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: 651
Photo of lovindahops
4.65/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Well, we are headed out to downtown syracuse tonight so I figured it might be busy. That being said, I decided to pop open a Vera Mae from the cellar.

A- a hazy sunlight yellow fills my hill farmstead stemware with an almost glowing head of white foam. The lacing is completely massive and sticky that you can draw parallels to the lacing coming from a Vermont spider on 'roids

S- barn yard funk that is not only floral but also tropical and full bodies with candy like Belgian yeast tones. Excellent scent that is tart and flavorful

T- tart and crisp, vera mae extends a yeasty flavor rush of sweet themes coupled by a funky flavor that is not often duplicated. Very enhanced as a "detailed" american saison should be. Completely coating with lively flavor and a splash of honey

M- flavor that latches into your tongue

O- simply amazing. Vera Mae splashes your palate with an American interpretation of a saison that leaves no detail or attribute behind. So refreshing I could drink this for days

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.09/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Wowcoolman for sharing this one at jmgrub's tasting.

Batch 1.

Pours a murky yellow with a foamy off-white head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, spices, herbs, and some fruity aromas. Taste is much the same with a slight tartness and a spice finish on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty and easy to drink.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.35/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. Shared with schen9303.

Pours a giant, foamy 4 finger white head with fantastic retention. Almost too much. Lacing is thick, patchy, and sticky. Beer is a clear goldenrod. Pretty. Head is a bit too large here.

Nose is floral. Notes of cane sugar, honey, some coriander spice, citrus, and a mild cobweb funk. Aromatic and balanced. Real nice.

Opens citrus and a floral tartness. Just the right amount of sour throughout. Some peppercorn and coriander spice dot the experience left and right. More citrus towards the end with a mild flowery bitterness blending in towards the end. Finish is slightly tart and foamy with a lingering tart finish. Excellent.

Light bodied with high carbonation. Prickly and lively in the mouth and dry and quenching going down. Messy finish with a lingering aftertaste. Very satisfying. Exactly what I want from the style.

Just about everything I've had from Hill Farmstead has blown me away so far and this is no exception. Just the right amount of tartness with an incredible body to deliver the experience. Well worth trying!

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Photo of rudzud
4.38/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Having had this multiple times I figured it would be time to review. This is a Batch 1 bottle, initial release. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

A - Ah yes, I seem to recall now Shaun telling me to open the bottle cold. So as I pop this room temp, having forgotten, it rather quickly rises from the bottle. Pours a lightly hazy lightly strawed golden hue with a big, creamy white almost 3 finger head that faded to leave soapy, sudsy lacing and a thick dense blanket.

S - Nice aromas of light honey and warm summer meadows full of dandelions. Very light yeasty funk with some soft gentle lemon. Very light, pleasant barn aromas with more bright almost phenol.

T - Taste is nice and lightly tart/sour with lots of lemon. Very light honey sweetness and some light bitterness that dandelions give to brew (similar to dandelion wine). Very slight spelt in the background as well. Very lightly funky which is impressive all the more seeing how all the sediment got mixed up upon popping. This tastes much, much better than I remember it tasting. Exponentially better.

M - Mouthfeel is very nice. Would like a touch more carbonation to help out the lemon sourness here. Feels more like a wild than a saison.

O - Overall, this is one of Shaun Hill's best saisons to date. All of his saisons are "good" but this though, this is something really special. Really enjoy how bright and tart this is.

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Photo of yourefragile
4.8/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2012 batch on draft at Harvest Festival. Served in a... HF glass (shocking).

Reviewed the first batch from the bottle previously, but this year's was distinct enough to merit a new entry in my opinion. Poured a chalky, hazed golden color with a frothy white head; excellent retention and ample lace. Floral and nectary nose of honey, clover, dandelion and grass. Flavor is similar, dominated by the floral and lemon flavors with an ample tart and light pepper finish. Dry medium body with high carbonation and a crisp finish. I want more of this beer always.

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Photo of Arbitrator
4.1/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Chilled bottle into a glass. Batch 2. Thanks!

A: Pours a cloudy, lemon-colored body capped with two fingers of fluffy, off-white head. Good retention that leaves a little streaking down the glass.

S: Extremely floral; Vera Mae has a field blossom aroma that accentuates notes of lemons, white pepper, and grass.

