Near the junction of the Mass Pike and I-84 is a small town called Monson, MA. If you are driving down East Hill Road in Monson (probably not by accident, it’s a bit out of the way) you’ll see a hand painted side pointing you towards “fresh beer sold here”. Inside the renovated barn on this rural road is Treehouse Brewing Company, where you can buy some of the most sought-after beers in New England. The interior of the barn has been rebuilt as a tasting room, and on a weekend expect it to be packed. As you walk in you’ll probably be greeted by Dean, who will guide you through the process and entertain you while you wait. At the front bar you can taste what is on draft (no full pours), and order growlers. The back bar has seating and small pieces of paper where you write out your orders for 750 mL flip-top bottles or 2L full growlers. The beers on draft constantly change and can sell out at any time, so don’t expect to always get your first choice. On a recent visit I was able to purchase Haze, their sought-after double IPA. Haze sold out right after my bottles were filled. I got my ticket to the bar just in time! Haze is pretty new – they don’t even have a description on their website yet, but Treehouse is known for their hop-forward beers so I knew this was worth the drive alone.
Treehouse Brewing Haze pours a hazy creamsicle orange with a moderate white head. The smell is a huge burst of succulent American hops, tons of tropical fruit and some citrus. The taste is all hops, mango, papaya, orange, lemon and grapefruit. There is a solid hoppy bite, but it isn’t tongue numbing. There is just enough malt to provide some balance, but this is an unabashed hop-bomb. Haze is extremely drinkable, which is actually a little dangerous at 8.2% ABV, you don’t taste the booze at all. The finish is crisp with a mouth-puckering bitterness left on the tongue. This beer is so good that I would drive back to Monson again just to get more. I can’t wait for my next trip out west. Hoppy Boston score: 4.75/5.