“Tapping the Keg” is a weekly review of craft beers brought to you by staff writer Dan Wood.
After hearing from a local beer enthusiast that Tree House brewing company is their favorite, celebratory, go-to and most inspirational beer brewing company, I had to give them a try. Thanks to that same fanatic, I was fortunate enough to get my hands on one of their most popular ales named “Bright.” This ale is a double IPA, implying a heavy dose of hops, so if you are not a fan of IPAs I suggest you stop reading now.
Like most of Tree House’s early brews, the design for their product was geared towards wholesale by the keg. Since they have grown in popularity, their beers are now available in retail, but only at the brewery located in Monson, Massachusetts, which is local enough and well worth the trip, according to several beer lovers. Their retail sales are almost exclusively in pint cans, which is a nice aspect as this is the standard serving size one would receive at a bar.
The can is very simple with only a single label sporting a design reminiscent of a 70’s psychedelic band tour poster. With a springtime palate coloring in the flowing shapes, which surround a woman sporting daisy-shaped sunglasses, one gets the feeling this will be a bright beer indeed.
Immediately upon opening the silver pint can, a fresh tangerine aroma assaults you as you pour the beer into a chilled pint glass of choice. The head retention is mild despite the sudsy bubbles that form upon the initial pour. The bubbles are fairly small and move slowly in vertical columns through this orange-gold brew that reminds one of the popular carbonated orange juice drink, Orangina.
The nose of this beer smells of freshly squeezed tangerines coupled with rosemary, orange blossom and grassy background notes. The top confirms much of the nose but takes a few detours as you get acclimated with this pint. After a bit of an astringent first bite, the top of this beer gives us a buttery start with a slap of super hops of a variety and or blend that is unknown to me, followed by notes of sweet lemon balm. The top slowly dissipates and then transitions to the middle where the real complexity begins. The hops come in with an almost spicy quality that is framed by a myriad of tropical fruits like durian and papaya, but much more tart. There are also some notes of salted pomelo. The finish is slightly savory with a yeasty background and virtually no bite, and not much lingers on the tongue.
This beer would pair nicely with a grilled beet and navel orange salad with shaved fennel and olive oil. It is also powerful enough to stand up to most white meat like roast pork or even grilled chicken. Bright is a bit too powerful for most white fish but could go nicely with a middle activity fish like salmon, char, trout or bluefish (wood-fire grilled, preferably). This beer would also pair with any fresh cheese like burata or goats milk cheeses. Anything with heavy seasoning or intense savoryness would work well; just know the difference between savory and salty.
Unfortunately, the beer can only be purchased at Tree House's retail shop, 160 E. Hill Rd., Monson, MA. Hours are Wednesday, 12-6 p.m.; Thursday and Friday 5-8 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The pint cans go for about $3 to $5 and its ABV is 7.8 percent.
Overall Rating: 9.5/10
Dan Wood is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.