Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Riwaka Pale Ale | Hill Farmstead Brewery

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
34 Reviews
no score
Send samples

Brewed by:
Hill Farmstead Brewery
Vermont, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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!

Added by Brad007 on 12-31-2010

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Reviews: 34 | Ratings: 164
Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.55/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

 816 characters

Photo of kevanb
3.91/5  rDev -10.9%
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.

 1,241 characters

Photo of lic217
4.22/5  rDev -3.9%
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

 468 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
4/5  rDev -8.9%
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.

 471 characters

Photo of Lochnessmonster
4.42/5  rDev +0.7%
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!

 216 characters

Photo of Skrip
4.66/5  rDev +6.2%
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!

 829 characters

Photo of JLK7299
4.8/5  rDev +9.3%
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!

 302 characters

Photo of yourefragile
4.79/5  rDev +9.1%
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.

 503 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
4.52/5  rDev +3%
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.

 323 characters

Photo of largadeer
3.85/5  rDev -12.3%
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.

 755 characters

Photo of seeswo
4.42/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

 1,292 characters

Photo of Luk13
4.7/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

 362 characters

Photo of Gosox8787
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
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.

 1,065 characters

Photo of koopa
4.15/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

 1,033 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.75/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

 346 characters

Photo of DrinkSlurm
4.37/5  rDev -0.5%
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!

 412 characters

Photo of Sean9689
4.15/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at HF Harvest Fest 2012 and poured into HF wine glass.

Pours a golden yellow color, hazy, white frothy head, spotty lace. Aroma is citrus zest, grass, and light pine...very little malts in this beer. Flavor is citrus and grass, less pine then the nose. Light body good carbonation, oily hoppy finish.

An excellent APA that was just super-easy to drink and contained a massive amount of hoppy goodness. How can you go wrong with that combo? Answer, you can't. Another winner from HF.

 491 characters

Photo of jbertsch
4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice golden color. A big hazy. Fluffy white head.

Wonderful aroma of citrus fruits and grass. A little straw-like grain noticeable.

Taste follows suit. Slightly astringent citrus-hops (lemon, grapefruit) and lemongrass greet you with a touch of bitterness up front but smooth out immediately. Mild honey-like malts in the back. The finish sweetens just slightly. Very chuggable.

Mouthfeel is smooth as always with HF beers. Decent body for the lower ABV.

Overall this is very much like What Is Enlightenment, but with a slightly bolder body and not as borderline watery. However, as good as the aroma is here, it's just a notch below the incredible nose of W.I.E.

A beautiful little pale ale, yet again, from HF.

 721 characters

Photo of portia99
4.15/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml growler courtesy of jlindros...thanks for picking this one up for me! Poured into a Harpoon 100 Barrel series stemmed glass. Haven't had anything with the Riwaka hops...so anxious to give this one a try.

A - Pours a rather pale and quite hazy golden yellow. A two finger pillow of dense and rocky head lingers for several minutes giving a nice white cap. Tons of webby and sticky lacing nearly completely cover any beerless surface in the glass. Great looking beer.

S - Really interesting hop bouquet on this one. Starts off with the requisite citrusy blast on first sniff. Still grapefruity, but I get much more of an orange presence and a mix of lemon as well. Behind that is a strong piney-ness that hides itself initially, but comes on with great intensity and gives an almost concentrated pine extract aroma. There is also some spiciness that is a bit peppery too. Quite good. Not much malt showing thru, if any - struggling to find some...but honestly - who cares? The hops smell so good, I'm afraid any malt might diminish their effect.

T - More intense pine can be found in the flavor. Tastes almost as I'd imagine pure pine sap to taste. Very intense flavor here. Bitterness level is rather high...very crisp...ends a bit medicinal and/or solventy on the finish and still intensely piney. Again, really not much malt here...only the slightest bit present. A bit different and rather good. I'm liking it.

M - Resiny and bitter, herbal and piney, very fresh. Body is lightish medium with a prickly, fine bubbled medium-high carbonation level. Pine tends to overwhelm and leaves a long lasting impression after the swallow, giving a cool piney feel on each breath.

O - Rather different pale ale which I think can be attributed directly to the Riwaka hop variety. Very intense pine...more than I've ever encountered before. Interesting and really quite good. Not sure this would be a go to hop though for me...mix this in with some intense citrus - Citra maybe? and I think this could really be outstanding. Bump up the malt a bit and this could make a top notch DIPA.

 2,084 characters

Photo of mdaschaf
4.43/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to Mike for hooking me up with this one!

A: Pours a rather light golden color with a foamy two finger white head on top, very nice retention. Sticky lacing forms all around the glass.

S: Very earthy, with a lot of zest/rind going on. Some lemon and grapefruit and grassy aromas. Just a bit of pale malt.

T: Light lemon and lemon rind mixed with a little grapefruit juice and some pale malt. Just a little bit of pine, but overall very clean.

M: Light to medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Extremely easy drinking.

O: A great pale ale, tons of flavor, very clean and incredibly drinkable. I had no problem polishing off the entire 750ml growler. I have had more flavor forward pale ales, but few are as drinkable as this one, which I feel is important in a pale ale.

