Trillium vs. Tree House

Discussion in 'US - Northeast' started by Damian, Jul 13, 2020.

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  1. Damian

    Damian Jun 1, 2006 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    I’m a Trillium fan boy. I’ll admit it. Their hoppy beers are some of my favorite on the planet, their pastry stouts are ridiculous, and their Daily Serving series is killing it. Best of all, I can get in my car, drive to either of their locations in the city and be back home in less than an hour. No lines. No wait. No hassle. Do they brew some “misses” occasionally? Yes, for sure. Do I give them credit for always taking big swings (and usually hitting it out of the park)? Yes!

    I’ve been to Tree House countless times as well. Some of their milk stouts are fantastic (especially the brewery-only tap offerings). Most of the canned stout offerings taste very similar through. Similar adjuncts. Similar ABV. Speaking of the adjuncts, most (except for the coffee) are often so subtle they’re barely noticeable. Oh, and why bother barrel aging a beer when you don’t have to? I feel like most of their hoppy beers taste pretty similar too. Similar flavor profiles. Similar ABV. Similar pillowy soft mouthfeel (which is great). And none of them have that crazy skunky weed-like dankness I love so much.

    Do I simply not “get” the Tree House hype? I mean, sure, their beers are very enjoyable, but hour-long waits during regular times and one case minimums during quarantine? Am I missing something?

    I know, I know. “To each his own.” “You don’t have to buy their beer.” Just trying to get a conversation started while I’m bored in quarantine.
     
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  2. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Have you been a long term Trillium fan?

    I am not from Massachusetts so I have no personal experience here but there seems to be lots of folks who think that Trillium beers flavor profiles changed with a change in their fermentation process (in 2018?). It seems like some folks who used to be big fans of Trillium before the brewing process change were no longer big fans. Any further education you can provide here would be useful to me (and the other BAs who have never tasted Trillium beers).

    Cheers!
     
  3. seanunreal

    seanunreal Jul 23, 2009 Massachusetts

    Hoping this gets locked soon!
     
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  4. chipawayboy

    chipawayboy Oct 26, 2007 Massachusetts
    Trader

    Pros and cons with each - both original pioneers. For me Trill has generally been a train wreck lately - their DIPAs exhibiting a weird soda fizz carbonation. Their stouts occasionally amazing and occasionally mediocre. Both breweries accessible and beers easy to procure as long as you do a tiny bit of pre-planning. Still drink plenty of each brewery but more often I’m opting for HF/Foam/Bissell and other options when it comes to IPAs/DIPAs etc. As an odd/unexpected benefit, C19 has made some really great breweries suddenly available locally - EQ as an example. Great time to be alive and love IPAs and pastry stouts - no need to fixate on one! Have you tried any Monkish or Cellermaker? Or maybe Burial out of Asheville or Weldwerks from CO? Grab some Trill /TH and use those gold standards as trade bait to get some other great beers and see what their hype is all about. Cheers.
     
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  5. Damian

    Damian Jun 1, 2006 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    Many of Trillium’s longtime fans don’t like the new fermentation profile, but I personally haven’t noticed much of a change. Legroom and Really Big Bird, which were both released in the last month, are some of their best hoppy beers to date imo.
     
  6. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    And you are a long time consumer of Trillium beers?

    Cheers!
     
  7. Sheppard

    Sheppard Mar 16, 2013 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    In the past, I think that I would have sided with Trillium. However, my disappointment with the product began a couple years before the fermentation change. I thought they did a great job of featuring hops for their first few years. Hell, I learned what to expect from certain hops by having their beers. I think they've lost a lot of that. There was less refinement in the IPAs that turned me off the brand. That coupled with some of the non-beer related misgivings has really soured them to me.

    I can't say I've always been the biggest Tree House fan. They advertise hop saturation, but I found most of their IPAs to not really be good features of hops. I still feel that way. However, I do think that the yeast character is unique and makes for an honestly interesting beer that not a lot of other breweries have tried to duplicate. In contrast, I think that there are other breweries doing what Trillium used to do well. It should also be said that I've driven past TH several times in the last month and haven't stopped once. I don't regret it either.
     
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  8. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    @chipawayboy made mention of "HF/Foam/Bissell" in his above post. Is that consistent with your 'list' here?

    Cheers!
     
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  9. Damian

    Damian Jun 1, 2006 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    Yeah, I’ve tried some hoppy beers by all these breweries, but it’s been a while. Most I recall being quite good.

