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
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!