When we told Shaun Hill, the founder of Hill Farmstead Brewery, that we would like to evaluate his beer Arthur for consideration in a feature on the world's best saisons he asked us why we were only considering one of his beers for the honor. " I think that we make several that would quality as the best on the planet," he told us. His brewing backs his bluster. We ended up tasting three of his saisons and all were stunners. We're not Hill Farmstead's first admirers. In 2011 they were named best new brewery by the beer rating website "Rate Beer." By 2013 the same site had named them "The Best Brewery in the World."
Hill's family's roots in Greensboro trace back to the 1780s and family heritage informs nearly everything the brewery does from the chalice logo that was adapted from a sign that once hung in a great-great-great grandfather's tavern to the year-round "Ancestral Series" of beers. The label on Arthur, named in honor of a great uncle, explains, "This is the ale that I dream to have shared with Arthur."
We also loved Vera Mae and Florence and either could have easily found their way onto our list, but Arthur is the one that absolutely floored us. It is a golden saison with a huge rocky head and a nose that recalls lemon peel, herbal tea, and a light farmhouse funk. It's intensely bright and dry. Above all, it's balanced and extremely well-structured - the best saison we've ever tasted.