Style: Autumn Country Beer
From: Monson, MA
Brewery Note: “Brewed with rye, dark malts, raw wheat, and oats, Transition is the first in a series of seasonally inspired country beers. Fermented with our unique Belgian yeast strain and seasoned for 3 months in oak. Transition has notes of sweet caramel tempered by judicious earthy spice. Naturally conditioned and further developed in the bottle, Transition is characterful and finishes a hint of tartness and soft acidity. All our Brettanomyces Country beers are lively, and effervescent. ”
The beer pours a ruddy, ruby color. It sits nearly opaque outside the light, but when held to a glass it is a cloudy, rustic beauty. A small, creamy head of slightly yellowed, pebbly bubbles forms above the beer. It’s ‘rustic’ (whatever that means) yet clear and vibrant in color, and really a lovely glass of ale. When the beer’s head dwindles, it leaves lovely, webbed strands of thinner, tight night, and wonderful lacing. On the nose, the beer smells of fresh citrus juice – grapefruit and lemon – with the warm scent of soft, baked, sweet bread. It’s fresh and clean, and somewhat reminiscent of Brother Soigne, which is a lovely thing in my book (given the other mixed-ferm bottles I tried at Tree House, I think this is a characteristic of their culture). Slight caramel bakes its way through with just the faintest whiff of lingering cinnamon, which really adds a warmer, ‘autumnal’ turn to this citrusy ale. On the tongue, the beer tastes bright with citrus similar to the nose, fresh, and nuanced with washes of minerally brine and fruit sweetness that slowly fades to faint, fresh baked bread on the finish, sopping in the mineral water and Perrier that it has become. Even with the bright, fresh citrus juice wash of the beer, the balance is exquisite, like juice with a wash of delicious salt water, only better. In the mouth, the beer feels clean, fresh, and medium-light bodied, with a bright acidity and mildly effervescent carb that help it to snap across the tongue. It’s lovely, fresh, and the mouth is left with a pool of spittle welling across it and welling in the gum lines, yet feeling fresh. Overall, this beer is phenomenal. We all know Tree House does good beer. The internet is full of their applause, yet Mixed Fermentation isn’t quite what they are known for – yet, this beer (and the 5ish that came before it) prove it’s definitely their game. Tree House is on a Hill Farmsteadian quest for fresh citrus in beer, and they are doing a great job of it. I’m not sure how to approach this beer as far as categories go. I think it is intended as an American Mixed Fermentation Farmhouse Ale, and it falls well in the lines of Brother Soigne, SaisonHands, and Sylph. It carries the salinity and minerality that I really enjoy in a beer, and it carries it well. This is a great beer.