Riwaka Pale Ale
Hill Farmstead Brewery

Riwaka Pale AleRiwaka Pale Ale
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Pale Ale - American
Ranked #26
Ranked #1,120
4.32 | pDev: 9.49%
Hill Farmstead Brewery
Vermont, United States
Riwaka Pale AleRiwaka Pale Ale
Notes: An American Pale Ale bittered, flavored, and dry hopped exclusively with one of our favorite hop varieties: New Zealand's rare and difficult to obtain Riwaka!
Reviews: 43 | Ratings: 217 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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Siriusfisherman from Vermont

4.32/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

L: Hazy yellow/orange with a thick Rocky head and good lacing.

S: Green bell pepper, white whine grape, orange. Very clean malt presence, stonefruit esters.

T: Mild bitterness, pithy citrus, some spice, peach. Light bready malt flavor.

F: Full bodied, somewhat sweet finish. Not in a bad way though.

Overall: A very tasty pale ale with a unique hop character. Great single hop showcase.

Sep 23, 2020
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DefenCorps from Oregon

3.99/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Canned Oct 29, received in trade with rodman3. Thanks, Rick!

A mildly hazy orange with a dense, off-white head with excellent retention and gorgeous lacing, this looks great. The nose is soft, fruity, with plenty of passionfruit to go along with a melony blend of honeydew and watermelon, a mildly spicy, peppery, minty note, an undercurrent of citrus, particularly fresh squeezed OJ and alongside everything, a mild allium note, kind of like fresh ramps. The palate opens mildly spicy with a peppery, arugula like sharpness (but clearly not vegetal) coupled with a strong passionfruit note. Clean, juicy hops, with a little melon, peach and a good amount of OJ. The mid-palate is a little thin, resulting a slightly watery feel that seems strange coupled with the potently juicy passionfruit that lingers on in the finish. The spicy note from the hops are really tasty, and the flavors are tasty, but the watery flavors do bother me a little.

Dec 27, 2019
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bobv from Vermont

4.46/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. can.
Canned 10/29/19.
I had this the day it was canned, then about a week later, then two weeks later, and finally this evening at 25 days old. Delicious! Moderate to vigorous pour yields a one inch white head over a hazy light golden body with sticky lacing. Earthy, floral, and herbal nose with slight tropical fruit. Taste mirrors nose somewhat with tropical fruit flavors coming forward. Very nice finish of melon with slight lemon. Nice, soft feel and overall, a very unique hop provides a very unique experience. Cheers to Shaun!

Nov 23, 2019
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Franziskaner from Missouri

4.22/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Straw yellow in color with a pronounced haziness in the body. There a quarter inch of creamy dishwater white on top. The aroma is of pungent vegetal to earthy hops, palm leaves, and unripe melon. I’m tasting palm leaves, unripe melon, green vegetables, and earthy hops. The mouth is very smooth and delicate.

Nov 16, 2019
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SABERG from Massachusetts

4.19/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz can packaged 12 days ago, into the test glass
A - Textbook HFB backdrop, golden, glowing, loose knit white frothy cap. Carbonation hides in the haze and provides constant support.
S - Earthy and tropical, ripe melon, and cut grass, a very nice spice thread is buried in there, touches of white pepper, grapefruit peel, and peach flesh.
T - Flavors are in that melon, pineapple, and earthy category, malts add a balanced sweet element. Fresh ripe peach is a thread that adds some balance.
M - So soft on the palate, wanders across the experience, semi sweet start, followed by a full tropical wave, chased by some gentle spice reminders. Finish is complete in a flash.
O - A wonderful single expression of this hop. The base is a delight, add the hop treatment and you have a treat. Time is needed to pull this one apart, The reward is worth the effort

Nov 10, 2019
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Jwale73 from Rhode Island

3.86/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Served in a willibecker. Pours a dull, hazy orange with a frothy, half inch, bright white head. Nose is interesting - very earthy with just a hint of citrus in the background. Taste reveals green cantaloupe; earthy character in the nose is very much diminished in the flavor profile. Mouthfeel is light-medium in body (closer to light) with a soft, even carbonation. Overall, my first experience with this hop. It's very interesting; however, I'm not quite sure how I feel about it.

