Friday, June 28, 2013

Hill Farmstead Abner

4.7
   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
Chad9976 (913) - Albany, New York, USA - JUN 28, 2013
I poured a 750ml growler into a tulip glass (thanks Jon, for the bottle!). I'm not sure when the growler was filled. It cost $12 ($0.47 per ounce).

Appearance: Bright pale orange/dark yellow hue. Extremely hazy. Forms a large, white, frothy head which laces and retains very well.

Smell: A wonderful, pungent nose of tropical fruits (guava, passion fruit, mango) and citrus (grapefruit and tangerine). Some pine and flowers as well.

Taste: It’s hard for me to even begin to review beers like this. Hill Farmstead has been so hyped up by the fanboys that I figured there’s no way any brewery could live up to such acclaim. Well I can’t speak for the entire brewery, but I do have to admit that "Abner" is definitely a top notch double IPA. It’s exactly what I look for in beers of the style: intoxicating aroma; a delicious, well-balanced palette; and it’s highly drinkable.

This could easily be confused for a San Diego beer as it has all the makings of a Stone or Ballast Point brew. There’s a delectable juicy flavor that starts things off: grapefruit, guava, passion fruit, et al, are all present immediately. There’s a slight sweetness and an almost juice-like taste across the tongue. It’s actually quite refreshing for a moment there, that is until the bitterness comes in. It’s not quite as aggressive as some others of the style, though it’s noticeably strong for sure. I get a garlic and onion taste at the apex, though they’re quickly chased away by dry bitterness. There’s a slight spiciness on the finish, but it fades away and leaves a nondescript aftertaste of hop bitterness.

I have to say I was extremely pleased with this beer, though its taste is a bit familiar. There are comparable alternatives sitting on shelves of beer stores nationwide, but being able to experience this rare opportunity was a pleasant surprise and worth the money.

Drinkability: Hill Farmstead Abner drinks the way a double IPA should. It’s got the crispness of a standard IPA, but with a slightly thicker, softer texture. It’s quite comfortable in the mouth and goes down super smooth. Sure, the hops do linger and dry out the palate, but that’s to be expected from this type of beer. At 8.2% ABV it’s definitely a strong, robust beer all around, but there’s no alcohol taste or warmth to be found anywhere. I had no trouble drinking the entire bottle myself. 
Grade: 10/10
Watch my video review here: