Tree houses… they are whimsical, simple, playful, and all fathers promise to build one. Everyone envied Bart Simpson’s and you may be guilty of a 7 hour binge watching session of Tree House Masters on Animal Planet. However, these tree houses can’t touch the best one in my mind, which lies in Monson, MA. Never heard of it? Sounds about right. It is in the sticks of a small farming community in South Central Massachusetts. A perfectly rustic place to hang out with friends, light a bonfire, and enjoy the boyhood luxury of the tree house… with some fantastic beer. One of those fantastic brews happens to be Julius – an IPA brewed sporadically attracting hour long waits. I happened to get my hands on it, and I’m going to run the numbers.
Smell: A lot going on here… citrus notes followed by tropical fruits with a touch of dankness from the hops. I also got a pretty big stale beer taste from the nose too, which I was needless to say surprised about.
Taste: First sip was nice and subtle… citrus rind hop bite and light grains coming through. Some floral notes came out as I drank like budding dandelions in March or a cheap QVC-Joan-Rivers backed perfume, but that citrus tang was the star of the show. Oranges, nectarines, clementines, even a little lemon could be detected on the palate while the sweetness of the grains balanced those floral and citrus nuances. The finish was fairly dry with the bitter hops slashing the sides of the tongue. This brew has a lot of depth to it (Jacques Cousteau would be proud), but what really struck me about Julius was how incredibly drinkable it was. Most IPAs hovering around 7% – this batch clocked in at 6.8% ABV – can be a bit too malty or thick, but this drinks like a 5% beer. It’s also quite light in body which only adds to the drinkablility of this brew. The staleness I found in the smell was nowhere to be seen (thankfully) and the dankness of the hops was absolutely not present (like Sean Hunter’s mom).
Overall: A very clean drinking IPA that is crushable, approaching the DIPA range, and was well balanced. What grade does that get? A. The hops could be more assertive in this brew, but Julius reigns supreme in the grand scheme of things. Even Brutus wouldn’t betray this beer. Make the pilgrimage.