There are different levels of craft beer drinkers. There are the regular, everyday consumers who grab whatever can or bottle catches their eye on store shelves to quench their thirst. And then there are the “Ahabs,” if you will, those hunters seeking “white whales,” rare brewery releases that make beer nerds lose their minds and often their wallets. I’ve even heard tales of a person reselling a single $5 can of a double IPA, for $100. That beer was Tree House Brewing Company’s Juice Machine. While this beer from the fabled Massachusetts brewery isn’t part of its regular rotation like its flagship Julius IPA, it is released more often than it used to be and has become less of a Holy Grail beer while still being highly sought after.
The can’s label has a colorful illustration of a robot straight out of 1950s sci-fi (think Lost In Space) with a dome-shaped head crammed with fruit. As one would expect from one of the original “haze” breweries, Juice Machine pours a murky orange. As the label foreshadowed, the first sniff is a big bouquet of tropical fruit. The soft, sweet notes lean more toward fruit candy than to fresh-cut fruit.
The first thing that strikes me when drinking this beer is the pillowy mouthfeel that holds up the “fruit salad.” The way the variety of fruit hits the palate feels like watching a slot machine. I found myself saying “Oh there’s a peach, and a lime, and a grapefruit, and a peach, and melon.” There’s also a light, floral quality which balances the melange of fruit. It never veers off into the full-blown juice zone, retaining its softness all the way through.
As they say on the internet, “the hype is real” when it comes to Juice Machine. With its unabashed fruitiness and delicate mouthfeel, it’s easy to see why this semi-elusive DIPA is highly coveted. Just be sure to stay clear of those secondary prices to keep your pockets from getting “juiced.”