T: The taste is more evolved than the nose; in addition to its dominant floral and lemon flavors, Vera Mae has a grainy sweetness in the mid-taste. As it draws to a close, grass and an herbal character emerge, uniting at the finish with a peppery bite. The aftertaste has a noticeable herbal kick.

M: Light-medium bodied; however, it finishes with a drying close, in part due to the pepper and herbal aftertaste.

O: Very good, though I like some of HF's other saisons more.

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Photo of DaveHack
4.12/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 2 poured into a Tired Hands stem.

Pours a cloudy peach color. Huge, billowy white head rests triumphantly atop the beer. Slowly settles leaving loads of lacing behind.

Smells like a fresh field....notes of grass, flowers, and tart lemon.

First taste is lemony tart. Then as you allow it to open in your mouth, the flowery aspect starts to shine and really takes hold all the way through the finish.

Mouthfeel is dry and a bit puckering. Leaves a a tart aftertaste that makes you immediately want that next sip.

Overall, I found this quite enjoyable. While I still prefer a more 'traditional' bretted saison, this was definately a fanatastic brew. It is very worth a try should get the chance.

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Photo of yamar68
4.28/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My first beer from Hill Farmstead, all thanks to brooklynbrews - poured to a brandy snifter.

Beautiful to look at - pale cider/honey gold, foggy, a swelling pillow of white foam leaves exact lacing.

The nose is heavily floral, fresh grass, faint spicy yeast, very faint clove, very inviting.

Oooh... that's good. All the traditional characteristics of a good saison with the addition of something slightly tart and citric. Nice, dry finish - not thirst quenching dry but clean. The feel of the beer is spectacular. Plenty of body while maintaining a velvet smooth, easy drinking consistency. As it warms, the dandelion notes become obvious and it works so well with the beer.

So glad to have finally had something from this brewery. I can see why it excites people - very tasty stuff!

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Photo of Number45forever
4.38/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally cracked open a Vera Mae over the weekend. It was outstanding! Pleasently tart, not sour by any means. It was one of the most refreshing things I've ever had. Like a super dry champagne on the tongue, very high amounts of carbonation.

Taste was of lemon, fresh greens, orange blossom honey. It was delightful. I'd drink this beer all the time, it was really great. I wish I had more time to explain.

Bottom line, as with all Hill Farmstead beers, if you get the chance to try this one: do it. Masterful.

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Photo of brystmar
4.35/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hazy yellow body, tons of white head roars to life but recedes quickly. Looks like freshly squeezed lemonade after the head and lace settle. Cool!

Ooh, nice and tart! Sour, and floral, and oddly lactic -- really like that touch. Can't get over how sour this is; yeasty funkiness is more subdued. More sour and less funky than many saisons, and I like that. Highly carbonated but it actually works well.

Vera Mae >>> Ann IMO.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.53/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a large tapered wine glass.

Classic Hill Farmstead look. Shocking bright white head, three fingers, massive retention, huge clumping and lacing. Body color is a gorgeous orb glowing honey gold and green hued just a touch. Just one aggresive looking brew.

Nose is floral and good sense of fresh mowed grass. Crisp honeycomb, and mild garden herbal notes. Very unique and lots of fun. It's like a garden in here, the beer smells of just dense pollen.

A really wondeful tartness. Quick puckering lemon citrus acid. A real punch that lingers just on and on even after the swallow. Creamy body, with a mild carbonation, extremely soft feel to the palate. Honey smacks the lips and lingers with a sense of floral lip balm on the skin. Tight quick carbonation that slowly evaporates on multiple sips. Slight chewy malt, but the beer is truly acidic forward with wonderful aromatics and flavors. Tannic coating on the aftertaste, mild tartness, and even a hint of Gose like salt.

Overall what more could you have expected from Hill Farmstead. More greatness what else.

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

Bottle opened on 8.29.12

A - Pours a hazy, very light orange with a foamy three inch white head. There's good retention as the head seems to never fade.

S - Strong floral notes, subtle spices, citrus and barnyard funk.

T - Floral, lemon tart, wild grass. More barnyard funk here.

D - Great carbonation with a light body. Tart all-around.

O - Tart saison with wild fields and citrus.

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

Batch #1 purchased from Hill Farmstead a few weeks ago.

