Tree House Brewing Company

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Brown Ale - American
Ranked #31
Ranked #4,456
4.08 | pDev: 8.58%
Tree House Brewing Company
Massachusetts, United States
Notes: Nearly four years in the making, Bear is Tree House brewer Brendan’s recipe and his first scaled commercial batch. It has all the characteristics of a classic English Brown Ale with a distinct American twist. Bear pours a nearly opaque dark brown with a sticky caramel colored head. Aromas of toffee, caramel, chocolate, and earthy hops prep the palate for the wonderful flavor to come. We taste toffee, brown bread, caramel candy, varied nuttiness, and a melange of dark fruit. The earthy hops dance throughout and are balanced beautifully by a brown sugar sweetness. Delicious. Bear is one of the best food beers we have ever had - it pairs brilliantly with nearly everything… including nothing! A lovely and unique example of a brown ale and one we are quite proud of Brendan for creating! Brewed in honor of those who leave a lasting and influential impression on our lives.
Reviews: 58 | Ratings: 378 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Oh_Dark_Star
Oh_Dark_Star from Washington

4.32/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L: Deep and dark like a porter or double brown. Abundant fingers plus of dense caramel froth that settles gradually And leaves a complete cap and lines of lace.

S: Rich and deep woods on this one, reminds me of campfires and mushroom hunting and the Black Walnut trees in my back yard growing up.

T: Dialed back a little from these initial hopes. Not too tinny like similar brews. This one has a nice initial balance and depth with oaky and tobacco notes accompanying dark roasted malts. The taste is a tad fleeting however and leaves only bitterness. It is nonetheless wonderful.

F: Right for weight. Thin and less filling which brings me back for more.

O: The skill of the brewer is evident here with such depth without coffee or gimmicks. Just damn good.

Jul 31, 2020
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IvoryFoxhole from Virginia

4.29/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

16 oz. can dated 5/27/20. Hope it's still decent. Poured into Alchemist IPA glass.

L: Big 2F light tan head with good retention, leaves lots of spotty lacing and a cap and ring. Beer is...dark brown. Surprise.

S: Unsweetened toffee, caramel notes. Earthy and robust.

T: Dark bread, unsweetened cocoa, toffee, caramel, with an earthy finish.

F: Light to medium body, moderately to aggressively carbonated to dry that earthy finish. Well-constructed and balanced, easy drinking.

O: Still decent, indeed! Why are we not drinking more of this style? *checks ratings* J'accuse myself, your honor.

Jul 13, 2020
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.76/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Picked up a single can of this at the brewery in October 2019. As we all know, brown ales aren't exactly the hottest thing in American craft beer, and I'm guilty of this trend in my consumption, both literally and economically.

Pours a substantial deep and very dark brown, this is not watery. Lighter brown head 1/3". Aroma was chewy brown malt, chocolate malt. Standard reference to caramel and toffee here.

Taste was nice, not overly hopped, not overly anything. Enjoyable chewy mouth feel on it. Carbonation done right, not kept low for the sake of smoothness, this beer has plenty despite not having a limpy carb level. Does in fact hit those dark bready levels without being too heavy. Throw in some nuts like flavor. One of the few brown ales that leans into porter territory, and not by sheer virtue of hopping it up, this one just managed to coax some awesome flavors out of the barley. The label sticker is pretty cool too.

Jul 09, 2020
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VoxRationis from New York

4.04/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Decanted from a 16 oz (473 ml) can into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass; canned 05/27/20, code BEARS ARE BIG & BROWN.
A: Pours a very dark brown color with mahogany highlights, a two finger, mocha head, rim plus retention, and rings of sticky, foamy lacing.
S: Aromas of sweetened coffee, birch/sarsaparilla, pumpernickel, toffee, and cola. Slight "tart" twang.
T: Semisweet. Flavor is a melange of the aromas (although maybe favoring the cola--RC, not Pepsi or Coke) with balancing bitterness offsetting some of the sweetness.
M: Light to medium bodied with no more than moderate carbonation. Cola-like mouthfeel.
O: A tasty Brown Ale. Having just had Catharsis, I see many similarities; actually curious about what accounts for the differences. Named after Brian Boru by any chance?

