Hill Farmstead Brewery

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Hill Farmstead Brewery
Vermont, United States
Czech Dark Lager
Ranked #1
Ranked #1,437
4.35 | pDev: 5.75%
Mar 30, 2024
Feb 19, 2019
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: 4.25 by moysauce from Illinois

Mar 30, 2024
Rated: 4.38 by hopley from Massachusetts

Mar 21, 2024
Rated: 4.78 by emptyglassagain from Massachusetts

Feb 17, 2024
Rated: 4.35 by AlpacaAlpaca from New York

Feb 09, 2024
Photo of SpeedwayJim
Reviewed by SpeedwayJim from New York

4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
750ml growler into a Plan Bee stein.

Pours a dark clear mahogany. 2 finger rich light coffee head. Thick, chunky lace. Nose is roasted malt, hazelnut, light cream, and smoke. Very aromatic and robust. Roasted malt, licorice, hazelnut up front. Light bit of burnt coffee and more nuttiness in the middle and end. Prickly tartness at the finish. Body is light with moderate to ample carbonation. Smooth and velvety on the palate and goes down aggressive and dry. Super clean finish.

This is excellent. One of the best dark lagers I've had hands down.
Jan 15, 2024
Rated: 4.34 by Travitten from Iowa

Jan 14, 2024
Rated: 4.77 by not2quick from Missouri

Dec 31, 2023
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Reviewed by papposilenus from New Hampshire

4.51/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
From a 750ml growler, filled 12/16/23. Served in a goblet.

Pours acorn-brown, essentially an unhighlighted black late on a dim December afternoon. A finger-plus of bubbly foam looks like proofing yeast. There’s a fat, bubbly, yeasty collar and a tattered curtain of gobby, sticky lacing.

Nose is clean and sharp. Aroma of a freshly torn open whole grain bread roll.

Taste is - oddly specifically - reminiscent of Bertucci’s bread rolls. Bready, crusty-toasty and yeasty, with a nutty sweetness up front and, later in the sip, a little bright, snappy bitterness. There’s a mild chicory coffee aftertaste.

Feel is silky smooth and probably it’s medium bodied but so buoyed up by fine and prickly, bright carbonation that it’s hard to pin down exactly.

Overall, sublime. There’s a lot happening but all, subtle, low-key. The mouthfeel alone is worth the price of admission.
Dec 17, 2023
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Reviewed by jlindros from Massachusetts

4.59/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
Draft at the brewery

Big creamy dense 2 finger tan head with great retention, sticky lacing, dark root beer brown color

Nose dark roasted malts, little espresso, nice rich cocoa, toasted sweet bread crust or chocolate pastry, little nutty biscuity

Taste brings loads of roasted malt flavor but tamed, little espresso roast, rich dried cocoa, into the sweet bread crust toasted character, grain, mild spicy herbal hop, touch nutty and biscuity again, smooth lager, med bitterness gives way to higher spicy herbal bitterness on the dry finish

Mouth is med to lighter bod, soft lager, med to higher almost prickly carb
Nov 17, 2023
Rated: 4.5 by heerboth from Pennsylvania

Oct 13, 2023
Rated: 4.29 by BFCarr from New Jersey

Oct 08, 2023
Rated: 4.09 by Roguer from Connecticut

Sep 10, 2023
Rated: 4.21 by Holderness from Massachusetts

Aug 19, 2023
Rated: 4.25 by bigred89 from Maryland

Aug 10, 2023
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Reviewed by Huhzubendah from District of Columbia

4.34/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
On draft at Hill Farmstead.

Russet brown body with a thick khaki hues head. Ample lacing / residue.

Clean and easy drinking. Biscuit, cracker, malty. Light medium body. Delicious.
Jul 28, 2023
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 +13.6%
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