Hill Farmstead Brewery

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Hill Farmstead Brewery
Vermont, United States
Czech Dark Lager
Ranked #1
Ranked #2,002
4.33 | pDev: 6%
Apr 03, 2023
Feb 19, 2019
Notes: In November of 2017, Shaun and I made a trip to the Czech Republic—a momentous one, in hindsight. Our inspiration from the experiences had there have been expressed most recently through Poetica and Memoria. One of my fondest memories was the discovery of true Czech dark lager (tmavé pivo). A perfect synthesis of slight roast, creamy carbonation, hinted-at hops—and immense satisfaction.

So, in October of 2018, Shaun brewed our first single-decocted dark lager and conditioned it at 3º Celsius—as we have with Poetica and Memoria—in one of our French oak puncheons for more than 3 months. The beer was then moved to stainless steel and krausened with fresh-fermenting lager to provide slow, gentle, natural carbonation.

This Wednesday, 20 February, we proudly pour for you Rhetorica.

Like Poetica and Memoria, Rhetorica furthers our exploration of wood-conditioned lagers, typifying our commitment to respectful yet forward-thinking refinement of classical brewing styles—a quiet veneration of the past that guides a progressive aspiration towards the future.

Rhetorica instantly transports me back to a warm spring day spent overlooking the Vltava and the spires of Praha from Letná Park while savoring a classic tmavé pivo—a gift, indeed.

Soft. Sincere. Simple.
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Rated: 4.29 by Tmappin from Canada (NS)

Apr 03, 2023
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Reviewed by GreesyFizeek from New York

4.94/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
Growler purchased from Hill Farmstead Brewery in Greensboro Bend, VT.

This one pours a very creamy looking dark black color, with a fluffy white head, and lots of lacing.

This smells like lightly roasted malt, creamy milk and dark chocolate, both, with some light spicing, rye bread, and coffee.

This is absolutely one of the best dark lagers in the entire country, and one of the best I’ve ever had. It’s just so luxuriously creamy and soft – it could taste like nothing, and still be enjoyable, with how luxuriously it drinks. But, luckily there’s a lot of complexities here – rye, coffee, light hop spice, lots of creamy chocolate, and just a wisp of roast that carries this thing home.

This is super creamy, rich while remaining light and soft, a really, really good pour. It’s unbelievably drinkable, I’m sad I shared the growler because drinking the whole thing would have been the easiest thing I’ve ever done.

This is the best lager that Hill Farmstead has ever done, and it’s in general one of their best beers ever.
Feb 17, 2023
Rated: 4.1 by jcoleMA66 from Massachusetts

Feb 06, 2023
Rated: 4.42 by Dicers from California

Jan 11, 2023
Rated: 4.23 by GregSemenza from Connecticut

Jan 04, 2023
Rated: 4.75 by chippo33 from Vermont

Dec 29, 2022
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Reviewed by stevoj from Idaho

3.93/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Draft at Hill Farmstead. Dark, muddy brown pour with a thick, creamy off-white head, rings of lacing. Light roasty aroma, chocolate. Taste is malty, nutty, light chocolate, creamy smooth. Mild bitterness at the finish.
Dec 01, 2022
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Reviewed by jrc1093 from Connecticut

4.61/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
Growler filled on 7/15/22; consumed on 7/28/22

Pours a ruddy, lightly fogged, deep mahogany body capped with two fingers of creamy, beige foam; solid head retention yields a half-finger of cap, a large, frothy collar, and a healthy spattering of spotty/webby lacing drawn out across the walls of the glass.

Aromas of fresh brown toast decompile vibrant yeastiness as subtle coffee grounds texture waves of minerality across the bouquet; touches of smoky toffee and a milk cocoa dusting are interspersed throughout a calm, level presentation of roast.

Taste opens to a soft lager yeast and wisp of oaky prickle into spent coffee grounds coating a subtle hop twinge; a touch of cocoa powder and shaved almonds over the mid-palate bring a noncommittal sweetness as brown bread crusts carry roast into the back end and a quaint minerality finishes.

Mouthfeel shows a light-medium body and a rounded, creamy fluff of moderate-high carbonation; silky, level textures phase into a fuzzy bitterness interspersed with a steady drying on the back end and ultimately clean finish sporting a distant, refined roast.

Complex layering of roasty sweetness finds a luxuriously textured parity with gentle oak underpinnings and whispering hop subtext in a preeminent summation of rustic tradition; a pure and stunning composition.
Jul 29, 2022
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Reviewed by Bhubbard34 from Pennsylvania

4.39/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
750 ml Growler
Filled 7/13/22
Drank on 7/18/22

Pours a dark caramel brown, with moderate head. Nice malty, yeast and bread aromas. Pleasant mild taste…caramel, nutty, toasted malt. Light carbonation. Not overly familiar with this style but I imagine this is a superb example. Great change up from my usual ipas
Jul 19, 2022
Rated: 4 by Newbeergeek1 from Maine

Jul 15, 2022
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Rated by npolachek from New York

4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Good beer in its class.
Jul 06, 2022
Rated: 4.21 by Chuckdiesel24 from Illinois

Jun 27, 2022
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Reviewed by mothman from Minnesota

4.65/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5
On tap at Hf.

