Craft Beer

Hill Farmstead Brewery Brings Craft the Touch of the Artist with Brewer-in-Residence Program

Surely many home brewers and craft beer enthusiast have fantasies of going behind the scenes and learning from other craft breweries. For one California man—and many to come—that dream is coming true in Greensboro Bend, Vermont.

Tim Clifford started out brewing beer at home, but on August 10th, he began his tenure as a brewer-in-residence at Hill Farmstead Brewery. Their new program invites a distinguished maker of craft beer from afar to spend twelve days at the facility, absorbing local beer culture, experimenting, and sharing favorite techniques with the brewery’s owner, Shaun Hill.

Putting the Micro in Micro-Brewery

Hill Farmstead Brewery logoHill Farmstead Brewery is just about as small as they come. Not only does Hill refuse to ship outside of the Burlington, Vermont area, the owner has sworn to keep production below 150,000 gallons per year. In 2014, his fourth year in production, he made just 60,000 gallons. He also has no interest in hiring more than his six employees or moving off the small farm where the brewery currently resides.

Hill got most of his beer education at Nørrebro Bryghus, a small but hip brewery and restaurant in Copenhagen, Denmark’s hip Nørrebro district that launched in 2003. The place is small but extremely experimental, and it hosts a program much like Hill Farmstead’s. At that program, brewers from all over the world are invited to spend a week absorbing culture and swapping trade secrets.

The Vermont program is a bit more extensive given its longer length and their pledge to brew a variety of beers together in contrast with Nørrebro Bryghus’s single brew goal. It certainly doesn’t seem like Shaun is in it for the extra help, though. The program is decidedly a two-way street, with both parties pledging to get plenty out of it.

Opportunity of a Lifetime

Tim Clifford has come a long way from his roots as a home brewer, showing that true dedication to the craft can take a beer lover anywhere. He’s now a co-owner and brewer in Capitola, California at Sante Adairius Rustic Ales. Clifford shares his practice near Santa Cruz with Adair Paterno, where together they craft a small but daring selection of Belgian-inspired, American-style and barrel-aged beers featuring ingredients like coffee and locally sourced honey.

Meanwhile, Hill Farmstead Brewery brews a wide variety of styles, from pale ale to stout, in five different collections, including nine beers from the Philosophical Series all entitled “Civil Disobedience.”

The two brewers will no doubt have plenty in common, with Hill sure to improve his Belgian beers and Clifford sure to expand his range. For home brewers hoping to join in the craft breweries’ collaboration and fun, it may be time to make their names. Hill Farmstead sends out their own invitations for the seemingly exclusive brewer-in-residence program, and though it is planned to continue beyond Tim Clifford, the brewery does not accept applications.