Works of Love 2013: Sante Adairius Rustic Ales (Hill Farmstead & Sante Adairius Rustic Ales)
Style: Blended Wild (Mixed Fermentation) Saison
? % ABV
Ingredients: American Malted barley, Wheat, Hops, Culture, and our Well Water
Brewed: August 2013
Bottled: September 2014
From: Greensborough, VT
Brewery’s Note: “Brewed at Hill Farmstead in August of 2013 when Tim and Adair came to Vermont for our Festival of Farmhouse Ales, this beer was aged for over a year in carefully selected barrels and then blended, bottled and allowed to mature for nearly a year./ Our friendships with and love of Tim and Adair are showcased here. We are honored and proud to share this beer with you—a transcontinental offering that is truly a work of love.”
A word of warning: this pricey bottle can open with a gush. This review is of my second bottle, which gently started to reach its bubbly fingers above the glass, and did indeed dribble down the sides of the bottle. Open with a glass on hand in order to not waste any of this precious nectar…
The beer pours a milky, pale orange with pinkish hues – almost like grapefruit juice with a splash of pink. The beer forms a small, scrim-ish head of pristine white bubbles which leaves full lacing sheets of a tight knit complexion on the sides of the glass. In body, the beer is a chalky, cloudy opacity with mere murmurs of the other side of the glass sneaking through. The beer looks healthier in girth, somewhere in the middle range of saison body. On the nose, she smells of the beautiful HF farmhouse yeast, but with a spicier, more nuanced turn. Lemon meringue takes on touches of nettles, aged hay, and oh-so-slight peppercorn. There is a turn of lime, a touch of grapefruit juice, chalk, pool water, crisp minerality, and some slight crackers, too. On the tongue, the beer tastes tartly of rich citric acidity. There is a fruit juice sweetness below the acidity, along with a low musty earthiness that takes a touch of cheesy sweetness. Very subtle brine works its way into the finish and aftertaste, while bitterness plays a gentle background role, displaying licks of herbs and perhaps a touch of pith and citrus rind in the middle and finish, along with just a kiss of oak tannin dryness. In flavor, this starts as citrus juice somewhere between orange and grapefruit, and then grows legs and arms as it warms. There is touches of sweet fruit flesh, aged and bristly hay, hints of pool water and something more brackish, turns of older citrus rind, white grape must, honeydew melon flesh, lemon meringue, and lemon acidity. The finish carries notes of a cheese rind mustiness that builds as the beer warms, and adds a lovely touch of earthiness to the beer alongside gentle nuances of oak and almond. In the mouth, the beer feels medium bodied, and sharper. It prickles over the tongue, and while never becoming fierce, it leaves a good tingle and definitely steps above the effervescent line. It is crisp, yet gelling and more languid than one would suspect. There is a definite smoothness to the back of this beer, though. The front end crackles and pricks, but the back of the beer almost oozes. It is an interestingly little split. When the beer leaves, the mouth pools a little with spittle, and tightens with slight astringency, and a nice dryness that requests another sip. Overall, this is a beautiful and complex sip. Did you expect anything else from this beer? It was, admittedly, not quite worth the $30 asking price, but the pedigree of breweries was. This is a beautiful and complex expression of a mixed fermentation farmhouse ale, and really opens up in the glass with layer after layer. I would almost encourage you to serve this at warmer temperatures, only the cooler temperatures create a delicious sipping experience, too. Warmth brings more spice and tannin, which I love, but coolness makes this fresh citrus juice, which is equally nice, though a little too easy to drink. Definitely take this one slow, as it will reward you with layer after layer. As someone outside that trading game, I have no idea what the Sante Adairius portfolio is offering, but I’ve been hearing wonderful things. From my knowledge of the Hill stuff though, this is a creamier, fuller, maltier Arthur, with a healthy dose of white wine barrel, and perhaps a touch of Anna. There is also a splash of funk outside of normal HF, and I like to think that comes from those SA folk. All things considered, this is delicious, and meant to be savored. Do yourself a favor and slowly sip this over an hour or so. The glass will surprise you with its complexity. This is lovely Hill swill.
Note: Hill Farmstead, why no ABV’s? Just curious. Also, how did you bring culture to this heathen ale?