Most beers I review in 99 Bottles will be readily accessible to readers. Some will be harder to find. This one isn't available without a four-hour trip to Greensboro Bend, Vt., but it's a beer I'd like to review, anyway. This beer wasn't made available to me because of my job; I made the trip to Vermont last week as a beer fan, and I was handsomely rewarded. Most beer journeys tend to be good ones.
I purchased a 750 ml bottle of Harlan, filled from a tap, from the Hill Farmstead Brewery on July 7. I cracked open the beer two days later. It's important to enjoy Hill Farmstead beers fresh. That's one reason why these beers aren't available all over the country. Another, of course, is that there simply isn't a ton of this beer made.
Harlan is one of what seems like dozens of Hill Farmstead's standout IPAs. It's the "slightly more aggressive alter-ego" of another Hill Farmstead IPA, Edward, which could be called the brewery's flagship beer, if it had one. Edward is brewed with Centennial, Chinook, Columbus, Simcoe, and Warrior hops. Harlan is Edward, but it's dry-hopped exclusively with Columbus hops. The beer has an ABV of 6 percent.
After uncorking, the beer pours orange. It smells like heaven: grapefruit, oranges, and lemons dominate the aroma. Citrus, citrus, citrus.
At 85 IBUs (international bitterness units), it tastes like a big, resinous, double-IPA, but it's not. It's a single. The beer is easy drinking. You taste lemons, balanced by the caramel malt. No ingredient overwhelms. It is, simply, a delicious IPA.
I've given you several IPAs so far, so tomorrow, a sour.