    I’m not trying to diss Tree House but rather try to gain an understanding why the hype surrounding their hoppy beers is far greater than any other brewery in the world. Maybe someone (a seasoned home brewer) can describe in more technical terms what makes them so good because it sure doesn’t make sense to me (even after drinking dozens of NEIPAs and generally being able to distinguish the good vs. the great ones).
     
  10. darkandhoppy

    darkandhoppy Dec 26, 2008 Connecticut

    +1 that the "fermentation profile" change was not a positive move for Trillium quality. Apparently hasnt changed their business model or the minds of many consumers
     
  11. Mr_Kreusen

    Mr_Kreusen Oct 4, 2015 Massachusetts

    I agree, after the fermentation profile change, Trillium continues to be disappointing. The last two batches of Congress St I've had were mediocre compared to what they once were. JC must have had to be a control freak to get his beer as good as he did, and so its hard to believe that his palate could prefer the new profile. I imagine focus groups telling him that his beers were too spicy, too much bite (which made them great) compared to Tree House because the changed profile seems like an attempt to move a little closer to Tree House.
     
  12. chipawayboy

    chipawayboy Oct 26, 2007 Massachusetts
    Trader

    Well....the Trillium haze recipe using London3 yeast has been the basis of most imitators. TH, on the other hand, has managed to develop a yeast/brew method that isn’t as easily replicated. In fact nothing tastes like TH. So there’s that.
     
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  13. Sheppard

    Sheppard Mar 16, 2013 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    Haha, I knew you were going to ask that. I have never been impressed with Foam. Hill Farmstead is my favorite hoppy ale producer. Bissell will get distro'd to Virginia from time to time but I don't seek them out. I think locally that there are at least decent producers everywhere. For example, in Virginia, I think that Ocelot makes great hoppy beers, and they have a beer called "Seamless" which utilizes Columbus and Citra (like FPPA) and it resembles FPPA. Triple Crossing is obviously crushing it in Richmond. I'm in New York right now and everything I've had from Other Half has been as good as when I was first introduced to them at EBF in 2015.

    I don't rely on hops for my beer consumption. If I'm back in MA, I'm probably getting CBC/Exhibit A/Notch/JA/Idle Hands.
     
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  14. spersichilli

    spersichilli Apr 26, 2018 California
    Trader

    Trillium's "core" IPA's are pretty garbage now. They've destroyed the streets beers. The only ipa's the make nowadays that are up to the quality of beer they used to make are the one offs (Headroom, Legroom, Really Big Bird, and stuff like that). Their stouts have always been pretty meh for me, pretty sweet but lacking the corresponding body you'd expect to go with it.

    Treehouse has the opposite problem for me, their core beers remain amazing but I haven't been as much of a fan of their newer beers (On the Fly, Force of Will and stuff like that). Of course I think the newer beers are much better than the core trillium beers. Tree House IPA's are also probably the most unique IPA's I've had, which stems from the unique yeast blend they use. The yeast profile is much more prominent in their beers than most NEIPA breweries
     
  15. Genuine

    Genuine May 7, 2009 Connecticut

    I live all of a half hour from treehouse and enjoy their beers immensely. More so their IPA’s than the stouts. Let’s not forget how well they’re making their lagers! I haven’t had enough of Trillium to really make a solid opinion of them. I want to have more of there beers since I want to try more columbus hopped IPA’s .
     
  16. chipawayboy

    chipawayboy Oct 26, 2007 Massachusetts
    Trader

    State of the art ester bomb...2015.
    [​IMG]
     
  17. purephase

    purephase Feb 23, 2008 Connecticut
    Trader

    I understand the specific Tree House process hasn't really been replicated very widely, but I feel like a lot of the NEIPA producers influenced by the region are nevertheless pursuing the Tree House flavor profile more than Trillium's. This is mainly because the copious amount of Columbus and/or Mosaic used in many of Trillium's core brands stands out to me compared to other NEIPA producers that seem a lot more focused on juice notes at the expense of dankness.
     
  18. jlordi12

    jlordi12 Jun 8, 2011 Massachusetts

    I haven’t had enough Trillium since my wage gate boycott, however, TH is kinda just whatever at this point. My favorite hoppy beer producer is Stellwagen right now. If you get a chance to try “dank” it’s one of the best beers of the year IMHO
     
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  19. thedaveofbeer

    thedaveofbeer Mar 25, 2016 Massachusetts
    Trader

    Man I miss those. They sure were expensive, but dang- I would gladly pay a few bucks more for the same beer today.
     
