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

Thanks to hoppypocket for this one! Poured in to HF stemmed tulip.

A - Cloudy medium yellow with an orange glow around the edges. One finger of bright white head with good retention and good lacing.

S - Funk is noticeable up front with Belgian yeast, floral, lemon, coriander and sweet honey aromas also present.

T - Tartness and funk hit the tongue right away before the other flavours start to come through. Grass, lemon, big floral presence, coriander, Belgian yeast and some dill. Lighter lemon zest and spice in the background. The dandelion is not specifically noticeable but likely contributes to the big grassy and floral presence.

M - Light to medium body. Light carbonation. The typical HF dryness is present.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.08/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of SFLpunk. Thanks! Served in a Hill Farmstead long-stem tulip.

Pours a bright, clear golden-yellow color with a towering head and loads of retention. Foamy head is one of the better ones I've seen in quite some time. The nose brings some nice dandelion character along with light spice and faint wheat. Flavor has plenty of floral and grain characteristics plus a bit of white pepper and spice. Light body with crisp carbonation and a dry finish. Not quite as enjoyable as some of the other HF saisons, but still quite excellent.

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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 barczar
4.08/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I continue to be underwhelmed by all the HF offerings. Not my favorite style, though.

Aroma is fairly barnyard funky, with floral notes. Flavor is clean, with a big lemony, lactic sour presence and an earthy, herbal finish.

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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 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 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 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 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 Jwale73
4.1/5  rDev -4%

2014 vintage. Pours a hazy yellow color with a loose head that quickly dissipates towards the edges. Nose express a light citrus quality, yeast and fresh greens. Taste is light in body with some Berlinner-Weisse qualities as well as citrus. Mouthfeel is light and lively. Overall - a bright and interesting beer. Had the chance to try the 2013 back-to-back and the 2014 won out, hands down.

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Photo of Sheppard
4.11/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours golden, mostly clear. It's very vinous and yeast forward. I find Hill's yeast to be a pleasant lemony citrus and I love how it interacts with barrels. There's definitely a nice white grape, sauvignon blanc character in this beer. The barrel and the yeast seem to be the dominant components in this, the honey and the dandelions are much more subdued or absent. I appreciate the complexity and depth of this beer.

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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 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 MasterSki
4.13/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of AshleyMiller. Thanks! Served in a tulip.

A - A big white foam settles to a persistent meringue foam, leaving behind tons of splotchy lace. Vaguely transparent banana yellow body.

S - Dry, musty, with some straw and floral notes. Dandelion isn't overt, but adds a bit of sharp herbal character. As it warms up a bit of the honey and sweet malt comes out.

T - Taste has a bit more herbal and leafy character to it, along with some bitter dandelion greens in the finish. As it warms cereal grain character comes out - reminds me a little of Cheerios.

M - Medium-light body, lower, pleasant carbonation, and a lightly sticky and otherwise smooth body. No alcohol present, nor was any expected at 6.0% ABV.

D - It's not my favorite Hill Farmstead saison, but it's an very good and well-crafted beer all the same. I'd gladly have this one again if offered, but there are a half-dozen Saisons from Shuan Hill that I'd choose first.

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Photo of spinrsx
4.15/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750ml Bottle received in trade with cfrancis - thanks!

Appearance - Gold colour with an average size fizzy/frothy white head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is some greatlacing. The head lasted for 6-7 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Cloves, lemons, floral, a bit of funk

Taste & Mouth - There is an above average amount of carbonation and I can taste lots of floral notes, cloves and lemon juice/zest. There is also a fair amount of tart/sour funk going on.

Overall - I don't think this brewer makes a bad beer. This is a fantastic sour yet refreshing saison. My bottle gushed when I opened it, so beware.

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Photo of Brad007
4.16/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pale white/blond color with a frothy head into my glass. Hearty for sure and takes a while to fade.

Aroma is flowery with a touch of grassy hops, honey and spelt in the nose.

Crisp, chewy with a dazzling array of grassy hops and a flowery essence.

Warms the tummy, even at 6% ABV. Carbonation is a bit high too but otherwise, lots of lingering flavor.

I believe this is the perfect drink for even a mild late-summer day, though the label says that it's a spring saison. Regardless, you can't go wrong with this as Hill Farmstead has carved out quite a niche with saisons.

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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 brewskifan55
4.21/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Hill Farmstead stem glass. Thanks, Darren, for the bottle and the glass.

