Vera Mae | Hill Farmstead Brewery

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Vera MaeVera Mae

Brewed by:
Hill Farmstead Brewery
Vermont, United States

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Vera Mae is crafted from organic Vermont spelt, American hops, wildflower honey, dandelion flowers from our fields, our distinctive farmhouse yeast and water from our well. Unfiltered and naturally carbonated.

Added by SFLpunk on 07-25-2011

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Reviews: 109 | Ratings: 654
Photo of mothman
3.25/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very foamy white head. Color is a very pale and hazed yellow.

Aroma: Reminds me of fantome. The honey is apparent. It is very floral. Weedy with some lemon zest and spices. Pears and some fruit flavors. Earthy.

Taste: Unique. Dandelions are here. Very floral. Grassy with pears and dried fruits. Spices. Coriander.

Mouthfeel: Really dry. Lighter bodied with a low to medium amount of carbonation. Bone dry.

Overall, a good beer, but too dry. Unique flavors all around.

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Photo of dragonWhale
3.29/5  rDev -23%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear golden delicacy with a towering head that wilts back into a thin ring. Very little lacing.
Perfumy, floral, minty aromas. A strange combination, but we will go with it for now.
The taste is nicer, starts dry, floral but much less of the perfume. A little spearmint and hay. The finish is luxurious, a little lingering malty note with that spearmint.
Nice, but not my favorite.

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Photo of DenverLogan
3.53/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Yellow, hefe-weizen color...lingering head with craters! Big aroma of fields of herbs and flowers. Significant carbonation, big tastes of melon, herbs, funkiness, bitterness, wheat, bread, sour lemon... big flavor, sour funk, fun but might not do more than a glass.

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Photo of Reagan1984
3.6/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Special Thanks to mtardiff for this beer. Always a treat to try a Hill Farmstead variety for the first time.

There is a very aggressive fluffy/light that builds in the glass and sticks around for a while. I’ll stick with the honey theme and say it’s a light honey color. Perhaps a bit lighter than most honey. Structure of the head is nice and it builds way above the top of the glass.

Aroma is a mix of light sugar sweetness and some herbal notes. I’d be lying if I said I could pick out dandelions specifically, but it’s quite herbaceous. You can definitely detect some honey here as well.

Well, I’ve learned that honey ferments all the way out and leaves no residual sweetness. Or something like that. I’d say this helps prove the point. If you read honey you might expect some sweetness in the flavor. It’s a very dry saison. Further the aroma tricks you a bit. Herbal and grass notes play a nice role here. There is a plastic bitterness just below the surface here as well. This rolls through the finish with a flat bitterness. It could stand just a touch of sweetness to round it out.

Almost astringent on your tongue. That’s an overstatement but the dry flavor comes through in the mouth feel is what I am trying to express.

Decent beer but not anywhere among my favorite from this brewer.

They are still stellar in my book.

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Photo of RuckusDu
3.6/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A gusher at a tasting.

A - great lacing as the huge white head falls. Body is very light grapefruit color which is decently cloudy.

S - some orange and lemon but mostly light funk. A little dusty.

T - light wheat and some rye. All the flavors are very light. Some flowery notes.

M - So light on the mouth. Little carbonation noted.

O - very nice beer that would be good on a summers day. Simple and light.

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Photo of celticfutblclub
3.62/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle poured into hill farmstead tulip

A - golden body with gigantic billowing head. good retention and superb lacing.

S - earthy tones with lemon zest and spices.

T - spicy yeast notes hit right away and linger. lemon zest in there with some earthy malt tastes. grass hop bitterness in the back.

M - medium bodied with lots and lots of carbonation, so much so after you swallow your left with bubbles on the side of your tongue. lingering bitterness on the side of the mouth.

O - a good beer that could be brilliant but is way to over carbonated. hard to drink a whole bottle by yourself so grab a friend.

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Photo of Sammy
3.63/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

John S's bottle, recent acquisition. Yellow with a huge head, significantly yeasty aroma. Honey and bitterness, very well carbonated much more so than other HF I have tried. Middling saison really, and the honey seemed to have neutralzed other flavours.Decent drinkability.

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Photo of stakem
3.63/5  rDev -15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cheers and thanks are owed to BA baconsausage for hooking me up with this. Poured from a 750ml into a gigantic over-sized wine glass. The brew streams a perfectly clear golden yellow color with a rich 3+finger white frothy topping. The cap slowly fades leaving pillows of patchy lace sticking to the glass. A light swirl revives a finger of slightly off-white cap back to the surface and paints some strings of webby lace on the glass.

