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Belt’s Beer Garden: Trees a Crowd

A trio of brews from Tree House Brewing - Sap, Hurricane, & Juice Machine

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One of the best companies making hazy, New England IPAs is Tree House Brewing and, because of that, they have become one of the most sought after breweries in the US.

Tree House was founded in 2011 in Charlton, Massachusetts and they have been incredibly popular ever since...so popular, in fact, that you can no longer get their beers outside of their brewery.

Recently I took a trip to the northeast and knew that I needed to make their brewery a stop on my itinerary. While there, I figured I might as well buy every beer they had to offer since I might never make it back.

So today I have a trio of beers from them to share with you; Sap, one of their more regularly released beers, and a duo of more rare selections; Hurricane and Juice Machine.

Sap is an IPA brewed with northwestern hops, featuring a heavy dose of Chinook hops and has a solid 7% ABV. Each can cost $3.80.

Hurricane is a double IPA insanely hopped with Citra and Simcoe hops, has a nice 7.7% ABV and a price tag of $4.50

Finally, there’s Juice Machine, a DIPA made with Amarillo, Citra, Columbus, Galaxy, and Magnum hops. This hard to find brew has an 8.2% ABV with each 16-ounce can costing $5 at the brewery.

Let’s start with Sap.

This American-style IPA poured a cloudy straw color with just under two fingers of eggshell white head building atop the liquid below.

Super tropical aromas filled the air with juicy notes of grapefruit, guava, mango, and other citrus fruits. A light melon and lemony scent was present as well, along with a yeasty/bready undertone.

My first sip began with a sharp carbonation sting that lasted for a moment or two. From there the flavors slowly unfolded, revealing a plethora of hoppy citrus flavors. Mango, guava, and grapefruit led the charge with a hoppy bite joining in.

Midway through, a burst of orange rind and lemon zest bloomed across my taste buds with some caramel and sugary sweetness.

As things start to come to a close, the Chinook hops add a slightly piney, slightly bitter flavor that washes over the tropical flavors and reminds you that Sap is, indeed, an IPA and not some fruit drink.

Sap finishes mostly clean, though, with just a slightly resinous dryness lingering on. The flavors disappeared rather quickly and there is no real bitterness to speak of. The 7% ABV is hidden so well and it’s an insanely easy to drink beer.

In fact, I finished it a lot quicker than I probably should have. If the rest of Tree House’s brews are anything like this, I have a great day of beer lined up.

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Up next is Hurricane, a Citra and Simcoe DIPA.

Hurricane poured a super hazy, super murky pale straw color with a massive amount of head forming.

More than three fingers of sticky light tan head sprung up quickly, denying entry to the nectar it protected, and slowly fizzled away into just a dusting.

Compared to Sap, this brew’s aroma was a lot more subtle and soft. You could find tropical fruits like pineapple, lemon, orange, mango, and papaya but there was also a sweet blend of caramel and bready malt as well.

The beer begins with a very smooth and creamy mouthfeel with surprisingly little carbonation for the amount of head that built up.

Just like with the aroma, the flavors were a nice blend of sweet malt and tropical fruit but also quite mellow and rather soft.

Up front a medley of fruit flavors blossomed as if I was drinking fruit punch. There was pineapple, mango, and orange constantly sitting up front while other fruits, like melon, papaya, and tangerine, took a backseat for most of the brew but were quite noticeable on a few sips.

The malts added even more sweetness with a caramel flavor and some light bready undertones.

As everything began to fade away in this truly juicy brew, the hops did deliver one bitter pang that lingered briefly on the back of my throat, accompanied by a citrusy resin that dried out my mouth and required me to take a swig of water every so often.

Hurricane is a super sessionable beer, with the exception of that dry feeling every so often. It sure as hell did not drink like it was 7.7%! In fact, I honestly can’t believe a beer this smooth had an ABV over 6%...it was way too easy to drink for its own good!

The aroma/flavors might have been subtler than expected but this was another damn tasty brew.

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Finally, we have Juice Machine.

Juice Machine, as I mentioned earlier, is a DIPA brewed with Amarillo, Citra, Columbus, Galaxy, and Magnum hops and is essentially a blend of their King Julius malt profile with the hop schedule of their Very Green, another DIPA they brew.

It poured an incredibly murky, brownish orange color that looked like muddy water with foam on top. In fact, more than two full fingers of dense off-white head sprouted up, blocking access to the beer below.

This DIPA’s aroma was packed full of juicy tropical fruits. Orange, tangerine, melon, pineapple, and mango were all present but, even though it’s called Juice Machine, there was more than just tropical fruit to this beer’s scent. There was also a solid hoppy pine aroma and some bready malt characteristics as well.

It began with an incredibly think and creamy mouthfeel with almost no carbonation to it. From there it was a very nice blend of hoppy flavors with surprisingly little bitterness.

Up front was a burst of peach and mango with a tart pineapple sting coming up right behind. Immediately following that was more bright and juicy citrus flavors with grapefruit, orange, and tangerine dancing across my taste buds.

Honeydew, cantaloupe, and hints of papaya followed those before the juice aspect of Juice Machine started to fade and the other flavor profiles from the hops began to creep in.

The final third or so saw a resinous flavor – somewhat grassy but mostly piney – creep in and began to overpower the fruits. Soon after that, a peppery spice marked the final moments of the sip, as everything began to fade away slowly.

These final seconds were the only time that any bitterness popped up, biting my tongue briefly with a hoppy twinge…just to remind me that, after all, I was in fact drinking a beer.

After half the can was gone, I checked the stats and found that Juice Machine had a massive 8.2% ABV. I couldn’t imagine where all that alcohol was hidden because it sure didn’t taste like it!

Juice Machine is one of the rarer offerings Tree House has and I was lucky to go on a day when it was released. If you’re in the area and it’s being released…get to the brewery! It’s worth it.

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