Jun 10, 2020
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ryan1788a5 from Massachusetts

4.27/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16oz can poured into a snifter.

A:Mahogany brown color with three fingers of creamy beige head. Ample stickage of lacing.

S: Toffee, bread crust, brown cocoa, hazelnut fudge, and perhaps a hint of coffee/smoke. Big whiff of earthy and piney hops.

T: Follows the nose. Cocoa, crust, brown bread, nutty, toasty. Hint of smoke and coffee. Big balancing presence of earthy and piney hops. Finishes with trailing hop bitterness.

M: Big, hefty body with a sense of real weight and a chewy and creamy texture. Ample carbonation lifts it right off the tongue and contributes to a whipped heavy cream sort of feel. Rib sticking.

O: Its one of the biggest and most robust non-imperial American brown ales I’ve ever had. It also flirts with some porter-esque characteristics. Bottom line: this beer is really fucking good, and a real sleeper in the Tree House lineup. Dare I say, it might be the best non-IPA beer that they brew. Don’t overlook it when it’s available.

Mar 24, 2020
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Gajo74 from New York

4.09/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Excited to try my first Treehouse Beer that is not an NEIPA.

From the can it pours a viscous dark brown color. A moderate dark tan head retains well and yields lacing.

Malty rich aroma evokes nutty and biscuity notes, along with a touch of chocolate and roasted coffee like malt. The hops aroma displays notes of woodsy and earthy hops, accompanied by a touch of perhaps yeast derived dark fruit.

Moderately sweet malt forward taste, producing nutty, biscuity and caramel flavors. There is a lightly roasted malt flavor that evokes coffee and bitter sweet dark chocolate. A developing touch of hops bitterness helps balance, while adding light earthy hops spices, woodsy, floral and fruity.

Medium bodied with a smooth and mouth coating feel. The carbonation is moderate. The finish is dry.

Very well balanced brown ale and quite tasty overall. I like how Treehouse interpreted this style.

Feb 21, 2020
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Tony210 from New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours very dark with minimal head. Big bready, malty aroma. Nice malty flavor, bready, some caramel, subtle coffee. Carbonation is on point. Overall a fantastic brown ale, would like to try fresh.

16 oz can dated 2/1/19 - thanks Adam!
4.25 rating

Jan 24, 2020
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npolachek from New York

3.75/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Basically an English brown ale, with some hint of chocholate and bread. I don't love this one - it was pretty pedestrian for me compared to other brown ales I've had.

Oct 17, 2019
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EMV from Pennsylvania

3.79/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 16 oz can into a Tree House IPA glass

L: Nearly opaque dark, dark brown pour... nearly black with thick foamy tannish head. Great lacing.

S: Grains and nuts. Earth and hops.

T.F: Toasted grains and sugars. Toffee and roast... earthy/herbal hops and raisin. Nutty towards the finish. More bitterness/hop character than I expect from the style and not overly sweet. Medium to light bodied with creamy carbonation.

O: Brown ale's aren't typically my thing, but this had great flavor and is probably the best I've had. One I'd definitely have again... and also fun to see the Tree House take on something outside their IPA /milk stout wheel house.

Sep 18, 2019
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SuomiHobbit from Connecticut

3.82/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Very dark for a brown ale - almost black. Not much sweetness, was expecting more as per the style. More bitter than expected. Still, a very tasty brew.

Jun 14, 2019
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Buck89 from Tennessee

4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look: somewhat hazy and dark brown in my pint glass. A normal pour produced a thick tan head that clung to the glass and left nice lacing.
Aroma: chocolate, caramel, earthy hops.
Taste: dark chocolate, toffee, dark bread, some plum. I'm not getting caramel. moderate bitterness with an earthy quality.
Feel: medium bodied and carbonation slightly below medium. Off-dry finish.
Overall: an outstanding Brown. rich and complex malty notes.