I almost didn’t get this, thank goodness I did. Khaki head. Lace. Dark caramel brown color.

Toasted chestnuts and caramel. Cocoa and chocolate. Smooth, silky, creamy. Light earthy/spicy hop profile.

Light bodied, but packed with flavor. This is a treat.
Jun 24, 2022
Rated: 4.26 by ScaryEd from New Hampshire

Jun 15, 2022
Rated: 4.46 by johnlatona from New Jersey

May 26, 2022
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Reviewed by Siriusfisherman from Vermont

4.55/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5
Pours a dark brown with tints of red, a touch of haze, and a towering fluffy head from the side-pull tap. The aroma is of fresh baked bread, caramel and a touch of chocolate. The flavor is very rich for the strength, lots of melanoidin, and a nutty chocolate finish. Medium bodied but very fluffy and low carb. A top notch dark lager, one of my favorites from hill farmstead.
May 25, 2022
Rated: 3.96 by benjaminsa from Vermont

Jan 13, 2020
Rated: 3.72 by GuitarIPA from Connecticut

Dec 28, 2019
Rated: 4.25 by JLK7299 from North Carolina

Dec 27, 2019
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Reviewed by Hyptochrons from Massachusetts

4.75/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
nice looking beer, the head is super dense and frothy, beautiful lacing left on the glass. on palate it is very smooth, creamy even, pleasant roasted and nutty character, caramel, well done toast, a mellow hit of hops to keep it super crisp and refreshing. Each gulp begs for another.
Dec 20, 2019
Rated: 4.25 by rodmanfor3 from Vermont

Aug 12, 2019
Rated: 4.29 by smutty33 from Connecticut

Aug 07, 2019
Rated: 4.5 by von_kaiser from Connecticut

Jun 03, 2019
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Reviewed by Stevedore from Oregon

4.45/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
On draft at Hill Farmstead Brewery. Served in a dimpled mug.

Darker brown body, opaque with a one finger offwhite head, effervescent and creamy, good retention, plenty of lacing. Smell has a bit of pumpernickel, light cocoa, grainy malt and biscuit. Cereal. Flavour is a nice creamy cocoa powder, fair bit of grainy malt. Slight spice, like pumpernickel, bread and grains. Medium bodied, creamy to the extreme. Wonderful smooth chocolate experience. Great carbonation, as expected. Smooth, lovely from beginning to end.
May 24, 2019
Rated: 4.27 by PhineasMcClintock from Massachusetts

May 03, 2019
Rated: 4.08 by IBUBrew from Vermont

Apr 14, 2019
Rated: 4.63 by stevec32 from New York

Apr 11, 2019
Rated: 4 by Hayley_86 from Netherlands

Apr 08, 2019
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Reviewed by rudzud from Massachusetts

4.68/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
Enjoyed on tap at Armsby Abbey today.

A - Poured into a proper mug a nice crystal clear chestnut hue with a big, creamy three finger off white head that doesn't really want to go anywhere but when it does it paints the glass.

S - Big aromas of sweeter malts, fainter roast and toasted grains, good light bitterness as well. Smells like the beer I drank in central Europe.

T - Taste is similar to the nose with loads of fainter gentle roast notes. Almost coffee like roast, real good grain note, subtle sweetness with little flashes of hop bitterness on the end. Spectacular flavour going on here.

M - Mouthfeel is lightly carbonated, very gentle with just a flash of sharpness on the finish.

O - Overall this was a phenomenal European Dark Lager. Truly true to style, pure, well crafted. Make more of these Shaun, New England needs this.

Serving Type: on tap
Mar 28, 2019
Rated: 4.38 by Phineasco from Massachusetts

Mar 24, 2019
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Reviewed by StoutElk_92 from Massachusetts

4.77/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
Dark pour, super dense creamy head, smells like coffee, taste has molasses, raisin and slight caramel notes, some brown bread aftertaste, smooth, creamy and crisp
Mar 24, 2019
Rated: 4.38 by SkiBum22 from New York

Mar 22, 2019
Rated: 4 by 7irondave from Massachusetts

Mar 17, 2019
Rated: 4.25 by Dizzy242 from Massachusetts

Mar 07, 2019
Rated: 4 by Nichols33 from Massachusetts

Mar 04, 2019
Rated: 4.24 by xtonytx from Connecticut

Mar 03, 2019
Rated: 4.5 by acurtis from New Jersey

Mar 02, 2019
Rated: 4.27 by edthehead from Maryland

Feb 23, 2019
Rated: 4.29 by doremite from Vermont

Feb 22, 2019
Rated: 4.44 by SadMachine from New Jersey

Feb 22, 2019
Rhetorica from Hill Farmstead Brewery
Beer rating: 94 out of 100 with 43 ratings