Tree Kim-Ach-Touch Ale

tree_kimachtouchBrewer: Tree Brewing, Kelowna, BC
Style: Brown Ale/Dopplebock
ABV: 6.4%
IBUs: 42

Description: Named in honor of the Okanagan word for “Brown Bear”, and inspired by the story of early settler August Gillard, this beer combines the brewery’s Dopplebock and Brown ale. It is fashioned using Pale, Munich, ESB, Crystal, and Chocolate malts, and is then bittered with a combination of Tettnang, Cascade, Crystal, Centennial, and Summit hops.

Tasting Notes: The commercial description certainly does this beer justice. Basically, you have all the aspects of a Dopplebock and a Brown Ale adding up. This includes sweet and toasty malt flavors, some minerals and roasted nuts, and a solid hop backing. This adds up to an interesting beer that is both sharp and strong and sweet and refreshing.

Appearance: Dark ruby-brown, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Toasted malt, minerals, roasted nuts, hint of grassy, piney hops
Taste: Combination sweet-sharp malt, mineral tang, grassy and herbal hop bitterness
Aftertaste: Lingering hop and toasted malt bitterness, hint of sweetness
Overall: 8.5/10

Tree Rickshaw Raspberry IPA

tree_rickshawBrewer: Tree Brewing, Kelowna, BC
Style: Fruit-infused India Pale Ale
ABV: 5%
IBUs: 64

Description: A spring/summer seasonal beer, Tree’s Rickshaw combines traditional lager malt (Pilsner and Vienna) with a significant dose of Northwestern hops (Centennial, Cascade, Columbus, and Crystal) and an infusion of fresh raspberries.

Tasting Notes: As combinations go, this one seemed a bit odd and quite gutsy. For instance, I would have expected an IPA to employ a pale malt base rather than ones consistent with a lager. That, and the combination of raspberries with an IPA-size dollop of hops seemed especially gutsy. But guts aside, the end result seemed mainly skunky and bitter, with very little raspberry to speak of and not as much refreshment as say a raspberry wheat, pale or lager. Not a bad idea, but needs a reboot!

Appearance: Deep ruby/orange, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Crisp, skunky malt, notes of herbal hops, hint of raspberry
Taste: Smooth malt, strong hop bitterness, citrus rind, skunk, light raspberry finish
Aftertaste: Lingering skunky malt and citrus rind bitterness, hint of fruit
Overall: 7.2/10

Serendipity No.8 Whiskey Barrel Aged Beer

Tree-Serendipity 8x325Brewer: Tree Brewery
Style: Whiskey barrel-aged Raspberry Ale/Black IPA
Alc/Vol: 7%

Description: The second beer in Tree’s limited-run barrel-aged series, Serendipity is a combination of their Wild Ruby Raspberry Ale and Black IPA, which is then aged for 169 days in whiskey barrels.

Tasting Notes: This beer is a bit of an enigma to this Beer Snob. For one, combining two very disparate styles (a raspberry ale and a black IPA) can only be expected to yield strange combination. But to then age them in a whiskey barrel to further enhance/influence the flavor, that’s just plain nuts! Luckily, this gambit seems to have paid off with the Serendipity. The Black IPA provides a good firm malt base while the Raspberry Ale manages to smooth out the rough edges. This is then complimented to a good extent by the presence of smokey, peaty whiskey flavor. Not a conventional brew by any standard, but one that works.

Appearance: Dark brown-amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Dark malts, mild fruit, whiskey infusion, smoke, peat moss
Taste: Hint of smoke, whiskey, mild raspberry tartness, tang, hop bitterness
Aftertaste: Lingering smoke and peat moss flavor
Overall: 8.5/10

Tree Brewing’s Latest

treeThe other day, I came across Tree Brewing’s Winter Character Pack, a sampler a four beers that includes their two newest varieties. It then occurred to me how long its been since I did a review of a Tree product, and how all of these were dedicated to seasonal releases from over the years. In short, I have never reviewed Tree’s regular lineup, and this bothers me. Not only do I genuinely enjoy their products, Hop Head IPA was the first beer I bought once I moved to BC. Something like that needs to be commemorated.

But that will have to wait. Today, I need to address Tree’s two latest releases, the Trestle ESB and the Knox Moutain Brown Ale. After many years of drinking their Pale Ale, IPA, Pilsner, Hefeweizen, Winter Ale, and various seasonal/limited releases, I was very happy to see these two styles finally enter their repertoire. Especially the ESB, since it just happens to be one of my favorites, at least when its done right. And in both cases, I was suitably impressed.

