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Vera Mae - Hill Farmstead Brewery

Not Rated.
Vera MaeVera Mae

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

564 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 564
Reviews: 99
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 8.31%
Wants: 303
Gots: 93 | FT: 10
Brewed by:
Hill Farmstead Brewery visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
Saison / Farmhouse Ale |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: SFLpunk on 07-25-2011

Vera Mae is crafted from organic Vermont spelt, American hops, wildflower honey, dandelion flowers from our fields, our distinctive farmhouse yeast and water from our well. Unfiltered and naturally carbonated.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 564 | Reviews: 99
Reviews by The-yetti:
More User Reviews:
Photo of hagbergl
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I bought a 750mL bottle of Hill Farmstead Vera Mae for $10 (in my opinion, quite reasonable), their "spring blossom" farmhouse ale made with dandelions from their own field and honey, from the brewery in early August. Pretty cool looking bottle–looks very classy and understated. Enjoyed in my Dogfish Head snifter with my girlfriend during our vacation to the Cape. Review is from notes.

Appearance (4.5/5): Vera Mae pours an opaque lemon yellow/honeysuckle hue and is topped by a voluminous, frothy, white head of foam that measures about 2.5 fingers. Plenty of sticky lacing lines the sides of the glass as you drink. Pour it into a stemmed glass and appreciate!

Smell (4.5/5): Notes of light, tart lemon and citrus, wheaty, floral, and grassy tones, leap from the glass. Yeasty and a bit funky, as well. Quite unusual for a saison; reminds me a bit of Jolly Pumpkin's Calabaza Blanca. Summery.

Taste (4.5/5): Wow, what fresh, interesting flavors! Fruity notes of lemon, grapefruit rind, and pear combine with a floral, herbal bitterness imparted, undoubtedly, by the dandelions added to the brew. This is quite a unique bitterness that isn't really juicy or citric, but more akin to the bitterness of arugula. My girlfriend also suggested that it's a bit like ginger root. Whatever it is, it's a great touch. A subdued honey sweetness also comes through with further sips. Not a hint of alcohol in the flavor profile. Refreshing, complex, tart.

Mouthfeel (4.5/5): The mouthfeel is what makes this beer. It is bubbly, effervescent, and practically tickles the tongue. Great active carbonation. It is also light and the tart "arugula" bitterness stops short of puckering. If HF hadn't nailed the mouth on this one, it wouldn't have been nearly as much of a success. Good show.

Overall (4.5/5): Vera Mae is one hell of a farmhouse ale/saison. It's a bit unusual and unorthodox, but it really makes the twists and added ingredients count. And for all those people skeptical of the dandelions, don't let it dissuade you from buying this refreshingly tart ale!

Photo of angrybabboon
3.9/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cheers to Bilco for sharing this

Review from notes, 6/7/14

Appearance: Hazy, pale honey with some gold and yellow hues - pours with a large, white head, fades to a solid cap, leaves some nice lacing

Smell: Clean and decidedly Hill Farmstead - lightly floral and earthy, with some saison yeast - some light funk and some pale malts - more flowers, earth, lightly spicy aromas from the yeast - some light fruits, but more flowery than fruity

Taste: Floral, spicy, and straight-up saison yeast - nicely balanced and interesting - very yeasty, as it should be, with some earth, some spice, and some yeasty funk - more fruit than in the aroma - dry pineapple, green apple, and pear - honey is not particularly apparent in the flavor - floral and somewhat grassy - nicely complex

Mouthfeel: Medium body, nicely carbonated, with a smooth, earthy finish

Overall: Hill Faaahhhm dude

If you've ever had any other saisons from Hill Farmstead, you probably already know what to expect from this beer. It's yeasty and earthy while being clean and refreshing. Personally, it's not my favorite, as the addition of dandelions and honey did not really add much to an already great base.

Photo of sweemzander
4.72/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

750mL bottle poured into a snifter. Thanks to Adam for the trade!

(A)- Pours a cloudy brilliantly yellow colored hue. A great head of white froth. Good retention and lacing to boot.

