Brewery: Tree House Brewing Co.
My Cost: Trade
Actual Cost: $3.75 (can)
Glassware: Pint, Mug
Purchased@: Brewery Only (bottle/can)
Quick Take: Julius was initially a disappointment for me, but on reflection I think it was in some part a victim of my expectations. That said, a little warmth goes a long way and Julius ultimately won me over when it loosened up. Balanced and drinkable on a near sessionable level, a lovely beer that deserves admiration, even if it isn’t quite beer julius.
Brew Facts: At the time of this review, Tree House Brewing is a pretty exclusive affair. The only way to get your pints on their beer is to go to their brewer located in remote Monson, MA for a growler fill or can release (brewery only), or head to one of six bars in the area to carry it. There are some online options, but illegal price gouging (I found someone asking $30 for a can of Haze) means a road trip or beer trade is your best bet.
Appearance: A crack of the can, a tip in the glass and my first gander pours out. A fluffy white head crops up and retains like its raging against the dying of the light. A thick puff you could take a nap on reaches up for the glass edge with ropes of lace. But even a head like this is made to fade. Underneath is a beer the color of hazy orange mixed with an amber glow that shares looks with some of my favorite IPAs.
Aroma: A sniff and the Julius moniker is well-earned. Creamy lactose, bright mango, orange zest and flowers. The subtler hop aromas are smothered under a layer of citrus acidity, but it’s an agreeable one all the same. It’s a scent that does what it needs to; tell your schnoz that this beer is OJ with an ABV and get your taste buds a-tingling.
Taste/Mouth Feel: A sip and the body is a little thicker than most non-imperial IPAs, but not dense enough that you want to carve off a slice. Carbonation is pleasantly dialed-in and doesn’t get in the way. The initial taste is bitter orange pith that resists the full on sweetness of OJ, and rounds out with a delectably creamy tropical hop. An appealing flavor, but not the bright, juicy orange my nose had me anticipating. The finish has a creeping coconut/vanilla quality that is partially reminiscent of this beer’s namesake. As it warms so does my appreciation. Orange bitterness gives way to a pineapple and passion fruit that really brings this beer to life.
Final Thoughts: Julius was initially a disappointment for me, but on reflection I think it was in some part a victim of my expectations. My orange, mango, and overall tropical fruit loving IPA palate got greedy, wanting even bigger, bolder fruit flavors. That said, a little warmth goes a long way and Julius ultimately won me over when it loosened up. Balanced and drinkable on a near sessionable level, if you go in understanding that it’s an citrus-centric IPA as opposed to beer OJ in a can, you’ll find a lovely beer that deserves admiration, even if it isn’t quite beer julius.
Recommendation: Worth tracking down for the right price.