney hops in a somewhat subdued aroma.

roasted malt and cigar tobacco hit the tongue first. piney, woody, and slightly bitter hops hit next. some bitter chocolate, a bit of a spicy character (peppery), a bit of caramel and light molasses. tons of contrasting flavors that come in waves and create a complex, tasty beer that defies styles. I can think of 3 or 4 that this beer could fit into.

lighter side of medium with a carbonation that is, at first prickly, but goes down smooth with a nice finish that combines sweetness, bitterness, and some spice into a nice aftertaste that lasts forever.

Another winning beer from Shaun Hill. It seems he has the Midas Touch. Every style, every beer he brews turns to gold, and this is no exception. Though it curtails on many different styles, it manages to create its own identity, while still keeping a bit of the house Hill Farmstead flavor. Love it.

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Photo of Retail1LO
3.88/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on draft at Capone's.

Pours a black shade with a very thin head that produces ample lacing. The nose is roasty with but a very mild presence. There isn't much here, to be honest. The taste is REAL nice, with a nice malty backbone. The hops are present, but take a back seat to the malt. The moutfeel on this is very pleasant. Medium-high carbonation with a slightly bitter finish. Overall, this was surprise. I'm generally not a fan of rye beers, or black IPA's, but a rye IPA...it came together quite nicely. This was good.

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Photo of tempest
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Farm House in Burlington VT. A rye beer? It looked and smelled like a black IPA to me. There was a huge floral hop character in the aroma and flavor, with milder roasty, dark cocoa malt undertones. I loved the piney hops, but wish the malt could stand up a little more. I didn't notice any rye character, but it didnt matter. This is still a heck of a beer and something for hop heads.

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Photo of JAXSON
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Capones. Poured a frothy, dark brown bordering on black with a large creamy beige head. Nose is an attractive manage of fresh hops, pine, cocoa nibs, smoked malt, leather. Mouth is creamy, showing leather, pipe tobacco (per the menu description which was pretty accurate), lightly smoked malt, dry cocoa nibs, and bright fresh hops that sit somewhere in the middle of the palate and aren't too upfront. Creamy, some light vanilla sweetness, the darker roasted/smoked aspects of this marry really well with the fresh hops. Very good.

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4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Draft serving into a pint glass for $6.50. BA and HF websites indicate 6.5% ABV while the beer menu I'm looking at says 6.3%. Also, between these 3 references, only BA says Rye Beer. Hill Farmstead's website doesn't mention rye in their description at all. Sampled 1/11/12.

A: Arrives with 1 1/2 fingers of compact foamy head. Light brown in color, great retention and great stick. The body is extremely dark brown and affords little opportunity to see through the glass. Lacing lays down in continuous sheets.

S: Absolutely bursting with dank pine resin goodness. Grass + orange and grapefruit zest supporting. There is a dark roasty underlying character in the background, made up mostly of wholesome and hearty bread aromas.

T: Big hop presence bites the tongue and provides a firm bitterness from the front of the palate through the finish. Bright orange and citrus punch through at the end. The roasted notes are present but they stay out of the way on the palate for the most part. The wheat in the malt bill adds a little spice.

M: Spot on. Fine fizzy bubbles graze the tongue. The crispy finish is elongated through lengthy flavor duration. Medium-dry.

O: Honestly, not a single mis-step here. Each characteristic of the beer is a half point away from being perfect in my mind - and I don't even know where improvements can be made.

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Photo of xnicknj
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

on tap at khyber

Pours an opaque black color with a light tanned head sitting on top. Sticky lacing on the glass with a layer of filmy retention.

Complex nose with a mix of rye spice, juicy hops, and dark malt sweetness. Faint roasty tones with a hint of alcohol warmth. Very slight tropical touch.

Hoppy and bitter up front with an explosion of juicy hop flavors. The rye spice is pretty apparent with a soft touch of smoke. Citrus peel and sweetness with some lighter tropical notes. Darker malt backbone with understated chocolate and nuttyness. Finishes bitter, hoppy, and slightly warm.

Medium body, slightly higher carbonation, sticky and chewy on the tongue. Another hit from HF, excellent balance between rye, hops, and malts to create an interesting brew.

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Photo of jlindros
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tap at the Armsby Abbey Hill Farmstead takeover.

Big creamy 1 plus finger head fades at a med pace lots of lacing, pretty much pitch black colored beer.

Nose fresh hops, light earthy pine, dark malts, light porter roast, bit of chocolate, creamy dark malts, hint of rye and dark.

Taste bitter hops, light pine and earthy, rye is dominant, earthy dry gritty malts and rye, bready malts, bitter from hops and rye, light choc and roast. Finish is sticky and bitter, rye and earthy biter hops, some darker malts.

Mouth is med bodied, little creamy, decent carb.

