- March 14, 2018
- October 12, 2017
Tree House Brewing Company
Q&A: Karen Akunowicz of Myers + Chang
Cocktail of the Week: Fort Que L'amour
To say that Tree House brews up sought-after suds would be an understatement. Case in point: Beer lovers have been known to stand in line hours before the brewery opens, in some cases even sleeping in their cars to be the first ones rolling through the door in the morning.
This cult-like following no doubt stems from the beer’s elusiveness—you won’t find it at a liquor store, restaurant, or bar. Monson, Mass.-based Tree House is a draft-only brewery, selling pours, cans, and growlers on-site only. As a result, the team has the freedom to continually rotate its tap and cater to creative whims. And people seem to be more than willing to make the trek almost all the way out to Springfield.
It all started when Nate Lanier’s girlfriend gifted him a homebrew kit. Instantly hooked on the hobby, he roped in friends Damien Goudreau, Dean Rohan, and Jonathan Weisbach. Soon they were selling home brews out of a barn in Brimfield—but when they were outgrowing the limited space (the neighbors were a tad miffed by the customers’ cars lined up down the street), they moved to a property in Monson and expanded from there.
If you’ve heard about Tree House, you’re likely familiar with its IPAs. Julius, which steals the hearts of even the choosiest hopheads, is ultra-juicy and dangerously smooth, like drinking an orange creamsicle with remarkably subtle bitterness. Alter Ego provides further proof: With the same base as Julius, a heavy dose of Mosaic and Amarillo hops add citrusy and spicy complexity. Sap, brewed with a killer combo of Northwest American hops, is nuanced and intricate, peppery, and dank with a dry, earthy finish. The Double IPA Bright is an herbal Mosaic hop party with a cornucopia of citrus making an appearance. And the herbaceous, grassy IPA Green fusing Australian and American hops is certainly not for the faint of heart: Its name recalls the original batch, in which the wort was green due from so much hop particulate.
Tree House also offers plenty of brews outside the IPA realm. The decadent imperial stout Good Morning, for example, which is brewed with local maple syrup, is oozing with maltiness, packing a powerful punch at 8.4 percent ABV. That’s What She Said is a smoky, velvety-soft sweet milk stout, and Old Man, a classic English-style bitter, is bready and nutty with a blast of biscuit, caramel, and roasted toffee. Uniquely effervescent Native Five, a mixed fermentation ale, is brewed with raw unpasteurized woodland honey from wild bees in Zambia, fermented with local Brettanomyces yeast, and then aged in oak for several months.
In July 2017, Tree House opened its second location in Charlton—just 15 minutes from its Monson HQ. The new outpost is set on 70 acres of semi-secluded land and features a large retail area and taproom plus an outdoor pavilion. Both dog-friendly and kid-friendly, this new spot frequently hosts live music and local food trucks, such as The Dining Car and The Chubby Chickpea.
Fans know to check Tree House’s Twitter account daily for updates on which brews are available and in what quantities, as well as whether pints are being offered. (Note: Pints are always available on Saturday, however.) Cans are sold as soon as they’re packaged, Wednesday through Friday, with varying limits.