As many of you know (if you read the About Me section), the beer that turned me from a craft beer drinker to a craft beer fanatic was Heady Topper by The Alchemist. Heady Topper is known as the original “New England Style IPA” (or Vermont IPA…depending on how much you care about labels). There are many people out there who love the “hazy” IPAs, and many who absolutely despise them- I’m part of the former. The New England style IPA is known for being an opaque color, with a softer bitterness compared to a traditional IPA, and bursting with citrus and tropical fruit flavors derived from the hops. Tree House Brewing Company is one of the up-and-coming breweries that has not only joined the hazy IPA trend, but they are among those leading the charge (in a very big way for that matter). I hate waiting in lines for beer, but there are some beers that are deserving of the lines they generate (short story: I sucked it up). Here is my take on one of their many hop forward beers: Green. Check it out:
Beer Name: Green
Brewery: Tree House Brewing Company
Brewery Location: Monson, MA
Beer Style: IPA
Green pours an opaque light-orange color with a creamy white head. Actually opaque doesn’t do the description justice. It’s like somebody took orange juice and added milk to it- that’s the appearance. In short: it looks like a New England style IPA.
Orange, grassy, mango, and other tropical fruits. The hop character of this beer is really, really pungent.
Taste & Aftertaste
Traditional to the New England IPA style, this beer has a creamy mouthfeel without being too sweet. Up front, the bitterness is soft and smooth- which is in contrast to traditional IPAs that are less afraid of a sharper bitterness. The hop flavor of this beer is pretty consistent with its aroma- I picked up some pineapple, mango, and tropical fruits with a bitter, grassy finish (almost like fresh lawn clippings). Uber fans of this beer style will call them “juicy”- referring to the combination of the creamy mouthfeel paired with the intense fruit flavors (it’s like drinking juice). In that respect, I will call this beer “juicy”, but know that I despise the term because it’s overused now and it really doesn’t tell you anything about the specifics of the beer’s actual flavor. Moving on.
The bitterness lingers in the aftertaste some (like one might expect), but it’s not remotely harsh or unpleasant. The one critique I have of this beer is that there is a slight bite/burn on the back corners of my palate in the aftertaste of this beer that I don’t typically attribute to hop bitterness or high alcohol burn. Some might say that this is a “yeast bite” (some New England style IPAs allegedly have yeast still in suspension- giving it its signature hazy appearance, but consequentially also a slight burn/bite). That said: I did not look at this beer under a microscope, so I am not saying with any certainty why I perceive this quality (I’m a drinker, not a scientist dammit). We can leave this note open for debate.
What we have here is the epitome of the New England style IPA- a murky, silky-smooth IPA bursting with citrusy and tropical-fruity hop characteristics. I absolutely love this beer, and it’s one of my favorite IPAs. This beer is absolutely stellar, and I can easily understand why Tree House has long lines every single day that they are open for business. Tree House has not merely followed in the footsteps of the Alchemist, they have made the New England style IPA all their own and are now among the shining examples of the style. If you have the patience to wait in a long line, and you’re in the area on a release date… Get. This. Beer.