(S)- Quite dry. Very very dry actually. Lots of Brett funk meets lemongrass and a rather fragrant floral grassiness; dandelions?

(T)- Very dry, yet very grassy too. Bright lemongrass and subtle Brett funk tartness. I get the dandelions now for sure.

(M)- A very crisp and spritzy carbonation level. The feel and taste of this just screams spring time. Bright and zesty with jsut a tiny bit of tart funk in the background.

(O)- A wonderfully dry springtime themed saison. Every so lightly funky and tart, this would kick ass during the warm months. Simply a spectatularly crafted Saison

Photo of scottfrie
4.23/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a clear golden straw color with a fluffy, soft, dense, and thick bright white head faded to lasting collar and streaky lace.
S: A very bright nose that reminds me of a field of wildflowers. I get notes of lemon and honey, HF's characteristic yeast, and a touch of musty barrel funk.
T: Tons of barrel character, almost vinous. There's a light floral quality with some mild Sprite-like flavors, slight mineraliness, green apple, and tons of flowers and earth quality. Mild floral spice lingers in the aftertaste.
M: Creamy mouthfeel, sweet and lightly juicy, with a solid hop bitterness and a drying finish. Very soft carbonation.
O: A very bright and pleasant saison. Super light and smooth. Very enjoyable.

Photo of Stevedore
4.36/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

75cl bottle, bottle dated 7/2013, poured into a Hill Farmstead stemmed glass today, 2/27/2014. Thanks Matt, for this one.

App- Pours a hazy straw yellow-golden body, with a ginormous 3 finger white head with ridiculous retention. I had to take a few minutes admiring the body before I felt comfortable drinking this without getting a white mustache. But otherwise extensive lacing.

Smell- Smells an awful lot like the recent batch of Anna (fall 2013), but more sour- peppery, tart, earthy, floral. Very interesting.

Flavour- White peppers, floral hops (or is it the dandelion? I've never eaten a dandelion so I'm not sure), tartness and barnyard funk that I contribute to the Northeast Kingdom flora as I have gotten this in most of the recent Hill Farmstead saisons, a bit of citrus as well. Very complex and more interesting than Anna.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied, a bit overcarbonated but not nearly enough to take any enjoyment away from this beer. Ridiculously easy drinking, with a nice funky tart aftertaste typical of the Hill Farmstead saisons.

Overall- Could be my new favorite Hill Farmstead saison. I think this is more interesting and complex than Anna is, but its hard to say which saison I enjoyed drinking more.. I'd probably go with Anna on this one.

Photo of codysjb
4.9/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Hill Farmstead Vera Mai
Tried to Wax the bottle and the cap came off so I get to drink this. YAY!
A: Pours a cloudy straw/golden color. Lots of head plus it gushed open so a ton of head.
S: Lemon zest, farmhouse funk and that nice moldy/musky smell you get in rly old houses in Europe (or antique stores).
T: Wow, it sour. Theres a saison thing mixed with what tastes like a traditional gueuze.
M: Lemon sourness with some nice laid back farmhouse notes.
O: Hill Farmstead is amazing. I really just want to live next the brewery or at a bare min bottle and ship some stuff.

Photo of tigg924
4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a sam adams perfect pint glass

Appearance: 2 inch head, gold in color, clear, high-aggressive carbonation

Smell: dandelion, hay, and honey

Taste: hay, with dandelion stems in the middle giving a bittering effect and honey that shows up towards the end

Mouthfeel: really high carbonation, light bodied, dry, slightly bitter that becomes sweeter towards the end

Overall: Enjoyable,smooth and unique saison. Not my favorite from the brewery but still a saison I would get regularly if I can. The bittering of the dandelion combined with the honey makes this one stand out. A solid brew.

Photo of Sammy
3.63/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

John S's bottle, recent acquisition. Yellow with a huge head, significantly yeasty aroma. Honey and bitterness, very well carbonated much more so than other HF I have tried. Middling saison really, and the honey seemed to have neutralzed other flavours.Decent drinkability.

Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.35/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. Shared with schen9303.

Pours a giant, foamy 4 finger white head with fantastic retention. Almost too much. Lacing is thick, patchy, and sticky. Beer is a clear goldenrod. Pretty. Head is a bit too large here.

Nose is floral. Notes of cane sugar, honey, some coriander spice, citrus, and a mild cobweb funk. Aromatic and balanced. Real nice.

Opens citrus and a floral tartness. Just the right amount of sour throughout. Some peppercorn and coriander spice dot the experience left and right. More citrus towards the end with a mild flowery bitterness blending in towards the end. Finish is slightly tart and foamy with a lingering tart finish. Excellent.

Light bodied with high carbonation. Prickly and lively in the mouth and dry and quenching going down. Messy finish with a lingering aftertaste. Very satisfying. Exactly what I want from the style.

Just about everything I've had from Hill Farmstead has blown me away so far and this is no exception. Just the right amount of tartness with an incredible body to deliver the experience. Well worth trying!

Photo of dirtylou
4.41/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle, split, served in hill farmstead wine-glass

My first true hill-farmstead offering, graciously shared. Sharp carbonation, golden-yellow body with a healthy white foam head. Lots of light belgian yeast, fresh cut flowers, lemon and spice round out the flavor profile. This saison is nice and tart, light, crisp and really refreshing. I'm not sure what dandelions taste like, but i have to imagine its contributing the floral and earthy flavors. The honey works well too - this was a really nice beer.

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.08/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Golden yellow with a nice white head. Lace inside the glass and swirly designs on the surface.

Smell - Intensely floral. Also very yeasty. Pale malt and a white wine-like acidity.

Taste - Very yeasty. Flowery and winey. Grassy bitterness builds into the finish. Floral flavors linger.

Mouthfeel - Light. Crisp and spritzy. Nice flower flavor in the finish.

Overall - Very enjoyable. The flowers are intense, but the saison handles them well.

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

9-10-2011: Poured into a short tumbler glass with thick, very fluffy head that is 3-4 fingers high. The ale is a slightly hazy pale straw yellow with lots of carbonation action.  The appearance alone screams refreshing.  The aromas are of lemon with a slight Riesling-like tone and floral hops. It grabs your palate with a little bite of citrus, sweet tones from the honey, and ends with a grassy dandelion tone. The dandelion gives a parsley fresh, spring-like bitterness to this beer - yum!  Crisp, clean, and dry mouthfeel with perhaps too much on the carbonation. After breathing in the glass for a while the carbonation is about right. Excellent for a warm, sunny late summer day. 

9-29-2012: I had the 2012 two nights ago. It was completely different than te 2011. It has a sour quality and hits of honey, grape, and grassy dandelion. I would move taste to 5.0 and the 2012 would top the 2011 by far.

Photo of Rutager
4.54/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thank you Franklinn, you're a great BA.

Appearance. Pours a lightly hazy straw/yellow-gold with a finger+ of frothy white head.

Smell. Spicy, sweet and peppery saison yeast with a bit of lemon juice and light floral herbs.

Taste. Tart, sour lemon juice, a little bit of sweet and spicy saison yeast, and a lightly floral, herby light bitterness in the finish that I would have to assume comes from the dandelions and a little honey. Wow, very nice.

Mouthfeel. Maybe a little below medium body ...it's a little harder to tell than some beers with the acidity. Anyways, there's a pretty full amount of fine carbonation, maybe just a little too much but it's barely a complaint.

Overall. Probably the most sour saison I've had from HF but in combination with that dandelion bitterness, it works beautifully. Another top notch beer from HF. Huge fan of this brewery, it lives up to every bit of the hype. Thanks again Frank!!

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Poured a delicate hazy light yellow color ale with a super large foamy head with great retention and very good lacing. Aroma of fruity ester with nice floral undertones and some light honey notes. Taste is a wonderful mix between some rustic notes with some floral notes as well as some honey and light fruity ester. Body is quite full with great carbonation and no apparent alcohol. This is a great example of complexity and drinkability without being overly sweet and with great attenuation.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.08/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to hoppypocket for this one! Poured in to HF stemmed tulip.