Jun 10, 2019
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brewme from Massachusetts

4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got a twenty ounce draft at Tree House Brewery in Charlton. My forty third brew from these guys. Not my favorite style, but wanted to try something I haven't had (Aaalterrr Ego just sold out) before. Good for the style, just don't love brown ales.

Jun 08, 2019
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SpeedwayJim from New York

3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

16oz. can into Night Shift stemware.

Pours pitch black. Dense too. More porter-like than Brown. Nose is brown sugar, coffee beans, roasted hazelnut and cream. Very aromatic. Beer opens roasty. A heavy dose of roasted malt followed by chestnut, coarse iced coffee, hazelnut and a smooth, brown sugar. More roast, brown sugar and nuttiness at the end. Simple. Well made. Body is light to medium with moderate carbonation. Foamy in the mouth and goes down aggressive, bubbly. Wish this one had a little less gas. Possibly making a bit smoother going down.

A solid beer but this isn't Treehouse's finest work.

May 30, 2019
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scotorum from Massachusetts

3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4


Poured from the 16 oz. can into a Samuel Smith English tulip.

a; Opaque black with brown tinges around the top edges, with a finger thick tan head which disappeared totally after a short time, leaving neither surface foam nor lacing.

s; Roasty malt leaning to black coffee and dark chocolate.

t; Follows the nose accompanied by moderate bitterness over a sweetish finish.

m; Lighter side of medium, ok body and some carbonation tingle.

o; More like a porter in appearance and taste, so I suppose I should take off points for style. But it's still very good as such, with more substance than most browns. Mine tasted more of black coffee than the candy items mentioned in the TH description. I have one more example to sample, which might lead me to revise.

May 20, 2019
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hoptheology from South Dakota

4.29/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

16 oz can from connecticutpoet poured into goose island nonic pint. (Review via voice dictation)

Beer # 2,500.

A nice fudgy brown color forms in the glass, with highlights of hazelnut and a thick light brown head of three fingers. Tons of tight, compacted lace forms on the glass where the head was. Absolutely stunning appearance.

Tons of chocolate and light molasses on the nose with hints of cookie and burnt brownie ends, with a nice earthy nuttiness and fresh mountain pine. Hints of oats and lactose also dance around these are aromas.

Flavor is roasty and nutty, with a wonderful presence of malts and piney hops, balancing each other out bringing a synergy of taste. Hints of dry bakers cocoa, chocolate, molasses, and slight tin appear at the finish.

Feel is more starchy than I'd like, but has a good level of carbonation, and a dry roasty finish.

Overall an absolutely wonderful brown ale worth your attention. Not my favorite but close.

Mar 30, 2019
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JerzDevl2000 from New Jersey

4.01/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Picked this up when I was at Tree House early last September, as I never saw or had this before. Love the name as I am indeed a bear person but I thought it was fitting given the *very* brown nature of this beer. While most American Brown Ales aren't rated that high, I really enjoyed this and how smooth it was, and how it differed from Tree House's more popular and well-known offerings. A beer like this was proof that a style like this should be just a bit easier to find when in stores or trading with friends!

Nice pour to this as the liquid was cola brown with a lot less carbonation. A lovely, tan head topped this off as there were bubbles of nearly all sizes in it. Not a lot of lacing was left behind as there were hints of a few thin rings around my pint glass. Loads of toffee in the nose and dark bread with roasted malt in the mix as well. The taste had more nuts in it with some brown sugar, caramel, and fermented raisin and currant as well. A bit stronger than a typical Brown Ale like Newcastle, this still went down easily and held up well with only a minimal amount of chunky sediment at the bottom of the liquid.

