Friday, September 15, 2017

Tree House Brewing Company- Standing in line for beer?

Tree House Brewing Company "Julius" IPA
Tree House Brewing Company, the famous Charlton, MA brewery known for long lines for purchasing cans, fanatical fans, and great "juicy" "New England" style IPA's, was a place I had never visited until this past August.

Why hadn't I ever visited? Because I have a very firm, long standing rule against standing in line for beer.

A little context is probably needed here- why would a self-avowed beer geek intentionally avoid one of the most renowned, revered breweries that was right in his own back yard?  Well, for one, I am 43 and have 3 kids. As you might imagine, this takes up a lot of my time. Spending an hour to drive there, then an hour in line, is not something I can do without ignoring family.

So, despite the fact that I've been drinking craft beer since the early 1990's- when the only real "craft" beer in Boston was Sam Adams, Pete's Wicked Ale, and The Boston Beer Works lone Fenway location- I had NEVER stood in line to get beer.  Until August.

I decided that it was time to give it a shot. I admit, all the Twitter and Facebook beer feed finally got toe me and compelled me to make the drive to Charlton one Friday evening. Here are my impressions.

I arrived at the Tree House just after 2:30, the parking lot was packed and super busy. I found a spot in the lower lot. The police officer directing traffic told me that they had a shuttle running up the hill, which I was very grateful to know as I had a back injury and walking was a bit painful. I waited maybe 2 minutes for the golf cart, which shot me up the hill quickly. I got in line at the back corner of the parking lot, right by the shed at the back right of the upper lot. The line was loooong! I'd guess 300 people or so. I thought of taking pictures, but I really wanted to take in the "experience", watch the crowd, see how the brewery staff managed the line, and really just enjoy what was a really perfect day weather wise. People were cool with waiting in line, and the line really moved fast. I was inside in just under 40 minutes, which I found impressive.

The days limits were 6- Curiosity 40, 3- That's What She Said Milk Stout, and 3- Julius IPA. So of course I bought my limit, and two tulip glasses as well. If you're going to enjoy a Tree House beer, do it right, right?

I'd be remiss if I didn't pause here to compliment the Tree House Brewery Staff. Every single person I interacted with just AWESOME! Great attitudes, ready to get me what I needed, and super knowledgeable. I was so damn impressed, I cannot tell you. I have 21 years of retail experience, and this staff was possibly the best performing floor staff I'd ever seen.

But what about THE BEER!!???

Yes, yes, I'm getting to that. Indulge me, visiting Tree House is really an experience, and I want to share it all!

OK, so obviously when I got home, I unpacked my haul from the cooler and cracked open a Julius, and took a seat outside.

The beer pours a hazy orange juice like appearance, and an aroma that I found understated for an IPA, almost sweet with citrus notes.

Mouthfeel was the first "wow", as it was super, super soft, not something I am used to in an IPA.

Taste was superb, bright, fruity, but not bitter. I got notes of peach and mangoes, and a clean finish. I loved it. There is no bitter hop finish, but I didn't miss it.

So, the big question- does it live up to the hype?

Tough question, for a beer so hyped up. It really depends on your own preferences. But it is a great IPA, worth seeking out.

My next Tree House offering was the That's What She Said Milk Stout.

Now, THIS was my favorite beer of the three offerings that I was able to get my hands on.

Pouring a dark, oily black, this beer is a viscous, thick, malty dream in a glass!

Such an incredibly thick, creamy, soft mouthfeel, coupled with an incredible depth of malty, roasted flavor make this beer a top 3 all time stout in my opinion. Any further attempt at description here won't do it justice.

This beer is world class! Why it doesn't get the hype of Julius astounds me.

And lastly, we have Curiosity 40- an IPA with Galaxy and Simcoe.

This is a great beer. Super drinkable with great hop flavor, I hope they revisit this version of Curiosity again. It's a great session brew, although at 7% abv its not really a "session" beer at all.

So, to sum up my Tree House experience- waiting in line for beer is not bad if the brewery you are waiting at knows what they are doing.
The fine folks at Tree house know what they are doing.

I can't wait to try more of their beer, and I am very anxiously awaiting the day when they do pours during all hours! The facility is gorgeous, and I long to enjoy a beer at the pavilion and take in the view.


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