  20. thedaveofbeer

    thedaveofbeer Mar 25, 2016 Massachusetts
    Trader

    I live about equidistant from Trillium and Tree House. I go to Tree House for my NEIPAs 8 out of 10 times. If Hill Farmstead were closer, half my trips would be there.
     
  21. mrmattosgood

    mrmattosgood Nov 6, 2010 Canada (BC)
    Trader

    That is because the first two are like having your buddies' homemade ribs from the smoker in his backyard. Sure, they're delicious, but going to Hill Farmstead is like going to Franklin's BBQ in Austin and being like, "YUP! This is it."
     
  22. thedaveofbeer

    thedaveofbeer Mar 25, 2016 Massachusetts
    Trader

    I studied at UT Austin-sadly my time there predated both Franklin and Jester King. I am going to have to make a trip back one of these days.
     
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  23. Davl22

    Davl22 Sep 27, 2011 New Hampshire
    Trader

    That used to be one of my all time favorites...

    Also, I’ve missed your high-res hoppy Trill pics.
     
  24. dubdrop

    dubdrop Aug 6, 2012 Vermont
    Trader

    I was just cleaning out a bunch of old stuff that was in a DDH Melcher box with a date stamp from March 2015 and was reminiscing about how good they were back then. The first few months of 2015 after the shut-down resulted in the best batch of beers they've ever released (IMO). Obviously these are very different beers 5 years later, but wow - those initial batches of Heavy Mettle, DDH Melcher, DDH Congress, etc really blew me away.
     
  25. wehaveamap

    wehaveamap Jan 16, 2010 Massachusetts
    Trader

    I'm as big a Hill Farmstead fanboy as there is, but this is selling Tree House IPAs comically short. The gap is large on mixed culture stuff and lagers, but I find my preference to either's IPAs varies more trip to trip than it does one brewery vs the other.

    (And if I'm being real the Native series and Trail have gotten quite good, they just aren't otherworldly like HF.)
     
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  26. mrmattosgood

    mrmattosgood Nov 6, 2010 Canada (BC)
    Trader

    That’s fair. I actually quite like TH IPA’s though my knowledge is vastly underwhelming. I’m more of an “I’ve had Julius, Green, Sap” guy. I think I’ve had one Curiousity. And I had whatever the dark lager was and found it really good.

    With hop-forward stuff, I’ve always been wowed by HF, especially Edward and Abner.

    I would really be interested to try one of the Native beers. Just not enough to stand in a line (or sit in my car) to do so.
     
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  27. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
    Society

    This is how I feel too.

    DDH Congress Street and DDH Fort Point of old were better than any IPAs I'd had at that time...but I say at that time because so many breweries are brewing stellar New England IPAs these days. And because...


    ...I honestly feel that if Tree House was as easy to get as Trillium there wouldn't be a wide gap in ratings and allure. Not that Tree House is THAT hard to get these days. But Trillium has two locations in Boston, plus Canton, and multiple draft accounts in and around Boston.

    I also feel this way about Hill Farmstead, although not to the same degree. Put Allagash in the middle of no where with limited availability and I bet people would wax poetically about them like they do HF. And this is no slight on Hill Farmstead, they make great beers. I'm speaking specifically about the hype here.

    For my palate, Tree House is good, but for the most part I've tasted their IPAs and thought, "Yup, that's a New England IPA alright." We blind tasted one against an Idle Hands IPA and both of us could pick out Tree House, it was the mouthfeel and bubblegum character that stood out. But it was a very subtle difference, and I can't say it really improved the beer all that much.

    Is that because you might have to wait in line for both? :wink:

    I've heard there's better BBQ in Austin...but I've only been to Salt Lick. Franklin's would take too long.
     
  28. mrmattosgood

    mrmattosgood Nov 6, 2010 Canada (BC)
    Trader

    I was at a wedding in Buffalo a few years back and we went to Anchor Bar (inventor of the wings) and everyone said, “There are so many other places that are better.” But, I’m in Buffalo once, I’m going to the famous place. I feel the same way about Franklins.

    As for the other comments, I mean, you know me: I think there’s Allagash and Hill Farmstead up top and everyone else a few notches below them.
     
