Hill Farmstead Brewery

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Lager - Helles
Ranked #2
Ranked #2,563
4.21 | pDev: 6.65%
Hill Farmstead Brewery
Vermont, United States
Notes: Unfiltered Helles Lager

Marie-Ange (1907 - 1996) is our maternal great-grandmother, fondly remembered as Mémé. Born in Quebec, she emigrated to the Northeast Kingdom with her husband Edward J. Fournier. In her honor, we brew a beautifully soft, unfiltered Helles lager. Lightly hazy, naturally carbonated and truly enjoyable, this is the beer we dream to have shared with Marie.
Reviews: 40 | Ratings: 167 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of papposilenus
papposilenus from New Hampshire

4.49/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

From a 16oz can, dated 04/27/21. Served in a pilsner glass.

Pours a crystalline, brilliant honey colour with only sparse visible carbonation and a two finger puff of white foam. Retention is good, leaving a heavy, sudsy cap and a thick curtain of foamy lacing.

Rich and robust nose of bread dough. There’s a savory, tangy aroma detected but it’s nearly buried under a blanket of dough.

Taste is in line with the nose if less heavy than expected. White bread, chamomile tea, clover, a light touch of spice and must, caramel cremes. Vanishingly low bitterness and smooth as glass.

Feel is doughy-smooth, with a fairly hefty, full, chewy body and gentle barely-adequate carbonation. I guess it might have benefited from maybe just a few more bubbles, what with how full bodied it is otherwise.

Yum. It took two cans to finish the review because I kept taking involuntary gulps.

Friday at 10:46 PM
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jrc1093 from Connecticut

4.43/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Canned on 4/6/21; consumed on 4/21/21

Pours a crystal-clear, pale honey-gold body, sporting a torrent of steadily rising effervescence streaming upward towards a multi-finger, fluffy, eggshell-white head; great retention leaves a thin layer of frothy cap coating the surface along with a soapy, almost creamy collar along the edges and dense, persistent rings of webby lacing a stalwart presence across the walls of the glass.

Aroma opens to some of the most vivid impressions of wildflower honey one is likely to encounter in a brew of this form, soon trailed by fresh bread dough and distant touches of increasingly crusty toast; wet rocks evolve into a deft, rounded minerality informing from the backdrop, while rice cracker and vague hints of lemon zest are dispersed sparingly into the close.

Taste brings pillowy honeysuckle to face crusty white bread upfront, in turn setting up flaked malt eased with a wispy grass past mid-palate; brightly floral accents develop, with soft lemon and orange oils backing up touches of wildflower honey and toast on the finish.

Mouthfeel shows a light body accompanied by a rounded, full carbonation expressing calmly to an almost crackling dryness into the mid-palate; a zesty brightness is met with a quasi-bitterness, ringling the palate atop denser malt textures for a surprisingly surging harmony culminating in an extensively clean finish.

Proceeding from an initial, expansive display of detailed pale malt depth to a tempered culmination of the most sessionable elements of the style, this is a direct and forward, linear expression of lagered amplitude; the sum of its parts entirely, almost ethereally understated as a beer ascending towards the peak of its style.

Apr 22, 2021
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ovaltine from Indiana

4.42/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A nicely hazed (hello unfiltered) straw color with a creamy white head, this gorgeous beer sports ample grassy aromas up front, with some bread and crackers following.

Resisting the urge to gulp this down is truly a challenge, because the grassy flavors, which are dominant, are complemented so well by the doughy bread flavor and that little speck of cracker. Truly the definition of crushable.

The mouthfeel is strikingly crisp, lending itself to the crushable factor. What a pleasure it is to drink this world-class lager from a world-class brewery.

Oct 10, 2020
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FBarber from Illinois

4.19/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a crystal clear, straw color. Two to three finger head collapses pretty steadily leaving just a thin film of foam on top of the beer. Aroma has notes of sweet bread, doughy yeast, with a very light grassy hop note.
Taste follows the nose with notes of white bread, dough, doughy yeast, with some light grassy herbals hops on the back end. Feel is light to medium bodied. Crisp with bright carbonation. Semi-dry finish.

I am thoroughly impressed with this one. This is a really well done, traditional helles.