A: A pale yellow, opaque, with a nice white one-finger that hangs out for a sunny afternoon. Thick lacing.

S: Lemon zest takes over with a punch of dandelion in the background. Fresh, springtime goodness.

T: Very floral and extremely lemony. Dry, smooth, semi-sweet. Brett funkiness. A pleasant sipper, for sure.

M: Medium with dry, medium carbonation.

O: I had this one late in the year. I wonder if it would've been even fresher in April. Still a great saison.

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Photo of nrs207
4.23/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle picked up at the Harvest Festival in September.

A - Gorgeous. Hazy pale yellow. It almost looks like a gorgeous adjunct lager. It just looks super refreshing, which is it. Pillowy bright white head that sticks around forever.

S - I can tell this is brewed with dandelions, or at least that's what I believe I'm smelling. A really earthy and grassy scent mixed with an acidic (lemon) funk.

T - Follows the nose really well. Super refreshing, with a grassiness that I assume comes from the dandelions. There's a nice lemon tartness with some light funk. This would be the ultimate beer for a hot summer day outside (unfortunately I'm getting rocked by Sandy right now).

M - Really light mouthfeel. High carbonation (slight knock to 4.5). It's a little too bubbly in my mouth, but pretty high on drinkability.

O - All Shaun's saisons are fantastic in their own way. I might prefer Art over this, but definitely good and definitely different with the dry dandelion character.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.23/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a clear golden straw color with a fluffy, soft, dense, and thick bright white head faded to lasting collar and streaky lace.
S: A very bright nose that reminds me of a field of wildflowers. I get notes of lemon and honey, HF's characteristic yeast, and a touch of musty barrel funk.
T: Tons of barrel character, almost vinous. There's a light floral quality with some mild Sprite-like flavors, slight mineraliness, green apple, and tons of flowers and earth quality. Mild floral spice lingers in the aftertaste.
M: Creamy mouthfeel, sweet and lightly juicy, with a solid hop bitterness and a drying finish. Very soft carbonation.
O: A very bright and pleasant saison. Super light and smooth. Very enjoyable.

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

750mL champagne style bomber poured into a Duvel tulip

Pours a dull orange amber with a huge, fluffy paper white cap. The head sits like meringue and leaves large chunks of foam all over the side of the glass.

The aroma is of lemon, chamomile, saddle leather, band aid, with a touch of ethanol in the background. The band aid/saddle leather takes more of an assertive role as this warms.

The funk is a major player on the palate too. Band aid and horse saddle funk take control, while lemon and chamomile play a softer part, rounding everything out.

A light medium body with a big, creamy feel. The finish is a bit astringent, dry, with some lingering funkiness.

This is a damn fine saison. I didn't pick up on the honey or the dandelions, as if I knew what I was looking for in the latter. Otherwise, this delivers on all fronts.

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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 brentk56
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: The beer pours out with a ton of foam and as the liquid materializes it is a cloudy honey color; the whipped egg white head persists at length, leaving copious amounts of lace behind

Smell: Slightly funky, slightly floral and slighty earthy, the yeast drives the aromatics

Taste: As with the aroma, the yeast has a big impact on the palate; cantaloup and green tea, up front, with a growing lemony character that appears in the middle; the finish is a bit fruity, a bit grassy and somewhat dry

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with high carbonation

Overall: Hill Farmstead's saisons compete with the best of Belgium; I cannot really identify the spelt character in this beer but the flavor profile is complex and enjoyable, while the mouthfeel is light and airy

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Photo of mdfb79
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From 11/05/11 notes. Brought a bottle of this to a recent tasting. Poured from a 750ml bottle into a snifter.

a - Pours a hazy bright yellow color with high carbonation evident and two fingers of fluffy white head. A ton of lacing left on the glass and some nice head retention.

s - Smells of citrus hops, oranges, honey, floral notes and hops, and light earthy/funky notes. Great nose; ton of floral/earthy notes coming through witht he oranges and citrus, I'm really loving it.

t - Tastes of floral hops, citrus hops lightly bitter, yeast, light earthy notes. Not as much orange or citrus as the nose, and not as sweet, but more floral notes. Very nice, but a step down from the nose.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Light bitterness, but overall pretty easy to drink.

o - Overall a really good saison from Hill Farmstead. I thought the nose was amazing and it was really easy to drink. Samples among about 20 Fantome beers and this held its own, and was better than at least half the Fantomes. Would like to have it again.

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