Beer Review: Sap (Tree House Brewing Company)

Beer Review: Sap (Tree House Brewing Company)

Sap by Tree House Brewing Company makes for a perfect Christmas beer.

Merry Christmas from everyone here at The Beer Thrillers. Ho Ho Ho Ho Ho… Ho Ho Ho…. Ho Ho…. Merry Christmas children. Beer Santa would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas. May your spirits be bright, may your glasses be full, and your beer fridges even fuller. Merry Christmas to all and to all a drunken good night!

Hopefully everyone had a fantastic and wonderful Christmas and got to celebrate with friends and family. Hopefully good beer was served or shared and memories revisited, hugs given, mistletoe kisses, and the fellowship and friendship of all was celebrated.

While I was stuck at work until 6PM, my Christmas festivities had to wait. But finally got out and went straight home, scooped up the family (and a few beers) and headed over to my parents to meet up with my sister, her husband, and my nephew. There we enjoyed each other’s company, stayed out of political debates, talked, had fun, enjoyed a great meal of lasagna, ham, green bean casserole, and all kinds of manner of deserts (Christmas cookies, cheesecake, angel food cake, etc.).

Thanks to my friend Dan Arndt for giving me some Tree House cans from their trip up north, I brought along Sap and also brought along my remaining can of Ice Dreamz: Cranberry, Tangerines, and Cherries. Without even reading the description for Sap, I knew it’d be the perfect Christmas beer kickoff, especially after a long day at work. (And yes, the casino was packed all day on Christmas day.) I wanted to dive into the Tree House beers and Sap seemed the one hand-picked for Christmas Day (my other Tree House choices were Haze, Doppelganger, Julius, or Autumn).

And it certainly was the perfect beer at the perfect time, with the perfect company, on the perfect day!

Tree House Brewing Company’s Sap made for the perfect Christmas beer choice.

Beer: Sap
Brewery: Tree House Brewing Company
Style: IPA – American
ABV: 7.3%
IBU: 80
Untappd Write-Up: Though originally brewed as a “Christmas” beer, this piney IPA, brewed almost exclusively Chinook hops, was so enjoyable we decided to put it into the ‘year round’ rotation. With it’s golden yellow color, rich aroma, and drying body, it’s hard to stop drinking this one.

Sap is a deceptively soft beer brimming with distinctive notes of grapefruit, mango, pine, and earthy spice. With waves of diverse flavor, it is perhaps our most complex IPA. It is the result of our uncompromising dedication to fresh, progressive, delightful beer. We hope you enjoy it with laughter, good cheer and in the company of those you love.

Out of all of the beer reviews I’ve done so far for the blog, that Untappd write-up might be the most descriptive, correct, and on-point preview / write-up / description yet. In and of itself its basically a mini-review…. heck, you probably don’t even need to read any further huh? I’m entirely superfluous from this point on. But I shall try and push on and persevere and provide you with a good, fun, and educational beer review. The struggles and hardships I do for you people…. (as he takes a sip from another delicious beer….. oh boy… the hardships I endure for you people…..).

Appearance for this beautiful beer is a bright golden, yellow, hazy glowing hue. These IPAs (Julius, Haze, Doppelganger, Green, Sap, etc.) from Tree House are the forerunners to the New England IPA craze. They were “haze” before it was “haze”. “Cool” before it was “kewl”. (Is that still the “kewl” internet lingo way of spelling it? I hope so…. I’d hate to date myself…..) Today this beer could probably be considered a New England IPA due to its haziness, but when first released, it was just an IPA, but the way Tree House made IPAs compared to the way Sierra Nevada or Troegs or Victory or Lagunitas made IPAs. You do get some floaters in this, some sediment, from the brewing unfiltered process that this goes through. It has a wonderful rich, creamy, flowy, airy head to it that has the various bubbles of all shapes and sizes, and it leaves a rich lovely lacing to the glass as you quickly drain this. (And believe me, you’ll quickly drain this.)