Sep 11, 2020
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Roy_Hobbs from Connecticut

4.39/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Canned 8/4/20. Pours a clear, light straw color appropriate for the style with an inch of frothy head that lasted maybe a minute before fading away. Aroma is grass, grain & bread. Taste is fresh bread, grain & maybe a little biscuit. Finished crisp and clean with some nice, light hops. While lagers almost never seem to pull huge ratings on BA, this is an absolutely fantastic Helles Lager. Super clean, and the kind of beer you could throw down several of without blinking an eye.

Aug 23, 2020
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Siriusfisherman from Vermont

4.68/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

L: Clear golden with a pillowy white head and nice lacing.

S: Spicy noble hops, bready crackery malt. Not a touch of sulfur.

T: Very similar to the aroma, very clean taste with a beautiful interplay between the spicy, herbal hop character and the bready malt backbone.

F: Light body and crisp mouthfeel.

Overall: A simple and delicous beer, the perfect light lager. Hill Farmstead continues to amaze me.

Aug 12, 2020
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Holderness from Massachusetts

4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Probably the best Helles lager I've had to date. Hill Farmstead once again proves that you don't have to chase the hype to be good; you just need an obsessive eye towards quality


Jul 06, 2020
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npolachek from New York

4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden yellow pour. Some spice, but a decent Helles Lager. Goof for its style - but not the most amazing offering from Hill Farmstead. Drinakable and good.

Jun 28, 2020
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BEERMILER12 from Maine

4.19/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a golden yellow color with 2 fingers of head that fades down to a nice cap that leaves good lacing

S: Grassy and spicy noble hops up front along with some bready malt and grainy notes

T: Follows the nose. Starts off with the grassy and spicy hops and then picks up the bready maltiness and grain. Finishes with lingering grass and bread

M: Light bodied with moderate carbonation

O: A very good helles that is super easy to drink. Definitely worth checking out

May 03, 2020
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mushroomcloud from Texas

4.14/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

16oz canned on 9-3-19. Opened on 10-10-19.
1" white head, decent retention as it recedes to a solid 1/4" slowly. Unfiltered straw gold, still with decent clarity. Early lacing forming at the top of the pint.
Sweet grain, feed store grain - earthy and floral hop backing. Delicate and appealing aroma.
Malt, sweet and grainy - followed by floral and slightly herbal hops. Simple but very tasty.
Bright, cool entry - soft mouthfeel. Low to medium carbonation. Low bitterness. Sweet malt start to an off dry finish.
Very good. Would be a constant drinker if I had access to it.
Really impressed with this brewery - everything I have had the opportunity to taste has been so well made and nothing over the top.

Oct 11, 2019
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Gatch from Rhode Island

4.83/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On-tap at Armsby Abbey. Finally trying this beer! One of my favorite styles and I knew HF would go above and beyond. Smells like freshly made bread dough, flavor is tons of sweet bready malt with a delicious hop hill, and feel/finish is simply stellar. This is how a Helles is executed properly and how I expect them to taste in the small towns and villages of Bavaria.

Sep 29, 2019
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jlindros from Massachusetts

4.53/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Canned 7/01/19, if there is any American brewery that can nail a Helles, I think Shaun would be the one.
Pours a large creamy dense slight pillowy white head with great retention, light whispy lacing, crystal clear lemony yellow color

Nose is great, reminds me of Weihenstephaner, big grainy-sweet malt, big German pilsner malt bringing a touch of corn with it, straw and bread dough, faint floral herbal hop

Taste brings more of the same, big pilsner malt out front with more corn DMS, but a bit more corn than the nose, grain-sweet malt and some straw, some bread dough, clean lager, hops are moderate with medium bitterness and a herbal floral hop flavor also medium, turning a bit spicy late, clean crisp finish, with a bit more crisp hop bitterness probably a little sulfate addition to add to that spicy hop crisp bitterness but I don't pickup any sulfate flavors so must be the perfect balance

Mouth is med to lighter bod but soft lager and crisp finish, medium to lighter carb

Overall this nails a good German Helles as I expected, perfect hop level (which no other American brewery has nailed), great malt character, nice level of DMS corn, nice clean soft lager, good crisp hop finish but without sulfate flavors, this was delicious and well done. if I have to nit pick anything, I'd say carbonation is a tad low.

Aug 08, 2019
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4DAloveofSTOUT from Illinois

4.47/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

16oz tallboy poured into Hill Farmstead stemmed globe.

canned: 7/1/19
drink by: 10/1/19

Appearance: Translucent pale straw yellow bodied beer with tall bone white head. Head sticking all over the glass with great head retention.