A - Cloudy medium yellow with an orange glow around the edges. One finger of bright white head with good retention and good lacing.

S - Funk is noticeable up front with Belgian yeast, floral, lemon, coriander and sweet honey aromas also present.

T - Tartness and funk hit the tongue right away before the other flavours start to come through. Grass, lemon, big floral presence, coriander, Belgian yeast and some dill. Lighter lemon zest and spice in the background. The dandelion is not specifically noticeable but likely contributes to the big grassy and floral presence.

M - Light to medium body. Light carbonation. The typical HF dryness is present.

Photo of Bardwashrind
3.88/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared in a downtown Denver hotel room with Sandstone, Forgetfu and Nickd717 during the last few hours of my GABF "get out of the dog house" pass (signed off by the misses).

So much of my enjoyment with Hill Farmstead has been during the warmth of summer with the fresh air allowing my interests of refreshment to be heightened. This was a different interaction with the circumstances involved.

Pouring with a highly active amount of carbonation, Vara Mae is an obvious example of it's proposed style. Cloudy and almost green the beer really took on an appearance of it's base parts. Nature had and effect on the beverage, introducing a hue of wild fields full of flowers and the sun beaming upon the petals. Maybe the comparison is a touch forced, but the beer did have quite a distinct hue.

The aroma was soft and expressed a rustic yeasty edge. Some graininess and a bit of waxiness were also present. Not a typical Saison yeast aroma, more qualities of light pollen in the air than just fruity.

The flavor was very close to the aroma. Soft around the edges with bitterness being very low and dry as a bone. The honey could be tasted but didn't lend any sweetness, more floral and complex with that bees wax like flavor. The dandelions weren't a flavor I could have easily picked up on. Some wild flower like aromas but nothing to the point of spring daisies. Very pleasing and a nice palate cleanser among the other big hitters of the evening.

Photo of DearthVader
4.43/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks for this one phingdong!

Poured into my HF tulip

Pours a straw-like gold (much like the Anna I had last night). Yet again, I'm greeted by an extremely aggressive head. I filled the glass about half way and the foam raced up over the edges with no hesitation. Big globs of lacing are left behind.

I love HF's use of the big floral hops that they use in their Saisons. I smell huge bursts of wildflowers that are followed quickly by a lemon zest. The honey is hidden very well by the acidity of the lemon but it's definitely in there.

Taste is of extremely dry floral hops, fresh squeezed lemon, slight honey, and that glorious barnyard funk we all love.

This beer has the perfect balance with dryness and acidity. Its so damn refreshing with the light sweetness hidden in between the acidic beginning and extremely dry finish.

I could drink this stuff year round. One of the best Saisons made in the states that I've had the opportunity to try.

Photo of smakawhat
4.53/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a large tapered wine glass.

Classic Hill Farmstead look. Shocking bright white head, three fingers, massive retention, huge clumping and lacing. Body color is a gorgeous orb glowing honey gold and green hued just a touch. Just one aggresive looking brew.

Nose is floral and good sense of fresh mowed grass. Crisp honeycomb, and mild garden herbal notes. Very unique and lots of fun. It's like a garden in here, the beer smells of just dense pollen.

A really wondeful tartness. Quick puckering lemon citrus acid. A real punch that lingers just on and on even after the swallow. Creamy body, with a mild carbonation, extremely soft feel to the palate. Honey smacks the lips and lingers with a sense of floral lip balm on the skin. Tight quick carbonation that slowly evaporates on multiple sips. Slight chewy malt, but the beer is truly acidic forward with wonderful aromatics and flavors. Tannic coating on the aftertaste, mild tartness, and even a hint of Gose like salt.

Overall what more could you have expected from Hill Farmstead. More greatness what else.

Photo of yamar68
4.28/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My first beer from Hill Farmstead, all thanks to brooklynbrews - poured to a brandy snifter.

Beautiful to look at - pale cider/honey gold, foggy, a swelling pillow of white foam leaves exact lacing.

