A family tradition

Mollie Braen Peleg
Courtesy Hill Farmstead Brewery.

Last March, I made the move from Los Angeles to Boston. It was a pretty big change: not just the fact that, for about six months of the year, really cold stuff falls from the sky, but definitely the history, culture, and way of life mean an adjustment from the large, fast-paced, relatively new city of Los Angeles, founded 4 September 1781 (compared to Boston, founded 7 September 1630).

And yet I bring my own history to Boston. Not only was my mother born and raised in Boston and the surrounding areas, but my parents were actually married in Salem thirty years ago this August. But my parents weren’t the first Massachusetts settlers: my great-great-grandparents on my maternal side were the first to come to this country, settling in Revere, Massachusetts, in 1900.

Though the 3,000 mile change was tough, one thing both cities have in common is being near the ocean. The best thing about summer in New England is getting to be by the water every weekend, enjoying the sunny and finally hot weather, and, of course, eating the best seafood and drinking beer.

Beer is something that is universally enjoyed in the United States and all over the world, especially in the last 20 years as the craft beer movement has exploded in popularity. Apps like Untapped (https://untappd.com/) and the popularity of more diverse and eclectic beers from small and large breweries has reinvigorated America’s love of beer. On my quest to try as many New England beers as possible, I stumbled upon a small brewery in Greensboro, Vermont, the Hill Farmstead Brewery.

‘A unique and very American story’

This brewery’s beers have a unique and very American story. The land in which the brewery sits was once home to the owner’s grandfather and his thirteen siblings. The land is also not far from the original tavern the current owner’s great-great-great-grandfather (Aaron Hill) owned back in the 1800s. The brewery is also situated near the surrounding land Aaron Hill and his father (Peleg Hill Jr.) settled 220 years ago. Aaron and Peleg were some of the original settlers of Greensboro (established as a town in 1793). The logo that is placed on every Hill Farmstead bottle and growler comes from the old sign that once hung in the Hill tavern in the early 1800s.

One line of beers that the brewery produces is called the Ancestral Series. Each beer represents a different family member in a line running from a great-great-great-grandfather to the present. Each beer is named after the relative and embodies his or her spirit and personality in the flavors and ingredients used to brew and produce the beer.

‘My own family has an interesting history’

What makes this brewery so intriguing, besides my love of craft beers, is the family history tied to the culture and love of New England land that created such a unique and truly American business. My own family has an interesting history with the alcohol business. My great-grandfather Carl Astrachan, born in Everett, Massachusetts, in 1907, opened his own liquor store (North Shore Liquor Company) near the dog track on North Shore Road in 1944. That store is still on the same street (with a different name) in Revere, even though Carl sold it back in 1976.

Though I will be honest, I haven’t visited this brewery yet, it is now definitely on my list of places to visit this summer, and when I do, I will be sure to write another blog post to tell you how the beer is.

Mollie Braen

About Mollie Braen

A graduate of the University of Denver, including a semester at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, Mollie majored in Art History and minored in Marketing and History; she plans to continue her education with an MBA in Non-Profit Management. Mollie performs administrative work for Research Services, supporting the researchers in ordering microfilm, managing correspondence with constituents, and organizing research materials. In her free time, Mollie, who recently moved to Boston from Los Angeles, enjoys travelling. With a family home on Lake Sebago in Maine, she often travels there as well as other parts of New England.

3 thoughts on “A family tradition

  1. Yes, let us know! You know, many folks have relatives who were in the wine or beer industries – but along came Prohibition and put them out of business.

    1. My father’s ancestors from Westmeath, Ireland settled in Lawrence, MA in 1751. Matthew Carney & his younger brother Michael became grocers, then brewers of beer (in Manchester, NH) then sold that and they opened a wholesale liquor & wine distributorship that became the largest in New England. After the partnership broke up, some nephews of the two founders continued to work in the company until the family left the business, & moved to Westchester County, NY. I’m told the firm, M. Carney & Co. lasted until 1951 but I have no details about the principal people there after roughly Prohibition.

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