Massachusetts’ Tree House Brewing was among the very first New England brewers to popularize the region’s famously bright, juicy, and hazy IPAs, and its offerings are among the most highly sought-after in all of craft beer. The brewery may have outgrown its original home in Monson and moved to a bigger facility in nearby Charlton, but that doesn’t mean Tree House beers are any easier to find. You still have to make the trek in person to the Tree House retail shop to get a taste (resale/trade market aside), or in my case, have a really nice friend do it for you. Tree House’s IPAs and double IPAs are world-class, but don’t pass over one of the brewery’s earliest offerings in Lights Out pale ale.
Unlike most of Tree House’s bright and eye-catching cans, Lights Out pours from a chrome can with a small black and white label showing a treehouse in a forest at night. Luckily the beer’s appearance has quite a bit more to offer. Vibrant and bright orange, Lights Out is turbid and totally opaque in typical Tree House style. A luxurious, pillowy white head rests on top of that orange juice body.
Lights Out is brewed by Tree House, so it’s obviously gorgeous. But the amount of hoppy aroma coming from the glass is equally stunning. It’s absolutely redolent of citrus and tropical fruits like orange, grapefruit, and mango. Lights Out has the aroma of the best double dry-hopped double IPAs despite being a pale ale that weighs in at only 5.8% ABV.
Think about the most citrus-forward IPA you’ve ever had, then double the fruit and halve the bitterness. That’s Lights Out.”
All Tree House beer I’ve ever had is amazing, full stop. And don’t think the lower ABV makes Lights Out the exception either, as it brings a wallop of fruit flavor from the insane amount of hops used in brewing this gem. Think about the most citrus-forward IPA you’ve ever had, then double the fruit and halve the bitterness. That’s Lights Out. Tree House says tangerine is the dominant flavor, and that’s exactly right. The fruit’s best qualities are present from start to finish from the juicy, sweet flesh to the lightly bitter rind. Despite the absurd amount of hop-derived fruit flavor, Lights Out has just enough bitterness to balance the sweetness and let the juiciness of the beer shine.
While Tree House’s stronger and hoppier offerings may garner the most attention online and in trades, don’t neglect original stalwart Lights Out. It’s maybe the juiciest, hoppiest beer I’ve had under 6.0% ABV, and it’s a perfect example of what makes Tree House so special in a slightly less boozy, more approachable package.