Thursday, May 21, 2015

Tree House Sap

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
Chad9976 (1353) - Albany, New York, USA - MAY 21, 2015
Chinook is a hop that’s probably best used in moderation (or even as a garnish). It tends to be very astringent; almost smoky, so it’s surprising that a brewery would use it as a “main course” hop as it were. That’s exactly the deal with Tree House Sap – an IPA “brewed almost exclusively” with Chinook hops (I’d be curious to know what other hops were used). The result is another excellent New England-style IPA that’s flavorful and quaffable.

I poured a 16oz can into a tulip glass. There was no freshness date (thanks to Jason for the can!).

Appearance: Extremely hazy shade of orange. Pours to a large, white, frothy head that retains well and leaves gorgeous lacing.

Smell: As its name implies there’s a strong piney/sap aroma here but also a significant tropical fruit juice character. Very clean and inviting.

Taste: The palette opens with a slightly sweet, juicy-like flavor of citrus and tropical fruits. Mango, papaya, passion fruit and straight up orange juice are all quite prominent at first. It almost turns on a dime into something more abrasive and astringent. Strong earthy notes of resin, tree bark and sap emerge from out of nowhere and give the beer a different flavor on the second half. The bitterness remains fairly strong throughout; though doesn’t feel like the supposedly 80 IBU rating (seems closer to 60-70 to me). Not much in the way of distinctive malt character, though this brew is much more than simply hops in carbonated water. Delicious, innovative and at the very least interesting – this is an IPA I can really get behind.

Drinkability: I’m starting to think unfiltered is the way to go for strong IPAs as some of the best examples of the style look and feel like a milkshake. The body to Tree House Sap is certainly full, but amazingly soft and comfortable with a smooth finish I’d normally associate with a stout. The hops do linger on the tongue, leaving a slightly dry/piney sensation but it’s much much more than simply tolerable – it’s pleasant. At 7.3% ABV, this makes full use of its weight and is “crushable” and actually refreshing while in the mouth. Thank God it comes in a can!

Score: 10/10

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