Overall nice, I tried a rye black IPA style as homebrew and it was so-so, and this seems to be similar. overall the style just doesn't seem to work as much as it seems it would, although this seems to hit it right on the head. It's a tasty beer with plenty going for it, just not something I could drink a lot of, which I found from my own homebrew.

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Photo of kingcrowing
3.98/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap poured into a tulip.

Pours a dark black color with a small light lacing of light brown foam. Nose is sharp and hoppy, dark malts and coffee.

Taste is bitter and sharp, earthy hops and a coffee bitterness. Mouthfeel is rich and full with a dry roasty finish. Bright and tasty, works really well with seafood.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.72/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Glad to have shared this with myself at my nightly tastings in my living room with my wife and my cat.

extremely hazy, and nealy opaque orange. A huge white pillow like frothy head on top did not want to fade, eventually it relented leaving behing a ton of white lace dripping down the glass.Hops Hops and more hops. The smell was just wonderful. Lots of citrus flavors, heavy hints at orange, pineapple and grapefruit with just the slightest hint at some sugar, very nice indeed. Wow is all I can say about that. The bitter hops hit you up close and personal and in a big way. Sweet orange flavors gave way to a nice bitter pineapple front. Small hint at the alcohol hear and a nice dry finish. Very smooth, like silk and very easy going down. Big full flavor and feel. Very nice indeed.

Overall this was awesome and definatly a winner

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Photo of dragonWhale
4.82/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Goddamn, hit after hit from Monsieur Hill. On tap at the Tiger. Black Rye IPA, could easily got into the ABA category and receive these same scores. Dark brown, a beautiful dark chocolate color, like a foamy liquid bar. Sweet jesus this is lovely, tangerines and grapefruits, chocolate, coffee and spicy rye. Chocolate dominates the flavor, bitterness is solid and wonderful and the chocolate and citrus cuddle up with each other and whisper sweet nothings amongst themselves. Darling. Creamy mouthfeel with that chocolate and citrus and sweet rye. Lovely.

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Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got a Growler of this in the Regional Growler BIF. Thanks baconsausage.

Pours a deep black with a very nice off white head. Nice lacing.

Aroma is awesome. So much hops and a nice roastyness. Smells great.

Taste wasn't as good as the aroma would suggest but still very good. With the roastyness it could use a bit of sweetness. But it's got a nice hop bitterness and bite.

Mouthfeel is dry and good carb. Could use a bit more maltiness.

Overall it's a great beer. My first from hillfarmstead. Can't wait for more.

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Photo of ffejherb
4.44/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Deuane for sharing a growler on 3/20/11.

A - This IPA is darker than the tobes of Hades and bordering Imperial Stout territory. The liquid is onyx black with a creamy tan cap that reduced to a fine patch, leaving behind swatches of foamy lace around the glass.

S - Wow! Aroma is pretty amazing! This is a beer I could sit and smell all day. Foster just reeks of fresh, leafy homegrown oily hops. In addition to the amazing hop character, there is plenty of coffee, chocolate and toffee notes as well as a hint of roast to give the aroma a vivid, colorful palette. The freshness and dankness of the aroma reminds me of Selin's Grove's Snafu IPA. Yum!

T - Foster is brimming with fresh hop flavor. Think earthy, herbal and grassy with a splash of citrus fruit tang, but with plenty of dark, roasted malt as well as chocolate and coffee notes. A hint of nutty astringency also emerges in the backend, but is overtaken by a wash of hops and a hint of spicy rye character in the finish.

M - Medium bodied with an oily/syrupy mix and bristly carbonation. Finishes quite dry and bitter on the palate with some residual spiciness.

D - One of the best, if not THE best Black IPAs I've come across in my travels. The aroma of this is simply amazing! Hill Farmstead is seriously sending blips all over my "Beer"dar as of late. I am REALLY looking forward to visiting VT in June. Booyeah!

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Photo of Deuane
4.37/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A growler picked up on a recent visit to the brewery.

A-Dark, black/brown with a thick tan head that settles into a thin cap of retention and leaves heavy swaths of lace.

S-WOWZERS! Burnt orange peels and fresh crushed orange meat combined with a lightly floral hop aroma. A dose of dank, earthy wet tobacco in the background on top of a light base of roasted malt.

T-The hop bite is there and certainly pleasant but are slightly back burnered by the roasted malt and spicy rye. Dank earth and tobacco notes meld with muted orange peel and floral hop qualities. Very nice but comes in second to the aroma.

M-Medium bodied, sharp and biting with plenty of lingering bitterness from the hop and malt combo. Drying finish with a flurry of orange oil bite in the background.

D-Sweet Jesus! Certainly the most intense, smack you in the face, yet incredibly drinkable, Black/Cascadian IPA I have had the pleasure of tasting. A delicious blend of hops and malt in one fantastic package. Hill Farmstead impresses once again!