Trestle Extra Special Bitter:
First and foremost, due in no small part to the fact that ESB is a style that I keep coming back to with great interest. And Tree’s take on this classic British-style pale ale was very pleasing. The beer pours a light amber hue, is clear and has good foam and bubbles. The nose and palate are suitably crisp, flavorful but subtle, with just the right amount of dry hops. This is apparently due to the combination of Pale, Crystal, ESB, and Light Munich malts, which lend it a certain grainy, tangy malt flavor. While Warrior, Centennial, Golding, Columbus hops round things out with a grassy, floral, and slightly bitter hop profile. I do hope this will come in tallboys soon!

Appearance: Light amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild malts, crisp, dry hops, grassy and floral
Taste: Smooth malts, good tang, immediate burst of bitter, dry hops
Aftertaste: Mild lingering bitterness and crisp finish
Overall: 9/10

Knox Mountain Brown Ale:
brown_aleI have always loved a good brown, mainly because of the lovely balance it achieves between roasted, flavorful malts, smooth drinking, and a nice hop bite. And not too surprisingly, the Knox pulled all of this off very well. This beer poured a medium brown, was also clear with good foam and carbonation. As for the nose, it smelt exactly as a brown ale would, with rich, dark malts and some bitter hops, but surprisingly more citrus than I was expecting. This carried through into the flavor department, beginning with a smooth malt profile, then transitioning to a suitable combination of citrus and herbal hops. Again, the brewers chose to combine Pacific Northwest malts and hops with some Munich malt to achieve a balance of bitter and grainy tastes, and with good results! Definitely another future solo buy!

Appearance: Medium brown, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Roasted malt, bitterness, good citrus, grassy hops
Taste: Smooth malt, slight sweetness, giving way to bitter, herbal hop infusion
Aftertaste: Lingering hop and dark malt bitterness
Overall: 9/10

Now that I’ve sampled and enjoyed these latest releases, I will have to go back and review the rest of the lineup. This includes their Cutthroat Pale Ale, Hop Head IPA, Thirsty Beaver Amber, Kelowna Pilsner, Beach Blonde Lager. In some cases, it has been awhile since I drank one, so expect this to take a little time 😉

Tree Madcap Wheat Ale

God, I love summer! The warm weather, the sunshine, the barbeques and beers on the patio. And beers specifically made for summer are a total delight, aren’t they? Nothing goes better with hot weather than a nice, cold, refreshing lager, summer ale or wheat beer. Hence my brewers like to release these as seasonals whenever the summer rolls around There’s just something about a golden-hued or cloudy orange beer that goes well with warm winds, hot sun and the smell of grilled meat and everything that’s in bloom.

And hence why I picked up Tree Brewing’s new white ale, which arrived a few weeks back in my community, just in time for summer. Unlike their hefewiezen from a few years back, this one is a distinctly Belgian style wit – unfiltered, unpasteurized, and made with what I can only assume is a Belgian strain of yeast. The taste certainly alludes to as much, and is consistent with some of the best wits I’ve had in recent years.

But of course, here are the specifics:

Appearance: A mix of straw gold and light orange, cloudy and translucent
Nose: Traces of cloves, wheat maltiness, a slight touch of pineapple
Taste: Definite presence of cloves, followed by a slight kick of citrus rind
Aftertaste: Clove spiciness giving way to a lingering bitterness
Overall: 9/10

Conclusion, a good summer beer! And I recommend you get some since, if their hefeweizen is any indication, this beer is strictly a summer affair. So find yourself a six pack, pull up a chair on the patio, and indulge!

Hop Head Double IPA

I’ve found myself avoiding this beer in recent years. At least that’s the only rationale I could come up with for not having tried it. Maybe its because I’m a bit fan of IPA’s and this one’s a double. Too obvious! But as a fan of Tree brewing, particularly their Hop Head IPA, I knew that sooner or later I’d succumb. And as it turns out, that time was last night.

Hop Head Double IPA is a double-fermented IPA, combining five hop varieties with stronger alcohol content (8.4% alc/vol). In short, this beer is no slouch, and definitely not for those uninitiated with stronger, hoppy ales. The taste is definitely both strong and an acquired one, so make sure your taste buds have been primed with plenty of IPA’s in advance!

Appearance: Deep amber-orange, slightly cloudy
Strong floral aroma, sweet and malty
Taste: Heavy, coarse malts, strong hop bite characterized by floral notes, giving way to serious bitterness
Strong, heavy malts and intensely bitter hops linger long after
Overall: 7.5/10

Well, with the Captivator Doppelbock and now this, I am now half-way through Tree’s “Occasional Rarities” lineup and pretty pleased with what I’ve found. Next up, their Black IPA and Serendipity Ale. Wish me luck because these beers aren’t exactly light or forgiving!