“I know they said there would be a line, but it’s a Wednesday, and Saint Patrick’s Day was yesterday. I’m not worried.”
We’re standing in line at Hill Farmstead, an out of the way brewery in Greensboro. When we pulled up, cars with licence plates from all different states and provinces had overflowed from the parking lot and lined the dirt road.
We’d heard rumours about this place – stories of line-ups three hours out the door every day. So, we expected the beer to be good, but also suspected that the stories we’d been told were part of building up the mythology of this gem of Vermont’s crown as the craft beer state.
Now, standing in a line more than 50 people deep, we’re eating our words.
The brewer stands up on a keg to greet the line and asks who among us is a first timer. A few of us raise our hands, the rare few not already carrying a Hill Farmstead growler. Growlers. I count 10 growlitas with the person behind me, a case of five growlers with the person ahead. Another set of ten, two people with portable coolers.
Every person ahead of us leaves with a box. In some cases, boxes. There is a five growler fill limit, but you can also pick up bottles at the front. New rules have also put a limit on special edition brews, restricting the total number of bottles you can purchase per person from one to three bottles. Not per visit. Ever.
“You’re looking at an hour, hour and a half long wait.” The brewer says.
Two brewery dogs work the line, greeting people and sidling up to strangers. Further up the line staff take sample tray orders, which people taste while they wait to reach the front.
It borders on surreal. A long drive up a dirt road to wait two hours or more to pay $28 for a growler. But we wait. We all wait. And no one is complaining.
It’s not like we came late, the line keeps collecting behind us. I overhear a group of regulars in front of us discussing their wait.
“We got here at 1:15, so that’s only a little over two hours,” they say, nodding their heads in acknowledgement of the fact that this isn’t that bad of a wait time.
As we wait in line, beer is selling out. There are few amusement park rides I’ve waited for this long, and I’ve been to Disney pre-fast pass. By the two-hour mark, the quick service line, the “bottles only, and only bottles we won’t run out of” option, is now also halfway out the brewery.
As much as I begrudged waiting for two and a half hours in line for a growler, reaching the front feels like a victory. The beer is good, the best of our trip. It’s an appropriate way to finish what’s been an epic Vermont craft beer trip. Our oddly shaped 2L growler will sit as a badge of honour, a prompt to continue to spread the legend of Hill Farmstead Brewery to friends.
403 Hill Rd
Greensboro Bend, VT
Samples Available? $5 for four 2 oz samples.
Growlers Available? Yes.