February 25, 2016
I’ve been waiting to take this road trip to Trillium and Tree House for some time now. My friend Mike and I got off at 8:30 a.m. and we arrived at Trillium’s Canton facility just before noon. We had a quick couple samples and at least a few quiet moments to plan our purchase. Just a smattering of customers. Between the two of us, we lugged about seven cases back to the car and packed them on ice. After a lunch break at Smash Burger, we were on our way westward to Tree House in Monson, MA. The trip was about an hour and a half from Canton and I’d say we pulled into the lot at about 3:30 p.m. for what was supposed to be a 5:00 p.m. opening.
Parking is in a few different lots and the brewery has a couple of employees that will point you in the right direction. What was a nice day turned raw, rainy and cold. The anticipation was enough to keep me from complaining.
Shortly before opening, the Tree House staff will pass out growler order cards and an availability sheet (and yes – pencils were available). As you can see the cards are numbered in order and that will come in handy later. My advice is to check their website for the latest growler fill limits so your expectations are in order. Don’t flip out that you can’t buy 4 growlers of one beer. They sell it as fast as they make it and they want to make sure that everyone walks away with something. One more thing, they only fill their own growlers (apparently its a state law). I brought a couple Mike had gotten me on an earlier trip. They will collect the cards once they think the initial line has had a chance to fill out. Again, not a concern as the cards are numbered.
We were surprised when they opened for sales earlier than expected. I guess they felt pity for us cold and wet wretches. One tip, as you get close to the brewery door, you’ll be asked to keep the single entry/exit door clear. Don’t crowd in, apparently, it’s an ongoing issue.
Your first line is the cans purchase line and they will assume that you want the maximum number of cans. As you can see from the photo below, the can line offers a great view right onto the brewery floor. Today’s limit was three each of Sap, Julius and Doppelgänger. Once you pay for your cans (cash or credit) you’ll need to wait for your growler fill order to come up. They will call your number “deli-style” on a tote board. They seem to pre-fill growlers as they had already gone through the first fifty-five orders when I stepped off the can line. Really an efficient process.
We were in line by 3:30 and out the door and on our way home by 4:45 – it’s a well-oiled process. Staff was amazingly cheerful, friendly and fun. An outstanding experience. We pulled into my driveway about 12 hours after our journey began.
In retrospect, we could have added New England Brewing on the way home. I was kind of bummed when I learned the next day that they had released Fuzzy Baby Ducks as we drove past the brewery just off the Merritt Parkway. The disappointment was short-lived as we certainly went home with more than a consolation prize. It was a very good beer day.
Tasting: March 1, 2016
Style: American IPA
Beer #: 911
Certainly not the juice bomb that one might expect from a Tree House IPA but Sap is no slouch in the flavor department. I like that they made something easily unique and identifiable. Sap has lots of grapefruit, juniper and assaulting bitterness. Puckery and dry finish and a pillowy mouthfeel. If you like your IPA scale tipped in favor of bitterness over sweetness – this is your beer. I enjoyed Sap – 93 points. Can was stamped 2/23/16 – 7 days old.
Tasting: March 8, 2016
Style: Imperial IPA
Beer #: 912
A Doppelgänger is a double of a living person…like if native of China said they were one in a million, they would have a thousand doppelgängers. If this Doppelgänger is a copy of another beer – then I want to find that beer. This may be the best of the three beers pictured above. Dank, resinous, smokey, sharp bitterness, juicy. 97 points.
I’ve had Julius before check out my thoughts here:
Julius – 96 Points
Tasting: February 26, 2016
Style: Imperial Stout
Beer #: 913
A couple of months ago, I had the opportunity to try Tree House Brewing’s Double Shot Gracenote Kenya
Double Shot Gracenote Kenya Irati- 94 Points
This time around, it is just the “regular” double shot. Massively decadent and smooth with espresso, chocolate and vanilla. Double Shot is certainly not run over by roasted grain bitterness found in other stouts. In retrospect, I think I may have short-changed the Gracenote Kenya Irati – but I won’t make the same mistake. Double Note is a solid 95 points in my book.