The aroma is lemony scented almost perfume-like inclusion that makes me think this is going to be sour. Some earthen edges with a mild inclusion of sulfur and stinky feet/cheese. The earthen aspects of this are a bit grassy and vegetative somewhat similar to dandelions but that is a bit of a stretch. There is a soft fresh grain note underneath that is minorly reminiscent of wheat. Overall, a fine smelling brew.

The flavor is very earthen with hints of grass, wheat and straw-like grain inclusion. There is a bit of that previously described lemony aspect found that was so bold in the aroma but instead of being citrus and zest-like or fruity, it is very bitter like chewing on the rind of an orange/lemon/grapefruit. It has a bit of an oily cling that resonates long into the aftertaste with a bit of a draw back to the initial earthen flavors. As the brew warms up, it gets to be a bit soapy.

This is a light bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It looks, smells and feels the part of a saison but the bitterness was a bit over the top and distracted a little bit from the overall experience. However, I gotta say that this was one of the more enjoyable Hill Farmstead brews that I have had in awhile. I would get this again if the opportunity presented itself and proceed almost like it is a hybrid ipa/saison instead of expecting a saison in the more traditional sense.

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Photo of jsled
3.66/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

P: 4/5. hazy hay. high carbonation, huge pillowy white head, receding a-pace, good lacing.

A: 3/5. clean, minor alcohol.

F: 8/10. very light, lightly sweet. faint notes of honey. very slightly vegetal bitterness.

M: 3/5. carbonic acidic, slightly puckering. very high carbonation, tingling on tongue.

O: 7/10. Very pleasant, very good saison, representing both the honey and (to a lesser extent) dandelion.

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Photo of craytonic
3.68/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Golden yellow pour with a nice head

Smell: Floral notes, lemon, wheat,

Taste: Similar to the smell, finish has a touch of bitterness

Mouthfeel: Medium body with good carbonation

Overall: Good one to share, enjoyable but not something I would seek out.

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Photo of claytong
3.7/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

apperance - straw in color with an almost green tint to it (maybe ive got magic ghost fever), good white head with great lacing and retention.

smell - funk, sweet and herbal floral, bitter herbs (dandelion, it taste so odd here and mixes oddly, more so in the taste than smell... smells like some funk)

taste - more yeast comes to play, dandelions arent nice in this for me.

mouthfeel - medium body with good carbonation, highly drinkable, a bit of lingering around

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Photo of Treebs
3.81/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

750 ml bottle served in a wine glass. Thanks to cfrances33 for the share.

A: Pours a hazy golden yellow color with a white head forming on the pour. It recedes to a thick cap that leaves some sticky lace down the glass.

S: Straight flower patch in the nose with some lemon tartness and plan stems. Light malt profile with a little grass.

T: Light and lemony with a slightly tart pucker. Sweet malts with a little bit of flower stem. Very floral with a dry yeasty note as well.

M: Light bodied with a bubble carbonation level. Fresh and floral.

O: This was nice, but definitely one of the weaker HF offerings in my opinion. Not that complex overall, just a nicely made saison with a little floral components to it.

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Photo of illidurit
3.87/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle shared at the January 2012 Santa Cruz tasting at Sante Adairius. Pours a cloudy pale gold color with an off-white head. Nice spring meadow aroma --grass, flowers, tart lemon zest. Smells like like what a laundry detergent commercial wants you to think your clothes will smell like. Flavor is striking me as very similar to Ricola. Spicy and flowery with a lemon meringue sweetness. Finish is dry and a bit chalky. Pretty nice beer.

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Photo of Bardwashrind
3.88/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared in a downtown Denver hotel room with Sandstone, Forgetfu and Nickd717 during the last few hours of my GABF "get out of the dog house" pass (signed off by the misses).

So much of my enjoyment with Hill Farmstead has been during the warmth of summer with the fresh air allowing my interests of refreshment to be heightened. This was a different interaction with the circumstances involved.

Pouring with a highly active amount of carbonation, Vara Mae is an obvious example of it's proposed style. Cloudy and almost green the beer really took on an appearance of it's base parts. Nature had and effect on the beverage, introducing a hue of wild fields full of flowers and the sun beaming upon the petals. Maybe the comparison is a touch forced, but the beer did have quite a distinct hue.

The aroma was soft and expressed a rustic yeasty edge. Some graininess and a bit of waxiness were also present. Not a typical Saison yeast aroma, more qualities of light pollen in the air than just fruity.

