Tree House Brewing is a brand social media loves to hate for making turbid, juicy IPAs. Hours-long lines form each morning at their doors in Charlton, Massachusetts to acquire an allotment of beers that are often a mystery until a couple hours before opening. Most visit hoping for Green, Haze, Sap or Julius, the latter of which I gave a perfect score in a previous review.
Tree House may very well be the center of the haze universe, but don’t ignore those other beers rolling off the line. In addition to making some very good stouts, it cans an extra special bitter call Old Man that should not be missed.
Old Man pours chestnut brown, on par with iced tea and darker than a brown ale. And, wait for it, it clear as a bell. No opaque qualities at all. The cream colored head is layered thick from an intentionally hard pour and sustains through most of the drink. By the end, you are left with a defined lacing.
Old Man—brewed in honor of one of the owner’s father—is true to style and a delightful alternative to the hazy IPAs.”
Malts dominant the scent, with some caramel and toasted grain present, but the floral hops add lighten the aroma. It’s been a while since I enjoyed a Fuller’s ESB, but I do remember that there was a blend of sweet and toasted grains for both the nose and palate to enjoy.
Upon first sip, you can taste the caramelized malt along with notes of toffee and nut. The floral hop profile brings along with them some interesting flavors—black tea, grass and orange and citrus. The hops create a dry, but not crisp, finish. It’s a medium-bodied beer that has a rather neutral feel due to a rather middling amount of carbonation.
British ESB’s are not particularly popular and it takes a bottle shop with a large international section to find more than just Fuller’s version. Not that Fuller’s ESB is bad—it’s actually quite good—but there is not much to compare it against. Old Man—brewed in honor of one of the owner’s father—is true to style and a delightful alternative to the hazy IPAs.