Sep 02, 2019
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GuyFawkes from Illinois

4.34/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

"Best consumed by 8/26/16"; drank 8/26/16 (1) @ Harvest Hop Haus.

Opaque dull yellow appearance.

Small bright white head; frothy lace.

Lemon, melon & fresh bread notes in the nose.

Medium mouthfeel.

Melon, fresh bread & mild fresh earth flavors up front; lemon spritz notes on the finish.

Unique, challenging & rewarding; a grower!

Sep 01, 2019
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Damasen from Massachusetts

4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This hop is earthy and spicy which plays well with HF 's yeast strain. There is some citrus notes over a solid body. Overall a very interesting hop and pale ale.

Jul 06, 2019
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Luscious_Malfoy from Illinois

4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

originally rated from a growler (4.4 overall) reviewed from a 12oz van poured into a perennial willi becher glass. pours a hazy golden orange with fluffy white head. nose is great. get that earthy oniony smell as i do with nelson but this has more ripe melon aromas to it. very intense for an APA. taste has all the elements of the smell but perhaps is more concentrated on the ripe melon element. really very tasting. hard to knock this beer for anything as the mouthfeel is exquisite for the style. not too carbonated and very smooth, easy drinking and refreshing. overall, this can travelled a little better than the growler and is definitely another winner from HF. NZ hops for life.

Jun 16, 2019
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GreesyFizeek from New York

4.55/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Blackback Pub in Waterbury, VT.

This one pours a hazy soft looking orange color, with a small head, and lots of lacing.

Smells like lots of mango, pineapple, spice, lime, and grapefruit. There's a really exotic feel to this one.

I'm really not sure If I've ever had anything with Riwaka- but if this beer is any indication (it obviously is), then I really like Riwaka hops. There's some definite lime and passionfruit, which is cool, with some grapefruit, pineapple, and orange, and basically no malt character. There's a slight bitterness on the finish, but this definitely has less of a bitter bite than most HF IPAs.

This has a really really juicy mouthfeel- it's like drinking a cloud. I love it.

What's the point of even reviewing Hill Farmstead anymore? You know they're all going to be so good.

Sep 19, 2016
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kevanb from Illinois

3.91/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.75

750ml growler, freshly filled, poured into a Hill Farmstead oversized wine glass. Enjoyed on 8.19.16, reviewed from Tasting Journal.

The beer pours a bright orange and copper color, hazy and cloudy with a foamy white head, about a finger and a half high that has great retention and yields beautiful lace. The aroma is of white wine grapes, citrus peel, tropical fruits that starts off very sweet but explodes with a rye like spiciness and doughy malt, really offsets the sweetness, but it's still hard to say it's balanced. The flavors are good, the rye spice is no surprise this time as it leaps out of the glass, earthy and malty with some tropical passionfruit, citrus rind, mineral water, doughiness that lingers with hardly any bitterness. The mouthfeel is nice, smooth, coating, lively carbonation that is soft and gentle with, medium body and a smooth finish, lightly dry.

Verdict: A nice pale ale from Hill Farmstead and a very interesting hop. It reminds me a lot of Nelson but heavier on the spice while still being tropical and fruity. I don't know if I would race to have a beer that is a single hop Riwaka again, but I'd certainly not turn one down. Definitely a great expression of the hop, but perhaps not my favorite hop.

Sep 14, 2016
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lic217 from Connecticut

4.22/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look: Very hazy, small head that disappears fast
Smell: Pear and another smell that I cannot identify, but it's very interesting
Taste: Tropical fruit and that smell in the taste that I cannot identify, some citrus. A little tea and herbal as it warms too. Starts slightly sweet and ends with a very light lingering bitterness
Feel: Very light and drinkable, extremely refreshing, soft bitterness at the end
Overall A very enjoyable beer, without a lot of complexity

Sep 01, 2016
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Alieniloquium from Florida

4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL growler. Hazy orange. Smell is fascinating. It has an aroma I cannot pinpoint for the life of me. Best I can describe it is peppercorns, light tropical fruits, orange, and grapefruit. Tastes much softer up front. Light citrus. A little grapefruit. Light grainy malt and doughy sweetness. Has just a bit of the peppercorn bite, but no real bitterness. Medium body. Medium carbonation. Could use just a little more bitterness, but it's a fascinating hop.