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Photo of Bendurgin
4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to Andy for taking the trek to Vermont and grabbing some growlers. Awesome! Pours a cola color with a nice light off white head.

Nice hop aroma on this. Grassy hops, kind of citrusy with a bready rye aroma. A bit of coffee on the aroma. Really nice here. Bitter hops through and through. Very present coffee flavor but it's not off by any means. Seems like it could be classified as a black IPA also. This really has a huge hop flavor.

Light crisp mouthfeel on this. Good carbonation, this holds up nicely in the growler. Amazingly drinkable. Really just another great offering from Hill Farmstead.

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Photo of andrewinski1
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Hill Farmstead Glass. Nice black color with a solid layer of mocha head. Looks like a nice porter. Lacing is very sticky.

The aroma indicates nice piney hop flavor. The maltiness is difficult to detect, but the hop aroma is enticing to say the least.

The taste starts out with a nice coffeelike bitterness from the roasted malts. The malty dry bitterness is quickly accompanied by a nice piney hop flavor. Great balance for the style, incorporating the hops, rye, and roasted flavors without overpowering anything.

The body is light to medium, and the carbonation is on point providing a lively drink.

Love this one from Hill Farmstead. Great beer, as usual.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.47/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brewery filled 2 liter "genie" shaped swing-top growler into a couple of tulip glasses.

Pours black, with a ½ finger of silky looking mocha head. The flare-up on this is rich, dotting the sides with a ton of robust spotty swathes of lacing. The aroma is fresh, floral, and leafy smelling with some underlying bitter citric character. A blend of doughy, spicy rye, coffee, and sweet chocolate malts across the back of the nose really makes this smell delicious!

The taste is full of fresh hop flavor, with a lightly herbal citric bite and a moderate amount of leafy bitterness. This is just wonderfully balanced here by a flavorful backing of chocolate and caramel sweetness, dark roasted coffee, and then a dry spicy bite of rye in the back. The rye is really out there but isn't overdone but it definitely hangs the hardest in the finish, along with some lingering green hops. Very dry and spicy finish here. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a firm crispness that gives way to a silky creaminess that spreads out across the palate. No alcohol presence at all leaves this very easy drinking.

Man, I think I liked this even more than when I had it on draft. Mostly because I got to spend much more time with it here over several glasses. Yeah, I'd definitely say that this needs to be re-categorized as a Black Ale, as the rye isn't the driving force here but instead nicely compliments a very well done example of the style. The mix of citrus, chocolate, coffee, and rye here is just a delicious mix. This is another awesome effort from Hill Farmstead.

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Photo of AgentZero
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big props to Spycow for bringing this to our Fedor-gets-his-ass-handed-to-himself tasting.

A - An almost black beer that turns brown in the light. Tan head that had good retention with a nice amount of lacing, kind of what you would expect with this style.

S - A great mix of hops and rye. This is classified as a rye beer, but if is much more hop-forward than rye forward. A lot of coffee in there as well.

T - Really hoppy, with great rye character coming in. I get healthy doses of coffee from this one, which is kind of confusing, but really awesome. The coffee and bitter hop combo are just great, really like the taste on this one. For the style this might be about the best I've ever had.

M - Medium bodied with a cleanly bitter finish.

D - Love this beer, right up there with my top 2 or 3 Black IPAs ever. Would definately recommend and want to drink again.

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Photo of Brad007
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown/black color with a brown head into my glass. I really don't have anything much to say about the color.

Citrus and mind dominate the nose, followed closely by spiciness from the rye malt. Very unique mish-mash of aromas.

Again, the taste places an emphasis on citrus and mint from the hops. Literally, the only two things I can really taste.

The mouthfeel is helped by the rye malt. It's warm and dry with plenty of lingering hop goodness.

I like Foster. It's certainly more hop forward and the use of rye demonstrates the desire of the brewmaster to dispel any notions of rye being a less-than-desirable malt. Really, it's a notch far above the standard rye beer.

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Photo of maximum12
3.78/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to baconsausage for this lovely growler. I've been on a massive rye kick, so anything that spanks of rye is welcome in my gullet.

Full pour into my old Dunedin Brewery pint glass. Very dark, with russet potatoes around the edges. Smell is very tame, roast, earthiness, not much else.

Foster brings two of my favorite things, a storm of rye & hops. Neither dominates; instead, they clasp hands & arrive together, in step. Rye brings a warm spice rack, & the hops are fresh-picked with a side of fall mustiness. Roast provides a framework to drape the others over. Not quite peppy enough for me, but that's probably the cross-continent trip it took in a foreign object, so I can't really blame the beer for that. Half the pint glass is gone. Huh.

Very good beer. The rye speaks to me as it always does, 7 the hops rip a good counterpoint. Love to have this fresh out the tap someday.

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Foster from Hill Farmstead Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 53 ratings.