Tree House Brewing Company

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American Brown Ale
Ranked #29
Ranked #4,118
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.
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Reviews: 50 | Ratings: 336
Photo of EMV
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.

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Photo of SuomiHobbit
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.

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Photo of Buck89
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.

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Photo of brewme
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.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
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.

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Photo of scotorum
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.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
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.

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
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!

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Photo of Billolick
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....

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Photo of Gatch
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.

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Photo of angrybabboon
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.

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Photo of TheDoctor
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)

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Photo of macrosmatic
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.

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Photo of tigg924
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.

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Photo of Damian
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.

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Photo of Hopulation_Control
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.

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Photo of gcamparone
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.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This one pours a very ugly, murky and opaque dark brown, with a white head, and a good bit of lacing. This isn't a pretty brown ale.

Luckily it smells like- caramel, espresso, brown bread, spicy hops, and nuts.

It was hard to get over how much like pond water this one looked like. There's so much malty goodness- toasty and caramelly, with toffee, bitter coffee, some chocolate, and a slight fruity sweetness, with some subtle spicy hop bitterness running through the malt.

This is medium bodied, pretty creamy, with a good level of carbonation.

Don't judge a book by it's cover- this is a mighty fine brown ale.

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Photo of justinroy74
1.24/5  rDev -69.6%
look: 1 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

WOW... Don't believe the TH hype train on this one, not everything they do is awesome. This beer is horrible and borderline disgusting. There were 10 of us at a gathering and no one could drink this one. Not worth the long wait...

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Photo of Jedoucette
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A simple but solid Brown from Tree House. This is beer is probably underappreciated and overlooked by the hop heads who line up in Monson, but is up there with Tree House's best offerings. Taste is earthy and malty with just the right amount of sweetness and dark fruit flavor to balance it out.

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Photo of mothman
3.34/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Khaki tan head. Brown color.

This is a rather boring brown ale. Roasted and nutty. Chocolate and caramel notes. Earthy hops.

Light to medium bodied. Roast all around.

Very meh.

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Photo of Hoppytimes88
4.63/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours very dark with caramel head that quickly dissipates
Nose hits roasted malt, toffee, coffee scents for me
Hazelnut/chocolate/coffee flavors on my palate
More carbonation than expected but still smooth mouthfeel with dry finish

Very solid brown ale

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Photo of ScaryEd
3.54/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 16 oz can dated 12/02/16.

Pours a deep, dark cola brown with a 2-finger khaki head. The head is gone rather quickly, leaving some nice lacing as it dissipates.

The aroma brings a ton of dark roasted malts, followed by some wood chips and a faint touch of caramel and chocolate. Not the biggest aroma but pleasant.

The taste has a ton of chocolate and caramel, with some very faint nuttiness. The hops sit around mid-palate, providing some earthiness to the flavor. Finishes with some roasted grains and a kiss of spearmint gum.

The feel is medium bodied with lively carbonation. Very creamy and smooth with a dry finish.

Overall a solid brown ale. It's quite drinkable yet very filling. This is a pedestrian beer by Tree House standards, however. There are far better brown ales out there.

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Photo of ThrewRedButter
3.99/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

L - Black out of the glass, but sits deep, ruby red with less than a finger of tan head.

S - Nutty, dark coffee, wood, molasses, malts.

T - Raisins and figs, earthy hops, a lot of smokey qualities, subtle nuttiness, some dark chocolate, and a big malty presence

F - Silky smooth, malt lingers, light carbonation

O - More complex than standard brown ale. Something different from these guys other than a hazy, juice bomb, but still just a brown ale.

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Photo of TheBeerCarl
4.68/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The beer pours nicely with a rich brown head. It has little retention though and no lacing. The beer us also a bit dark for a brown. Looks more like a stout.

The beer doesn't have strong aromatics. It has strong notes of chocolate, roasted barley and slight notes of carbon.

The flavor is wonderful. Toasted malt and nuttiness with hints of chocolate and wintergreen.

The mouthfeel is nice but the carbonation is a little sharp. It had more body than a typical brown but it was a nice compliment to the flavor.

Overall the beer or very tasty and a good brown.

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Bear from Tree House Brewing Company
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 336 ratings