Location: 160 E Hill Rd, Monson, MA 01057
Kid Friendly: I’d say yes. They’re tolerated.
Beer to go?: Cans are available and limited release bottles. They have growlers but a growler fill wasn’t an option when I was there. Five cans per adult were all that was available for to go beer. One draft beer per adult to consume at the brewery.
The quality of beer: Ridiculousness….
The late, great Charlie Murphy once said, “If Prince taught me anything, it’s that you can’t judge a book by its cover. This cat can ball!” The same can be said for Tree House Brewing Company.
Tree House is in the middle of a rural part of Monson, Massachusets. As we drive on the road I wondered if the beer was all hype or was it as legit as EVERYONE has said it is. Once I saw a house with a huge painted sign in front that read, “This isn’t Tree House, keep driving” I knew the hype was justified.
We arrived at the brewery around two pm on a Saturday. Just in time, as it would eventually turn out. The wooden sign that says “Live well” in front of the brewery is a beautiful touch, showcasing some of the amazing talents of the local woodworkers. There was another item that jumped out at us as we pulled into the spacious stone parking lot; an orange construction cone that has a sign on it that said, “Lot Full”. Again, the hype is justified.
As we walked in I took notice of the surrounding features to keep the customers occupied while they sip on their hoppy goodness. Several corn hole games are available, a koi pond is on the back end of the property, as well as numerous picnic tables and Adirondack chairs. The outside of the brewery is not anything grand or spectacular. It looks like a huge garage that someone constructed to rebuild cars in. Lining the front of the building you will see the bathroom facilities, four porta-potties. Again, don’t judge.
The inside of the brewery is open and spacious. There is a small bar as you walk in with rustic, carved wooden decor. They sell various shirts, hats, bags, stickers, bike shirts, and glasses with the Tree House logo. As you walk past the bar you will see tables set up with cans of beer for sale. I feel fortunate as I wait in line because there are only a few cans left for purchase. I immediately start thinking about how many I can buy and how I’m going to carry all these cans out to my soccer mom van excitement is building!
As I approach the tables a very nice and helpful young lady walks me through the Tree House protocols and procedures. Five beers may be purchased per adult. (say again? five total cans?- Yup) Luckily, my wife was with me and counted as another adult. I was able to buy ten cans of Haze in the purple can. Unfortunately, the kids couldn’t purchase beers for me. That would have been an awesome early Fathers Day present. Additionally, since the supply was running so low at this point in the day, we were only permitted purchase one draft beer per adult. We were given two tickets to take to the bar along with my ten cans. Here is where I must give a lot of credit to Treehouse Brewery. The cans of beer were only five dollars. In my mind, I was thinking $7-$10 per can because, well, they could probably charge that and no one would blink an eye at the cost. Nope, only five dollars. That is a deal!
My wife and I made our way over to the bar to get our first taste of the beer I’ve heard rave reviews over. Our hands were marked with an X so that way we couldn’t be sneaky and try to buy two beers per person (Someone, somewhere, at some time, tried it. Otherwise it wouldn’t have become protocol).
We received the tap list and were told our only option was Alter Ego, an IPA. It had a delicious citrusy aroma and had an amazing hop kick that seemed to just stay in the pallet. One sip and I could tell that the hype was justified. It was amazing! I have never sipped on a single beer for so long knowing that I couldn’t get another one. I felt like a condemned prisoner enjoying their last meal.
As I sipped on my beer I turned to see the employees write “SOLD OUT” on the chalkboard. Not even twenty minutes after I arrived they sold out of all the beer they can on site.
In noticing the shock and awe on my face one of the barmaids started to fill me in on the phenomenon that is Tree House Brewery. The brewery has its own canning machine that makes 2,000-2500 cases of beer a week. They always sell out every week and have a very difficult time keeping the beer in stock. They don’t keg or sell outside to other distributors because the demand is so high for the beer. Their main avenue of social media is on Twitter, where they give updates on what beer is for sale, how long the line is, and quantity of beer left. To just give a quick example, I looked on their Twitter feed and saw they sold 190 cases of beer in three hours with extraordinarily long lines at the brewery. This will be a helpful tool for my next brewery trip.
Tree House is planning to open up a second brewery in Charlton, MA in the middle of summer 2017. Very good news for all craft beer fans because it will more than double their current output and (hopefully) allow customers to have more than one beer per visit.
This was a very quick brewery visit, perhaps thirty minutes total. No food, no decisions to make, I had only one option for my cans, and one option for my draft. My wife said, “if this is what’s left, imagine how good the stuff is that people show up early for”? Definitely, a question I will remind her of when I drag her out of bed early on our next trip to Massachusetts. I do look forward to going back to the Tree House Brewing Company before the end of 2017.
I will be heading back to the Tree House Brewing Company in the fall of 2017. Hopefully, my visit will be at the new brewery. If it is, I’ll be sure to grab plenty of pics and write about it.