The nose is heavily floral, fresh grass, faint spicy yeast, very faint clove, very inviting.

Oooh... that's good. All the traditional characteristics of a good saison with the addition of something slightly tart and citric. Nice, dry finish - not thirst quenching dry but clean. The feel of the beer is spectacular. Plenty of body while maintaining a velvet smooth, easy drinking consistency. As it warms, the dandelion notes become obvious and it works so well with the beer.

So glad to have finally had something from this brewery. I can see why it excites people - very tasty stuff!

Photo of rlee1390
4.35/5  rDev +0.5%

A-Cloudy yellow, some carbonation, one finger head with lacing

S-Nice tart notes, wheat, lemon, grass, very mild honey

T-Starts with nice tartness, wheat, lemon, mild honey and dandilions are there as well imparting a grassy note.

M-Lighter, semi crips, semi dry finish as well.

O-Another stellar bill from HF, was worried about the honey and dandilions but they were great.

Photo of oline73
4.05/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was opened at the Baltimore BA August tasting. Poured from the bottle into a tasting snifter.

Appearance: Pours a really cloudy bright yellow color with a layer of white head. This is a really bright and cloudy beer.

Smell: Light and quite herbal. Mild citrus notes are here as well.

Taste: This is a very light and refreshing saison. Herbal and a bit tart, I'm getting some lemon along with the herbal yeast notes. I'm also getting some white wine notes. Definitely a nice summer beer.

Mouthfeel: The body is on the thin side of medium with tingly carbonation and a very dry finish.

Overall: This is another great summer beer. The lightness along with the herbal notes worked really well together. I'd have it again.

Photo of cwguy5
3.89/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

reviewed from notes. thanks to Msquared2 for sharing this one!

A - cloudy yellow with a huge, off-white head that left lots of sticky lacing all over the glass

S - freshly cut grass, lemon verbena, pale malt/light bisquit

T - green apple, lemon zest, white pepper; it stays fairly dry throughout with a moderate bitter finish

M - soft, light, carbonation; light body; dry and slightly herbal aftertaste

O - subtle flavors and nuanced palette make this very drinkable. not flavors that i want in my beer every day but a nice departure from the norm, for me at least

Photo of Number45forever
4.38/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally cracked open a Vera Mae over the weekend. It was outstanding! Pleasently tart, not sour by any means. It was one of the most refreshing things I've ever had. Like a super dry champagne on the tongue, very high amounts of carbonation.

Taste was of lemon, fresh greens, orange blossom honey. It was delightful. I'd drink this beer all the time, it was really great. I wish I had more time to explain.

Bottom line, as with all Hill Farmstead beers, if you get the chance to try this one: do it. Masterful.

Photo of BearsOnAcid
4.33/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The pour created a big glistening white head that sticks to the sides of the glass. Yellow body with an icy haze.

Signature HFS saison nose. Like a bouquet of flowers, very floral. Similar to Anna. Hay, lemons, fruity esters, and a leafy green smell stands out as it warms.

Taste is like a mouthful of fresh cut grass and dandelion greens at first. I was wondering how much the dandelions would stand out but this is right up front on the palate mixing in with the saison yeast. Hay and fresh flowers mid-palate. Leafy dandelion taste lingers. This beer is well attenuated with a fine tingling carbonation. This might not be for everyone but I think it's a great beer.

Photo of spinrsx
4.15/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750ml Bottle received in trade with cfrancis - thanks!

Appearance - Gold colour with an average size fizzy/frothy white head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is some greatlacing. The head lasted for 6-7 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Cloves, lemons, floral, a bit of funk

Taste & Mouth - There is an above average amount of carbonation and I can taste lots of floral notes, cloves and lemon juice/zest. There is also a fair amount of tart/sour funk going on.

Overall - I don't think this brewer makes a bad beer. This is a fantastic sour yet refreshing saison. My bottle gushed when I opened it, so beware.

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Vera Mae from Hill Farmstead Brewery
96 out of 100 based on 564 ratings.