Aug 30, 2016
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Lochnessmonster from Florida

4.42/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this onsite at Hill Farmstead - one of the standout delicious pale ales I had while there. I'm pretty sure this was my first experience with the Riwaka hop, and I hope it shows up in many of my future beers!

Aug 26, 2016
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Skrip from New Jersey

4.66/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml growler poured into a Hill Farmstead Willi Becher.

A~ light glowing yellow/orange with a nice head and a little lacing.

S~ spicy up front! hmm... earthy grass, schezwan, black pepper, and peppercorns all followed by a little tropical fruit mango, pineapple and a little grapefruit.

T~ follows the nose but more subtle here. a little less on the spice and more on the tropical fruit! love it!

M~ super smooth and refreshing, i could drink this all day long! nice carb. as well!

O~ this has to be my favorite pale offering from HF! i'm a sucker for spice and this hop really hits home! i don't know how i missed this the last time it was around but its been years! i wonder if the last batch tasted like this as well?? (if anyone has any info, shoot me a message) otherwise just find a way to try this! totally worth it!

Aug 18, 2016
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JLK7299 from North Carolina

4.8/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I actually had the Riwaka Single hop while I was at Hill but that isn't listed as an option so I will just post here. The Riwaka was my favorite I had while on my venture to Hill. Every beer I got there was phenominal. I left with several 64 oz growlers but I really regret not getting 2 of the Riwaka!

Aug 12, 2016
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yourefragile from District of Columbia

4.79/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

On tap at Prohibition Pig weekend of 2012 Harvest Festival.

Pours a cloudy light golden amber color with a generous white head, great retention and lacing. Aroma and flavor took me by surprise as I wasn't expecting something quite so unique while being exactly what expected. Loads of tropical and juicy citrus hops, but there was a slight tropical leafiness as well that added a slight spice and earthiness that enhanced the juicy and sweet flavor (without distracting). One of my favorite HF I/A PAs.

Jan 13, 2013
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Thorpe429 from Illinois

4.52/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Moll for grabbing the growler for me. Served in Hill Farmstead stemware. Plenty of citrus peel and light pine. A bit floral. Flavor is quite dry and very bitter. Light body. Excellent. This was simply incredible. Shaun really knows what he's doing and, especially when it comes to hoppy beers, can't seem to miss.

Dec 16, 2012
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largadeer from California

3.85/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Arbitrator shared this one several weeks back. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance: Hazy, milky blond body with a tall white head that retains well.

Smell: Quite grassy up front, which eventually dissipates and reveals pineapple, lime and green tea. Yeast and malt are pretty neutral and allow the unusual hop aromas to shine. The hop character is unique, interesting and fairly enjoyable, but I'm not blown away by it.

Palate: Grainy, a bit gritty in texture, presumably from hop particles that didn't fully settle out. Lime and green tea flavors are prominent, with a touch of grapefruit bitterness toward the finish. Light and dry on the tongue, and firmly bitter in the finish. This is good and easy-drinking, but HF has made more impressive pale ales.

Oct 24, 2012
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seeswo from Ohio

4.42/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Typical stellar looking HF single hop pale ale. Light enough to be potentially mistaken for a saison with a nice whitish head. I don't know if that is supposed to look good or if I am been trained that when I see that, it is a HF hoppy beer and will be good. Either way, looks great.