Aroma is a chinook hop attack on your nostrils. Not truly a “hop bomb” but this is a very floral and piney hop wonder treat. You get upfront notes of pine and floral immediately. Grapefruit, mango, pine, bit of citrus zest, all vie for your nostril’s attention as the wonderful aroma drifts upwards through your nose and straight to your brain for your immediate satisfaction and enjoyment. By this point your mouth is probably already watering as you await your first sip.

Now, finally, my favorite part of beer…. drinking it! This is a burst of delicious New England IPA like flavors. No extreme hop bitterness, but you get extreme hop notes. You get the mango and grapefruit right up front, but its being kicked and battered by the pine notes as well, so you get this wonderful mixture, this complex battle between these three diverse flavors as you sip it. Its extremely smooth and very easy to drink and drain quickly. (Perfect for your chug videos in your Facebook beer groups. Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about. You know who you are. And you know you love doing it.) Despite its complexities this is very easy, very smooth, very enjoyable as you drink, the sediment and unfiltered nature leaves a little bit on the bottom of your glass, and last sips will give you a bit of ‘hop heartburn’ but its not too bad. Pre-drinking can rolling is probably a good idea (and lesson learned for the future). There isn’t really any hop bitterness until that final hop sediment last sip. The 7.3% ABV is in the nice range of ‘feeling good’ and ‘buzzable’ after a few, its similar to Troeg’s Perpetual in that capacity (which is by comparison a 7.5% ABV and 85 IBU vs. this 7.3% ABV and 80 IBU), where after one you get the feeling of ‘ooh boy, there’s something to this’ and then after beer number two, ‘ok, the buzz is kicking in, this is really good’, but by the fourth out of the four-pack you are slumped over in the couch and having yourself your own very little Merry Christmas. (The 6.0-7.9% ABV range is the perfect range for IPAs in my opinion, enough to let you know you’re drinking beer, enough to let you feel good, but with just one, you are still good to go and not having yourself a sloshy day.)

As always with Tree House, this was very well crafted, was extremely delicious, and just outright a fantastic beer. You cannot go wrong with any of the staples from Tree House; their whole regular rotational beers, the franchise ones like Julius, Green, Haze, etc are all superbly made and crafted so well and brewed with such precision, care, and craftsmanship that you can’t go wrong trying any of them. There is a reason why they come so highly recommended, so well sought, and why they are consistently listed as one of the top breweries in the country.

My Untappd Rating: ****.75
Global Untappd Rating: 4.25 (as of 12.26.19)

Since its such a rarity for me to get Tree House, I will most likely be putting up a review of all five of the beers Dan got me. So you can certainly look forward to reviews of Autumn, Julius (which I’ve had before and loved), Haze, and Doppelganger. Since I’m not a huge beer trader, I’ve gotten to try some, but not a whole lot from Tree House. I am in a few beer groups, and online trade sites, but just don’t do as much trading as I can. I’m also not much of a hoarder, so I typically don’t have much trade bait (I typically drink whatever I trade for / buy, rather than storing, and I typically only get 1 can of a beer, so I don’t have any seconds to trade off). I have had Julius, Bright, Green, Eureka, a few Curiosities (their version of Scratch beers), and a few variants (like two variants of Green and one of Bright). Not a bad beer in the bunch. Sadly, I’ve only had IPAs and Pale Ales from them, so I can’t comment on how they produce other styles, but they definitely have the IPA / Pale Ale / hoppy beer styles nailed down perfectly.

So be on the lookout for those beer reviews. As well as check some recent beer reviews we’ve done, if you like IPAs, we’ve recently reviewed: The Hog (Boneshire Brew Works), Scrooged IPA (Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant), Citraquench’l (Heist Brewery), Moon of Vega (Equilibrium Brewery), and Paradise Lost (Southern Prohibition Brewing).

I am also in the process of writing up a end of the year post. Going to include some of my favorite beers of the year, brewery visits, tours, events, and other beer related things I’ve done this year. I am also looking to either include in that post, or in a separate post, various people’s thoughts and opinions on beers they’ve had this year. What their top beers were, top events they’ve gone to, top breweries they’ve visited, or tours they’ve gone on. So if you’d like to be included, please leave a comment with your favorite beers or breweries or events of 2019. I’ll be sure to include you! Thank you.

Cheers everyone and Merry Christmas!

-B. Kline

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