There was enough booze in here but it wasn't a deterrent as the flavors and full body shone through as this warmed up. It's an old euphemism that beer is liquid bread and this held true to that as the chewy and somewhat sticky nature of the body reminded me of that. Canned on 9/5 with "WHERE'S THE DENTIST" written above it, this was a nice brew that made me have more appreciation of Tree House. One of the better examples of the style that I've been lucky enough to get my paws - er - hands on!

Feb 19, 2019
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Billolick from New York

4.32/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Tall can .....11/08/18 canning date

Dark mahogany pour, quickly departing mocha cap, minor slippery strandsand bits of lacing.

Nose is loaded with milk chocolate, nuts, pumpernickel bread. Pungent and complex.

Densely flavorful, complex and quite delicious American Brown Ale.... Mighty fine beer, no the kinda beer TH is known for, but this is just more evidence that this place is one of the worlds best breweries.

Well worth buying some if you are lucky enough to be at the brewery when it is available....

Nov 24, 2018
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Gatch from Rhode Island

4.48/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Canned 11/08/18 @ 10am and purchased around 2pm that same day, so likely one of the freshest beers I've ever experienced. "I'M MR. NOVEMBEAR"

This is about as good as an American Brown gets. Of course, the average score is low because it isn't an IPA. But all the malt character you want in the style is there, along with a properly hopped flavor and finish. Super roasty and delicious with a slightly bitter feel. Their darker beers are underrated because of their hoppier offerings, but this just shows their range, quality, and skill.

Nov 09, 2018
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angrybabboon from Massachusetts

4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed 10/14/18

A: About as dark as brown gets without being black - opaque - pours with a small light tan head, fades to virtually nothing but retains a small collar

S: Kind of looks like a stout but definitely has the aroma of a brown - caramel and some darker malts - some dark bread and bread crust - some nuttiness - notes of chocolate - some toffee, but restrained sweetness - some very mild hops with some notes of earth - pale grain and some caramel grain

T: Nutty dark bread - not exceptionally robust, actually pretty mild - caramel and some dark caramel, grainy as much as it is bready - some nuttiness - lightly sweet, but with a nice amount of caramel and touches of toffee - some toast and bread crust, with some lingering grain

M: Medium body, medium carbonation, smooth but not exactly silky smooth

O: Bears, beets, and...

Bear is a solid brown ale, and I would judge it as being closer to an English Brown than an American take. I am tempted to say something like "this does not taste like a Tree House beer," but that's because it's not a hazy IPA. Regardless, Tree House does not do to brown ales what they do to IPAs. It's a good representation of the style, but it's not groundbreaking.

Oct 15, 2018
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TheDoctor from Canada

4.14/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Serving: Can
Canned: Sep-5-2018

Pours an impenetrable ebony with a ruby hue at the edges with an inch of frothy tan head that drops to a ring. Meh retention; some streaky lacing. (4)

Rich nutty medium roast, brown sugar, hard water, bark bread crust. (4.25)

Follows the nose. Candied nuts and weak coffee, faint berry sweetness from the yeast. (4)

Medium-plus body with light, prickly carbonation and a mouth-coating sweet malt finish. (4.25)

This is a very nice brown.
It pours ruby right out of the can but is dark ebony in the glass. It sports a middlin' head that soon is gone. The aroma and flavors are both very much caramlized nuts and bready medium roast aromas. The flavor is along the same lines with a little bright hop flash underneath that kind of lightens everything up. It feels quite nice with a growing, coating, malt sweetness that lingers after every sip.
This is a nice, well-made brown that I'd have again. It manages to have a substantial feel despite its relative "lightness" that so many others miss, but it is not quite as rich-yet-drinkable as some of the greats. Regardless, this is a very good beer. (4.25)

Sep 23, 2018
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macrosmatic from Florida

3.78/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to HighLowJack for sending this one! Reviewed from notes. Poured from a 16 oz. can into an El Catador Barrel-Aged glass.

A: A rich brown, just barely translucent, capped by a finger of tan head. Lots of visible carbonation at first, but tapers off quickly.