Beer pours a hazy light golden-yellow with a large fluffy white head. Smell is tart and floral with some wheat and a bit of spice in there as well. Flavor is slightly sour and lemony up front with a bit of an earthy bitter flowery flavor in the finish. Mouthfeel is light-bodied with nice carbonation, spot-on. So I have to say, I think I liked last year's Vera Mae recipe a little better. It was my favorite of HF's non-barrel-aged saisons and just had a fantastic flavor to it. This new recipe, with wild yeast, is still quite good, but the tartness really takes over the flavor and buries some of the flavors lurking underneath that made last year's batch so great.

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Photo of hagbergl
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I bought a 750mL bottle of Hill Farmstead Vera Mae for $10 (in my opinion, quite reasonable), their "spring blossom" farmhouse ale made with dandelions from their own field and honey, from the brewery in early August. Pretty cool looking bottle–looks very classy and understated. Enjoyed in my Dogfish Head snifter with my girlfriend during our vacation to the Cape. Review is from notes.

Appearance (4.5/5): Vera Mae pours an opaque lemon yellow/honeysuckle hue and is topped by a voluminous, frothy, white head of foam that measures about 2.5 fingers. Plenty of sticky lacing lines the sides of the glass as you drink. Pour it into a stemmed glass and appreciate!

Smell (4.5/5): Notes of light, tart lemon and citrus, wheaty, floral, and grassy tones, leap from the glass. Yeasty and a bit funky, as well. Quite unusual for a saison; reminds me a bit of Jolly Pumpkin's Calabaza Blanca. Summery.

Taste (4.5/5): Wow, what fresh, interesting flavors! Fruity notes of lemon, grapefruit rind, and pear combine with a floral, herbal bitterness imparted, undoubtedly, by the dandelions added to the brew. This is quite a unique bitterness that isn't really juicy or citric, but more akin to the bitterness of arugula. My girlfriend also suggested that it's a bit like ginger root. Whatever it is, it's a great touch. A subdued honey sweetness also comes through with further sips. Not a hint of alcohol in the flavor profile. Refreshing, complex, tart.

Mouthfeel (4.5/5): The mouthfeel is what makes this beer. It is bubbly, effervescent, and practically tickles the tongue. Great active carbonation. It is also light and the tart "arugula" bitterness stops short of puckering. If HF hadn't nailed the mouth on this one, it wouldn't have been nearly as much of a success. Good show.

Overall (4.5/5): Vera Mae is one hell of a farmhouse ale/saison. It's a bit unusual and unorthodox, but it really makes the twists and added ingredients count. And for all those people skeptical of the dandelions, don't let it dissuade you from buying this refreshingly tart ale!

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Photo of jaasen64
4.18/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle purchased at the Festival of Farmhouse Ales. Reviewing Batch #2, had Batch #1 last night. Split two ways. Poured into HF tulip.

A- Poured slowly into glass not to disturb too much of the yeast (last night there was a lot of yeast settlement at the bottom), filled glass right up to 40cl line. Pours a hazy lemony yellowish with nice little carbonation bubbles consistently rising up the sides of the glass. A little over a finger of white fluffy head formed that had awesome retention. Nice thick lacing covers the sides of the glass.

S- Aromas of dandelions, some wheat, light honey, some light citrus hops, and a little bit of sourness that balances with the citrus hops. The sourness almost adds a slight sour pickle smell to it that reminded me of the CCB Cucumber Saison. Above average aroma strength, the smell isn't my favorite smell of this style in the world but it isn't bad.

T- Floral tastes mixed with some wheat and a little bit of sweet honey. Finishes with a lightly sour lemon finish that lingers for a little while on the palate.

M- Light, nice carbonation that tingles the tongue a little bit adding a nice feel to the light sourness, very drinkable, nice summer beer.

O- I definitely really enjoy drinking Vera Mae, it is awesome to drink and I could probably drink this every day. It isn't one of the best HF offerings, but it is definitely an interesting quality beer. It's fairly complex with a lot going on and there is a nice light sourness that plays well in the beer. I could see why some people might not like this beer, but I definitely enjoy it. At $10/750 bottle with no bottle limit, I'd recommend picking up a few bottles. There wasn't too much of a difference between Bottling #1 and #2, both a pretty equal amount of light sourness.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.23/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer is golden yellow and hazy with an inch of white head that plasters the glass with lacing. The aroma brings lemons, floral notes, light spice, honey (which emerges more and more as the beer is allowed to warm. Delicious flavor. Beautiful and clean. Honey and lemons. Refreshing. Is Hill Farmstead the best brewery in the USA?

