Occupying a cavernous nouveau Industrial black-glassed professional complex in the wooded hills of countrified Massachusetts township, Charlton (an hour west of Boston), TREE HOUSE BREWING COMPANY has become one of the most vital and successful brewpub destinations in America, selling its brews in-house only at the top-selling taproom in the country (as of 2021).
Now with expansive locations in Deerfield and Sandwich (Cape Cod) as well as Woodstock, Connecticut, the independently owned business originally came to fruition when three challenging homebrewing pals decided to turn a red barn at nearby Brimfield into a small batch brewery in 2011. Since then, Tree House has concocted hundreds of superior recipes, many leaning on the robust, full-bodied, frothily creamed, dark side.
The pine-wooded 50,000 square-foot interior at this Adirondack-styled 100-acre brewing manor in Charlton is awe-inspiring with its Cathedral-ceilinged wood expanse, enormous exposed pipes, spacious bark-paneled serving stations, abundant community tables, epoxy-floored illumination and exemplary beers.
A centralized copper top bar with wood plank walling and a fantasy mural served a myriad of mostly complex hybrids and barrel-aged serums. For Octoberfest, the smaller side bar offered one-gallon mugs of German pilsners/lagers.
During my two-hour journey, I sat inside at the middle couched lounge, then the large hearth-warmed benched pavilion, sipping five exceptional, well-rounded brews with wife and dog during September ’21.
Musty earthen German pilsner, Trail, combined astringent corn-dried vegetal herbage with muskily grassed Noble hop floral daubs and a splash of lemon above a biscuity grain base.
Effervescent golden yellow hazed Green, a moderate-bodied ‘cross-continental’ IPA, gave its sharp lemony grapefruit-orange bittering, candied pineapple tartness and tangy tangerine tinge a mild piney hop pungency above earthen mineral graining.
Like a wondrous fruited gumball, King Julius Peach, a vibrant golden-hazed Imperial IPA, rang out with luxurious peach tanginess gaining vanilla-creamed marshmallow sweetness, a fine Julius offshoot with tertiary fig-dried apricot tartness and pina colada-like cocktail sugaring contrasting sedate pine lacquered grapefruit bittering in a peachy summertime setting.
Bright ambrosial fruited NEIPA, Doubleganger, let marshmallow-puffed vanilla creaming absorb zesty pineapple, peach, tangerine and mandarin tropicalia as well as tart mango-salted lemon meringue liming above dank piney-hopped orange rind bittering for a splendid milkshake-like dessert.
Creamily molasses-smoked brown chocolate syruping draped the caramelized coffee sweetness and fudgy toffee-spiced nuttiness lifting That’s What She Said above most of its heralded milk stout competition, leaving mild oak-charred hop resin in its lactic mochaccino wake.