S: Coffee and nutty brown malts. Some dark chocolate, notes of vanilla and toffee. A light grassy hoppiness with likely some roasted bitterness in there too. Nice enough, but perhaps a fairly standard well-made Brown Ale aroma.

T: Toasted malty sweetness with more coffee than chocolate to me, but a nice mix. Toasted toffee, a little green pepper to the coffee flavors, and hints of hazelnut. Mild vanilla again, and a light grassy and resin hop bitterness. Finishes with a lingering toasted bready malt sweetness with residual coffee in the hang.

M: A reasonable heft to the body for style - just heavier than average. A good amount of fizzy carbonation makes it seem lighter though. Low alcohol presence.

O: My first Tree House beer, and I'm glad to have finally had something from them. But this one...I mean...look, it’s fine. It isn’t from Tree House’s vaunted hopped catalog. You probably have a canned brown ale on the shelves around you that would at least rival this. But, it’s a well-made brown ale that would certainly be a solid choice if that style sounds good to you and this one was around. And certainly a solid beer to have been sent as an extra! Glad to have tried it.

Jun 24, 2018
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tigg924 from Massachusetts

3.59/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap. Pours opaque, dark brown in color with minimal head. Taste is deep roast coffee and leather. Medium bodied and carbonation, slightly sweet. Makes for an above average, coffee forward beer. I prefer other malty brews from Treehouse, but this one is decent.

Nov 25, 2017
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Damian from Massachusetts

3.7/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Drank from a 1 pint can purchased at Tree House Brewing Company, Charlton, MA
Served in a shaker pint glass
Thanks to my friend Walter for this can.

The murky, burnt umber body was topped by a small, flimsy, light khaki crown that quickly fell to a thin collar. Definitely not the prettiest of beers. A few spotty droplets of lacing trickled along the glass.

Really fragrant aroma. Malty and robust. Toasted malts came through big time. Strong caramel malt presence as well. Quite nutty too. Some husky grains were also apparent. Touch of brown sugar and powdered cocoa. Moderately sweet and very well balanced.

The flavor was definitely less rounded than the nose. Very malty up front. Mix of toasted and crystal malts. Nutty and fairly dry. Leafy and piney hops appeared as the beer moved along the palate and crescendoed in the finish. There was an offputting metallic quality initially but this soon disappeared. Some earthy bitterness lingered after the swallow.

The liquid contained a spritzy, fairly aggressive effervescence. Frothy and lighter bodied on the palate. Perhaps a bit over carbonated. The carbonation however settled down with time and the liquid turned wet and slick.

Although not earth shattering, Bear is a respectable take on the style and one that I might buy again if it was easier to acquire. If nothing else, this American brown ale was a welcomed change from the IPAs, double IPAs and coffee-infused stouts that I normally enjoy by these guys.

Nov 21, 2017
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Hopulation_Control from Florida

4.46/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a dark brown, with a thick, pillowy soft head.

Nose - Smells like roasted coffee and chocolate and toffee.

Taste - roasted coffee is the first thing I taste, then gradually some chocolate and vanilla.

Mouthfeel - A light to medium body with a creamy finish.

Overall - I love brown ales, but this is about the extent of roasted coffee flavors that I want to taste. A very good beer.

Oct 27, 2017
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gcamparone from Rhode Island

4.42/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 16oz can into a bulb glass. Purchased at the brewery last week.

Pours a muddy brown opaque body with a small off-white head, leaves good lacing and retention.

Aromas are very inviting, nutty and roasty, toffee, caramel, a tad bit fruity. Taste is big and bold but easy, perfect pairing with a crisp fall day. Nutty, toasted malts, earthy, lightly sweet peanut brittle, molasses, finishing lightly bitter. Mouthfeel is medium with medium carbonation.

I'm not sure where the hate for this beer comes from. No, it's not a tropical fruit bomb IPA, but it's a testament to the fact that treehouse can brew any style well. Solid brown ale.

Oct 26, 2017
Bear from Tree House Brewing Company
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 378 ratings