The flavor was very close to the aroma. Soft around the edges with bitterness being very low and dry as a bone. The honey could be tasted but didn't lend any sweetness, more floral and complex with that bees wax like flavor. The dandelions weren't a flavor I could have easily picked up on. Some wild flower like aromas but nothing to the point of spring daisies. Very pleasing and a nice palate cleanser among the other big hitters of the evening.

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Photo of cwguy5
3.89/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

reviewed from notes. thanks to Msquared2 for sharing this one!

A - cloudy yellow with a huge, off-white head that left lots of sticky lacing all over the glass

S - freshly cut grass, lemon verbena, pale malt/light bisquit

T - green apple, lemon zest, white pepper; it stays fairly dry throughout with a moderate bitter finish

M - soft, light, carbonation; light body; dry and slightly herbal aftertaste

O - subtle flavors and nuanced palette make this very drinkable. not flavors that i want in my beer every day but a nice departure from the norm, for me at least

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Photo of angrybabboon
3.9/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cheers to Bilco for sharing this

Review from notes, 6/7/14

Appearance: Hazy, pale honey with some gold and yellow hues - pours with a large, white head, fades to a solid cap, leaves some nice lacing

Smell: Clean and decidedly Hill Farmstead - lightly floral and earthy, with some saison yeast - some light funk and some pale malts - more flowers, earth, lightly spicy aromas from the yeast - some light fruits, but more flowery than fruity

Taste: Floral, spicy, and straight-up saison yeast - nicely balanced and interesting - very yeasty, as it should be, with some earth, some spice, and some yeasty funk - more fruit than in the aroma - dry pineapple, green apple, and pear - honey is not particularly apparent in the flavor - floral and somewhat grassy - nicely complex

Mouthfeel: Medium body, nicely carbonated, with a smooth, earthy finish

Overall: Hill Faaahhhm dude

If you've ever had any other saisons from Hill Farmstead, you probably already know what to expect from this beer. It's yeasty and earthy while being clean and refreshing. Personally, it's not my favorite, as the addition of dandelions and honey did not really add much to an already great base.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.97/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

1700th Review on BA
Bottle to HF Stemware

Batch 2
Thanks to BA Jlindros and RudZud

App- This bottle has a very interesting color behind it. Similar to the label color. It's a deep yellow with whites mixed into it. A huge three finger head that was super large and cracky. Receded quite slow. Nice stick.

Smell- This had a very unique aroma. The spelt has a very spicy aroma and then paired with the wheat adds a fresh cut grass aroma. It's very grass forward with a aroma I can't place. Herbal, grass and??

Taste- It's got great looks and it goes down for me from there. The saison notes are there but then the spelt and other grassy flavors comes in and fades away the base saison I know to something spicy and that I can't place.

Mouth- A medium body with a semi prickly carbonation. The spelt adds a weird grass residual flavor with some wheat and some spice.

Drink- I love me some HF, but this one just wasn't for me. Unique and different. This would take a couple bottles to get used to.

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Photo of tigg924
4/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a sam adams perfect pint glass

Appearance: 2 inch head, gold in color, clear, high-aggressive carbonation

Smell: dandelion, hay, and honey

Taste: hay, with dandelion stems in the middle giving a bittering effect and honey that shows up towards the end

Mouthfeel: really high carbonation, light bodied, dry, slightly bitter that becomes sweeter towards the end

Overall: Enjoyable,smooth and unique saison. Not my favorite from the brewery but still a saison I would get regularly if I can. The bittering of the dandelion combined with the honey makes this one stand out. A solid brew.

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Photo of AgentZero
4/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a hazy golden yellow color with a mass of foamy head that left some splotches on the sides. Head was just massive, if you weren't careful it would overflow.

S - There is some light honey. Very earthy and a little bit musty. Good yeast with a little bit of floral influence.

T - The honey has a slight sweetening effect on this one. Very earthy with some farm notes. There is a little bit of bitterness on the end, likely from the dandelion greens. Very yeast with a dry finish.

M - This is a somewhat heavy saison, with very foamy carbonation. Medium bodied, dry finish, could use a lighter field.

O - A good beer, kind of funny that I find myself "dissapointed" with a B+ beer, but that's how great I think HF beers are. This is a good beer, and are going to love it.

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Photo of Sean9689
4/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Chris (spycow) for this one!

A - Pours a light golden color, white head, sticky lace, frothy head, thin cap.

S - Floral funky notes, herbal, slight sugary sweetness. The floral notes are really nice and the Dandelion really adds something different into this Saision.