Smell: Liquid bread. Light fruity lager yeast aromas. Floral hops. Honey.

Taste: doughy malt flavors that have a subtle toasty & light sweetness. Honey in the middle with a hint of fruity lager yeast. Finishes with a light bitterness of floral, grass, & earthy hop notes. Flavors are extremely well balanced and the flavor profile is overall lightly sweet from the grain bill used for this unfiltered beer.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied with medium carbonation. Soft and creamy carbonation with a crisp and lightly dry crisp finish. This just wows the palate. Unfiltered lager is at near perfection.

Overall: This is just as good as Dovetail Helles Lager. Marie and Dovetail Helles are easily the best two German Helles Lagers that I have encountered. The flavors profile are balanced and complex. The mouthfeel is what really takes the beer over the top. Marie is yet another example of the high quality beers that Hill Farmstead can pump out. The brewers at Hill Farmstead can make a German Helles Lager so authentic that you would think you were drinking this beer right off a draft line in Germany.

Aug 04, 2019
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Tsar_Riga from Indiana

4.53/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another fantastic beer. Golden body and fluffy head, moderate lacing. The flavor is rich with honey notes, a bright drinkable feel. Another solid offering.

Jun 11, 2019
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Jwale73 from Rhode Island

4.09/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

16oz. can served in a willibecker. Pours a lovely straw gold with a loose, quarter inch, off-white head. Clarity has the slightest haze. Nose reveals grassy notes and aromas of bread dough. Taste follows nose - bread dough comes out at the finish. Backbone is grassy and also expresses hints of noble hops. Mouthfeel is light in body with a carbonation just shy of lively and a semi-crisp finish. Overall, lovely, delicate and drinkable. High marks!

May 15, 2019
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Sabtos from Ohio

4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Barely sparkling, slightly foggy gold with a tall airy white foam collapsing to a fuzzy uneven film leaving spongy cobweb lace all over.

While the nose is softly floral, Marie is promptly crisp on the tongue, but then suddenly silky smooth, delivering flavors of light popped corn, grass and mildly bitter wild greens. These glide into toasted wheat and a dry finish that brings out a faint hint of farmhouse. She's substantially round, fluffy and almost full of body on the palate, and it is so fulfilling.

Despite the noted mild bitterness in the middle, in contrast to Mary's spicier complexity, Marie is overall sweet, giving off a honeycomb vibe in the end.

Apr 30, 2019
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Phyl21ca from Canada (QC)

3.74/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Can: Poured a nice bright golden color lager with a huge white foamy head with great retention and some lacing. Aroma of cereal notes with light dry floral notes and some subtle butter notes are also discernible. Taste is a nice mix of cereal notes with some light residual sugar notes with some light butter notes and dry floral finish. Body is about average with good carbonation. Solid rendition of the style with great drinkability.

Jan 22, 2019
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PHBoiler from Illinois

4.49/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Top of this style. Clean and crisp from start to finish. Bread and cracker malt profile. Nice carb and smooth body. Hint of bitterness on the finish.

Jul 13, 2018
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

4.03/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

a definite change of pace from the ipas and the wild ales these guys are known for, but a really well done and massively drinkable lager here, lender further credence to the idea that these guys really are one of the most competent and versatile breweries out there. a keller type lager here, unfiltered and clean still, pale like straw, uniformly hazy but its minimal, i can still see through this well enough, and it holds a nice white head from the tap with spider web lacing as it fades back. aroma and flavor are pretty classically german, minerals and dry rustic lager yeast on top of a very simple, earthy, biscuity pale malt base, not a whole lot to this one, but there is beauty in simplicity, and this is a fine example of that. dry in the feel, but with some body, upbeat carbonation too. notes of dried grass and hay, summer in the country, delicious grain driven pale beer, patiently lagered, and of the high quality we have all come to know and love these guys for. certainly not their most dynamic brew, but a nice addition to the lineup!

Jun 25, 2018
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JerzDevl2000 from New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Traded for this in front of Other Half not too long ago, never reviewing a small can from these guys before. The bottom read "MARIE" with "1335" written below that and unlike many of the beers that I have here, I didn't want this to age. I don't drink this style much but if I did, I would want it to be like this as this was quite enjoyable and smooth without feeling weak or watered-down. What else could one ask for from a beer like this?