Now let me explain. Had this one time in the middle of a substantial tasting and really didn't like it. Earthy, grassy...just a bit odd. This new go is on a growler where this is all I'm doing. Reinterpretation of the smell and flavor of this beer - gueuze. The nose is really funky and smells like a very hoppy gueuze. I am now appreciating it and it smells unbelievable. Grassy, minerally. I can even say that it reminds me specifically of Drie Fonteinen Oude Gueuze. The taste is quite hoppy with a very mild gueuzey/minerally/grassy funk. Doesn't taste quite as good as it smells, but it is really nice.

As with all of these HF beers, the body is medium/light with good carbonation and everything seeming to be dead-on. I mean, the man knows what he is doing.

Overall, this beer is pretty great. I could stick my nose in it for hours. Doesn't deliver as much on the taste as it does the smell, but I now have the best context to understand it - it's a gueuze IPA and now I think it is a revelation.

Oct 21, 2012
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Luk13 from Canada (QC)

4.7/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at HF Harvest Fest and growler. Hazy gold pour with white head. Super powerful nose, spicy hops, very very citrusy - quite unique hop aroma, definitely new to me, a kind of mix of spice, lemon and grapefruit. Pretty exotic. Taste is sharp and hoppy, very fresh, citrus zest and grapefruity finish. Super tasty APA. My favourite with What is Enlightenment.

Oct 14, 2012
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Gosox8787 from New Hampshire

4.35/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 2L growler chilled and poured into a pint glass. Filled from the brewery on Saturday.

Appearance: Pours a really nice, two finger white and creamy head with really good retention. Sticks incredibly well to the glass. Color is the typical light yellow to orange in color.

Aroma: Really interesting and unique tropical profile. Mango, pineapple and lots of orange zest. Very citrusy. Some bittering hops and a light biscuit tones.

Taste: Big, bright citrus and hop notes with lots of bittering notes. Very tropical and drinkable. A really nice balance of hop sweetness and hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied and crisp. Very refreshing and easy to drink as evidenced by me drinking the entire 2L myself.

Overall, a really single hop beer that does a great job of showcasing this hop variety. I am not to famaliar with this hop, but the tropical and citrus notes are really tasty. Very nice balance throughout. Definitely a good single hop beer and another great HF beer. Not sure if it is my favorite IPA from them but it definitely is good.

Oct 12, 2012
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koopa from New Jersey

4.15/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler filled at the brewery.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy golden to pale orange juice color with a 1 finger white crown comprised of fine/dense carbonation bubbles that show moderate retention and good lace.

Smell: Grapefruit, loads of pith, lightly grassy notes, bready malt, a touch of brewing salts, and the tiniest burnt rubber quality.

Taste: Same as the nose but that burnt rubber quality is more apparent. The burnt rubber quality was much more prevalent in a draft sample I had the same weekend at the Blackback Pub. It's also a quality I've tasted in other hoppy beers that didn't use Riwaka before. It's probably just the way my palate presents some particular types of hops or perhaps a particular amount of hop bitterness or something. As the beer warmed I seemed to notice it less.

Mouthfeel: Thick side of thin bodied with medium carbonation. A touch too thin for my liking.

Overall: A fairly stock HF hoppy beer which means it's really good! The riwaka hops are nice but they didn't wow me like I wanted them to.

Oct 09, 2012
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Huhzubendah from District of Columbia

4.75/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Very excited about this one. The beer is similar in appearance to most other HF IPAs. Orange with a white head. The aroma is fabulous, with a huge hop presence. Light in body, with a nice bouquet of citrus. A tad sweet, but not too. So drinkable. Fluffy and soft on the palate. Elegant bitterness in the finish. Overall, this was simply terrific.

Sep 28, 2012
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DrinkSlurm from New York

4.37/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from tap into provided stemware at the 2012 Harvest Fest. Pours a hazy light orangey hay with a good amount of foam. Huge huge hop aromas...realy nice pine and citrus. Taste is fantastic pine, citrus, grass hop flavor but almost bitter/sweet at the same time. Very well balanced with the malts as the usual hop bomb bitterness is so well masked that just the hop flavor is noticeable. Superb huge hop APA!

Sep 26, 2012
Riwaka Pale Ale from Hill Farmstead Brewery
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 217 ratings