 792 characters

Photo of rudzud
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to JLindros for picking this growler up for me when he went up to VT to get beers for our epic 13 course beer dinner. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

A - Poured a wonderful lightly hazy/cloudy golden light orange hue pour . Big, fluffy almost 2 finger white head slumped down to leave thick, sticky side lacing and wonderful retention. Excellent.

S - So this is Riwaka hops eh? Nice New Zealandy hop characteristics, earthy, almost wet hops, nice lemony grapefruit citrus ring hop thing going on. Definitely not a typical hop aroma.

T - Taste is spot on too. More of those tasty new zealand hops here. Lots more citrus and grapefruit peel on the taste with that subtle grassy/earthy making up the background. There some slight lemon, almost like a combo of a farmhouse and a pale ale. Very interesting.

M - Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated, slightly dry. Incredibly drinkable.

O - Overall this was a delicious beer featuring a rather hard to come by hop variety. Glad I got to try another Shaun Hill offering, Really like this lighter styled pale ale.

 1,057 characters

Photo of jaasen64
4.43/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750ml growler filled at the brewery yesterday. Split two ways. Poured into a Hill Farmstead stemmed glassware.

A- Pours a yellowish golden with about a finger's worth of thick frothy white head that leaves nice thick layered lacing. Decent carbonation. Very similar in appearance to the Simcoe Pale ale that I drank earlier today.

S- Pale malts and some wheat mixed with light citrus hops that have light aromas of lemon.

T- Perfectly balanced between light lemon hops and pale malts. Finishes with a light lemon taste. Not as flavorful as some beers, but very pleasant flavors coming through that make for a very enjoyable beer that I could drink over and over again.

M- Super refreshing, super drinkable- goes down almost like water, nice carbonation, fairly light bodied, probably one of the best if not the best mouthfeel I've experienced on a pale ale.

O- This was a fantastic APA, without a doubt one of my favorites. I can't say Riwaka is my favorite hop varietal, but this beer was fantastically made. Don't expect a ton of citrus, but nice light lemon qualities that balance with the pale malts very well. The drinkability on this beer was amazing, I could easily drink a 2L growler of it. If you like light beers without overpowering citrus and a very high drinkability this beer is definitely the beer for you.

 1,326 characters

Photo of jlindros
4.45/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice fluffy almost 1 finger head that fades semi slowly with nice soapy lacing, hazy carrot honey orange colored beer.

Nose has this really interesting hop, a definite Kiwi style hop, with some grassy earthy qualities, almost saison like earthy hop aromas and I mean the farmhouse aromas of a saison in hop form, but there's also a light citrus rind, grapefruit, little lemony, really unique. Light fluffy malts under that with a light acid malt I think.

Taste start with more fluffy malts, a light acidulated malt again I think but not quite sure. Then the Kiwi hops take over. very complex for being a lighter hop. A nice grapefruit flavor and bitter grapefruit rind, little lemony and citrusy. Then grassy flavors, little lemongrass and that farmhouse hay like flavor in hop form again. The bitterness is not so much hop bitterness but comes through more as a grapefruit rind like flavor, quite interesting and tasty. Finish is dry, fairly bitter but that grapefruit bitterness so not a spicy hop bitterness, more lingering lemongrass and grapefruit and earthy.

Mouth is med bodied, decent carb.

Overall quite nice. Very drinkable, with lighter overall hop bitterness, and the bitterness that comes is more citrus fruit bitterness than spicy hops, nice malty base, and the interesting Kiwi hops are really tasty.

 1,328 characters

Photo of DaveHack
4.18/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy orange with a big white, fluffy head

Smells of fresh cut grass and a little bit of grapefruit. Very organic aroma to it.

Taste is similar, grass and a bit of a grapfruit flavor. I did expect this to be very bitter on the finish, but it was not. There was some bitterness, but given the aroma, I thought it would be REALLY bitter.

Mouthfeel is very nice. Heavier body than I expected, given the ABV, but still on the lighter side. The beer leaves a nice coating all throughout the mouth and leaves you wanting more!!

Overall, this is definately a beer to try. The hop flavors are unique and definately make a special aroma and flavor. It isn't my preferred hop, but I enjoyed it.

 695 characters

Photo of phingdong
4.68/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap from a friend's kegerator. Picked up at HF last week (thanks Shaun and Phil!). Multiple glasses. Looks similar to all HF pale ales, which is a nice, vibrant orange with a fluffy white head. The aroma is fantastic. Combines the grassy, dank, earthy hops traits with the citrus and tropical. The taste follows the nose. Piney, earthy, tropical and just delicious. The flavor profile is one of the best I've had (and a single hop at that!). At 5.2%, this packs a mountain of flavor. I could drink this forever.

Too bad these hops are so scarce. I hope the next crop of Riwaka is more abundant and this is made again in the future. Perhaps even an imperial Riwaka...

 670 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Riwaka Pale Ale from Hill Farmstead Brewery
4.39 out of 5 based on 164 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer FestĀ® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!