Lovely golden hue to this with plenty of fluffy head to top it off. Not as much lacing left behind though there were a few hints of rings along the back of my pint glass. Noble hops, white cheese, grass, and cracker in the nose with all of those being present in the taste. A light citrus twang, dough, and grass came through in the taste which was exactly as it should be for a beer like this - bright, lively, and clean. Plenty of carbonation to go around and a surprising amount of slickness as well ensured that this would go down easily and smoothly.

That it did, and the low presence of alcohol was a plus as it would be easy to quaff more of this, had there been more that one can of it lying around. Lovely stuff that would turn anyone onto Lagers, let alone a Munich Helles. Nice job all-around by these guys!

Jun 07, 2018
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angrybabboon from Massachusetts

4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Consumed 6/3/18

A: Light to medium gold - nicely clear - pours with a medium-large head, fades to a wispy cap, retains a small-medium collar and leaves some streaks and webs of lacing

S: Soft, light bread and some light noble hops - light bread, freshly baked bread, bread dough, and a touch of crackers - pilsner and Munich malts - light notes of hops, some spice and some grass - some light, biscuit-like sweetness, very clean overall

T: Light bread, like a slice of fresh bread, with some notes of bread dough, crackers and biscuits - touches of grain, cereal - pils and Munich malts - light hops, with some spice and grass - light malty sweetness - very clean lager yeast - just a touch of lemon, light fruit, hint of honey - mostly clean but some lingering sweetness

M: Light body,medium carbonation, crisp with some smoothness, clean

O: Straight out of Munich, mostly

I've been eager to try Marie for quite some time. Through some great fortune, I was able to buy cans when I recently went to Hill Farmstead. It's pretty much what I had hoped; it's great. Ultimately, compared to some of my other favorites in this style, it's a touch too sweet, and Hill Farmstead's house lager yeast is almost too clean (yeah, that sounds stupid), but I look forward to drinking as much of this as possible.

Jun 04, 2018
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smcolw from Massachusetts

4.03/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Light green hue to the otherwise straw colored liquid. Solid and lasting white head. Wide streaks for lace.

Grainy nose with lighter pale malt. Light pepper in the background at the end of the smell.

The taste is appropriately fruity but the finish is tad bit more spicy bitter. Full bodied with adequate carbonation. The finish is peppery like the smell leaving a long aftertaste.

Mar 24, 2018
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Luscious_Malfoy from Illinois

4.48/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

poured from a 16oz can into a dimpled mug. pours semi hazy gold with three fingers worth of fluffy white head. smells of rich, semisweet bread maltiness with some slight floral hop aromas to back it up. tastes packs a lot of the same bready malt flavors with subtle hops backing it all up. it’s a very floral as opposed to spicy hop character and i almost get a buttered corn smell and taste from this beer. it’s delicious at any rate. feel is smooth andfull with a lower level of carbonation than i would expect of the style. overall, really enjoy this one from HF. i would drink this beer on a regular basis if proximity allowed. it’s so light and refreshing yet full of flavor. well done.

Oct 31, 2017
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PEBKAC from North Carolina

3.68/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Half pour at Upright Brew House.

Chill hazed, straw-colored, leggy brew.

Smell is dry malt with a tiny bit of astringency/Asprin.

Taste is toasty, light, and determined to be dry. Grain, veg, sediment. Mild sweetness. Dusty & salivating. Perfect carbonation.

Pretty quafable.

Oct 24, 2017
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kevanb from Illinois

4.14/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

750ml growler, poured into a 16oz tumbler glass. Enjoyed on 6.28.17, reviewed from Tasting Journal.

The beer pours a bright golden color, nice and clear with lots of bubbles rising to the top of the glass where a foamy white head sits, about two fingers tall with great retention and lace. The aroma is very nice, soft noble hops, light grassy and earthy character, a touch of citrus with soft pale doughy malt and lots of mineral water. The flavors are great, very refreshing pilsener malt flavor, bready and doughy with lots of mineral water while the hop character is so delicate and offers some grassy and floral brightness with a bit of citrus rind that lingers well. The mouthfeel is great, bubbly, lively, crisp light body with a dry but smooth finish.

Verdict: A great Helles lager from Hill Farmstead. Right up there with Mary and showcases how well rounded of a brewery Hill Farmstead really is, just nailing such a diverse range of styles. I think I prefer Mary to this, the flavor profile is a touch more nuanced and developed, but this beer is so refreshing and delightful.

Sep 22, 2017
Marie from Hill Farmstead Brewery
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 167 ratings