T - The floral and herbal notes are really up front, followed by the funky yeast, slight hay. As with the nose, the Dandelions are there but not overpowering, not too much, just a touch. Very unique.

M - Light body, good carbonation, smooth, sweet finish.

O - This is was really unique and different, but not my favorite Saison from HF. The Dandelions are nice and subtle, which is really nice. Would def try again if offered up.

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Photo of WanderingFool
4.03/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vera Mae pours a hazy straw yellow, with a massive rocky white head on top. The foam dissolves very slowly leaving behind a sticky coating of lace on the glass. A tornado of bubbles flow up to the surface from the nucleation point in my Chimay glass.

The aroma is floral with notes of lemon zest, rose, wheat and grass. A hint of pepper is in there too.

Each sip of this medium bodied beer is very smooth, velvety, with a mild effervescent fizz. The flavor is well balanced between lemon zest, wheat and light fruit (pear?). It finishes grassy and dry and a little astringent. Once gone the lemon and wheat linger on the palate.

Wow! A Belgian beer that's not loaded with spices. Very tasty and easy to drink with a wonderful, soft mouthfeel.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.03/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The last of the 3 saisons I received from starrdogg. Thank you, Matt.

In my Duvel tulip, Vera Mae sits a clear light orange with a large, white head with excellent retention and lacing. The head is comprised of moderately sized bubbles, and while the lacing is attractive, it's not as nice as, say, Arthur. The nose is classic saison. Rustic, mildly phenolic, and mildly hoppy, this is solid. The grain character is interesting. The spelt adds a blend of wheat and mild nuttiness that's quite nice. Definitely better than I remember the other spelt saison I've had (New Holland's Golden Cap). The hop character has a blend of earth and leaf, with some herbal notes as well. The yeast produces a blend of spice and phenols, both of which are nice. I can't say I get much honey here, and I guess the leafy character can be ascribed to dandelions? Solid stuff.

The palate opens with a mild fruit note, a blend of peach, apricot and a little bubblegum. Along with this, there's the phenol and rustic grain character that's a lot more noticeable. As the beer warms up, the fruitier honey notes with a little citrus appear on the mid-palate. Dandelion greens? Not so much. The spices are most assertive towards the finish, with some clove and white pepper. Light in body with high carbonation, this beer feels just a touch watery. Now, this is a complaint I had with Arthur as well, and like with that beer, rousing the yeast and adding a turbidity to the pour does alleviate the problem some, but that's an inelegant solution. Maybe it's just that I should have drunk this in spring instead of fall? An excellent example of the style IMO.

Ultimately, there's beers that I've had that this reminds me of. They've all been excellent, but this doesn't really stand apart enough (in my limited experience, of course), unlike Arthur, which I felt had a rather unique twist. That said, this is an excellent saison, one I would (and will) seek out often as it is all a saison needs to be - refreshing, complex, and very well structured.

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Photo of oline73
4.05/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was opened at the Baltimore BA August tasting. Poured from the bottle into a tasting snifter.

Appearance: Pours a really cloudy bright yellow color with a layer of white head. This is a really bright and cloudy beer.

Smell: Light and quite herbal. Mild citrus notes are here as well.

Taste: This is a very light and refreshing saison. Herbal and a bit tart, I'm getting some lemon along with the herbal yeast notes. I'm also getting some white wine notes. Definitely a nice summer beer.

Mouthfeel: The body is on the thin side of medium with tingly carbonation and a very dry finish.

Overall: This is another great summer beer. The lightness along with the herbal notes worked really well together. I'd have it again.

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Photo of AlexFields
4.05/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Jackie O's bottle share 3/1/2013.

Pours a hazy lemon yellow, thick white head.

Smell is nice, faint citrus and flowers, but very light in character

Taste is pretty funky, odd flower flavors, tart lemon, touch of sweetness.

Mouthfeel not very thick but very frothy/bubbly.


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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.08/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Golden yellow with a nice white head. Lace inside the glass and swirly designs on the surface.

Smell - Intensely floral. Also very yeasty. Pale malt and a white wine-like acidity.

Taste - Very yeasty. Flowery and winey. Grassy bitterness builds into the finish. Floral flavors linger.

Mouthfeel - Light. Crisp and spritzy. Nice flower flavor in the finish.

Overall - Very enjoyable. The flowers are intense, but the saison handles them well.

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Vera Mae from Hill Farmstead Brewery
4.27 out of 5 based on 654 ratings.
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