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Photo of mendvicdog
4.37/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

The dandelions add an odd flavor and make the mouthfeel a little harsher than most of the HF saisons.

Still has amazing mouthfeel and the smell is much better than the taste, bright and slightly funky.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.09/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle at Eb's
Pours a slightly hazy yellow color with a smallish off white head that dissipates quickly. Smells of bready malts with an earthy herbal minty aroma that I assume is from the dandelions. Hints of citrus and sweet honey on the nose round it out nicely. Sweet bready and honey like malt flavors up front balanced with some herbal minty flavor before a slight funk and a fairly dry finish. Medium to light body with a moderate level of carbonation and a sweet bubbly mouthfeel. Nice brew, definitely different I'm glad I got to try it.

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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 gory4d
4.08/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy yellow with a massive white head - not that much lacing, but the head is quite impressive. The dandelion really comes through in the smell, along with some mild sugary notes and something a little like crushed leaves. The taste is sweet and malty up front, with an immediate hit of dandelion sourness, then a mineral and lightly bitter finish. Medium in body and carbonation, a tad viscous. All in all a very fine saison. Thanks, Joey.

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Photo of jlindros
4.12/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Despite that summer is almost over, and this is a spring seasonal, however it's a cool day and seems like it should be drunk.

Pours a nice fluffy 1.5 finger head that fades fairly slowly with nice layered lacing, over mostly clear pale honey colored beer.

Nose has some nice saison aromas, light straw and wheat like, hint of hay, nice farmhouse aromas, light aromatic spices that bring hint of orange zest, lemongrass, light floral character that is probably the dandelion, hints of grassy hops, and a bit of a sweet malt, with a touch of a funky like farmhouse aroma.

Taste is interesting... starting right out with a farmhouse funky yeast that is very similar to Brett, it really does seem like Brett. Then more great saison malts, little fluffy with hint of sweetness, but mostly dry and bready, with a farmhouse earthy malt profile. Then light floral saison spices, little tingle even, and that floral flower like taste, again most likely dandelion but I'm not quite sure. A bit of an earthy spicy yeast flavor from the farmhouse flavors, and hint of citrus zest. A mild bitterness in the background. Finish is fairly dry but clean, some more bitterness with an interesting almost definite dandelion flavor finally coming through, light earthy herbal bitterness, more citrus, and a bit of farmhouse funk.

Mouth is med bodied, good carb.

Overall really interesting. Not the best saison I've had, but a nice one. Good malts, a really funky farmhouse character that is almost Brett like, nice floral aromatics and flavors, and just a hint of nice dandelion flavor.

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Photo of sisuspeed
4.41/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 Vintage - Bottling 2

Poured into a Hill Farmstead wine glass. Slightly cloudy lemon-yellow body with a large, frothy, white head. Lots of lacing. Lemon zest and hints of honey on the nose. Earthy grains and a touch of pepper. Sweet and lightly floral. Citrus and some crisp, lactic, sourness on the tongue. Honey with light, earthy, hops. Body is smooth, crisp and refreshing. Carbonation is perfect. Nice tangy sourness throughout. Overall, this is a really nice improvement over the original recipe. Love the light sourness and floral honey combo.

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Photo of amnesia85
5/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From the most recent bottling, on side of label a hand written #2.
Bought on site early this afternoon, chilled in a bucket of ice and served in clean HF stem.

A: Hazy, Golden, Honey with a pearl white head that leaves residual lacing. Small thin creator formations.

S: clean White grape; white wine; honey; with a tiny hint of grass.

T: WOW! Taste is very familiar to me… Almost in exact order of the smell: first you get a sour pucker tart flavoring of white grapes and honey followed a very light flavor of grass (probably the dandelions).

M: light, clean, perfect carbonation, and extremely smooth.

O: overall this beer is perfect. Any rating on this beer less than a 4 must not have been reviewed in a reasonable amount of time from purchasing or not handled properly (which is a shame because it F%cks up the deviation). There is nothing I would change about this beer and my only regret is that I did not buy more, at 10 dollars for a 750 this beer is a straight up steal.

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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 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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Vera Mae from Hill Farmstead Brewery
4.27 out of 5 based on 651 ratings.
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