  29. Sheppard

    Sheppard Mar 16, 2013 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    While I think that Trill has had some other problems (scaling up, brewer turnover), I wonder how much the variability of the galaxy hop crop has affected the beer. There was a year or two where most beers with galaxy were real bad (not just at Trillium).
     
  30. Sheppard

    Sheppard Mar 16, 2013 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    Never be afraid to tell the truth.
     
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  31. Newport_beerguy

    Newport_beerguy Feb 24, 2011 Rhode Island
    Trader

    Yup, I think I was noticing the subpar galaxy beers for maybe several months before there was a lot of discussion on these forums about how crappy the crops were that season. The flavor of galaxy was ranging from earthy to peanuts for me and had zero "zip" to it. In fact I haven't had any beers with galaxy close to the peak 2014/15 range of galaxy beers I fell in love with. Four Seam with Galaxy is probably the closest to a great new galaxy beer I have had in the previous several years.

    The bubblegum flavor kind of drew me in originally, but I now find it a bit off-putting and mainly seek out their lower ABV pale ales. I love TH pales, but it's kind of a juxtaposition to wait in line with whale hunters for some well-executed session beers. Not coincidentally, my highest BA score for TH IPAs is Curiosity Twenty which became Bright, using a more standard ale yeast.

    Agree about the sweet spot of Trillium, although my wider prime based on BA scores was summer 2014 to spring 2016. The first Congress Street bottle I had in 2014 still stands as my 3rd favorite beer out of 758 reviewed. (Done most of my "ticking" on untappd the past several years.) For basically a flagship IPA to generate that much excitement from me, you can tell Trillium was killing it.
     
  32. Jmr85

    Jmr85 Nov 25, 2013 Connecticut
    Trader

    Fox Farm brewery...........that is all!
     
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  33. YourDigitalGrave

    YourDigitalGrave Jun 5, 2019 Massachusetts

    Get out of here, Connecticut!
     
  34. YourDigitalGrave

    YourDigitalGrave Jun 5, 2019 Massachusetts

    What beers would one use to accomplish this?
    Preferably it would be core vs core with similar hop profiles. I'm not too familiar with Trillium and Tree House is kind of tight lipped with what hops they use.
    Does Congress Street vs Green make sense?
     
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  35. meefmoff

    meefmoff Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts
    Trader

    Interesting question. Honestly I haven't had any of them enough to really have an informed opinion about which would match best with which.

    As you mentioned, I was just thinking of throwing a handful of the cores together and seeing if I did in fact prefer the THs over the Trilliums. Doing a more direct comparison based on hop profiles and such would definitely be fun and more informative though. I'm guessing there'd be no shortage of opinions on this in the TreeHouse thread :grin:
     
  36. thedaveofbeer

    thedaveofbeer Mar 25, 2016 Massachusetts
    Trader

    but leave a few cases of cans and bottles of fox farm at the border.
     
  37. cmoney13

    cmoney13 Sep 9, 2017 Massachusetts
    Deactivated

    Green vs. Congress St. is probably the best heads up comparison. Both have similar hop profiles (columbus + galaxy, though I think Green might have another in there).
     
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  38. Greyvtrayn

    Greyvtrayn Feb 17, 2017 New Jersey
    Trader

    If I could have looked into the future back in 2017 when I joined BA and witnessed me getting upset over a thread debating which brewery is better (Trill vs TH) yet my irritation having NOTHING to do with the actual discussion I would've never joined. For christ's fucking sake guys, it's FRANKLIN BBQ....not Franklin's BBQ!!! God DAMN IT!!!!!
     
  39. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
    Society

    I forget which Tree House beer we picked, but the ABV and style were similar if I recall. And I think we compared it against Galaxy Four Seam.

    Honestly, I wouldn't get too wrapped up in matching hop profiles. When people do massive Oktoberfest blind tastings on the main forum, do they try to match up malt profiles? Mashing techniques?

    Just make sure the styles and ABVs (which typically go hand in hand) are similar and go from there. For example, you could do one with Four Seam (6.6%), Substance (6.6%), and Fort Point (6.6%). All flagship New England pale ales with the same ABV. And per this discussion, throw in Julius.

    Moreover, New England IPAs have such bold flavors, a blind tasting is going to go south really fast regarding palate fatigue. You're also likely to have your dreams crushed and realize that IPA you traveled 2 hours for and waited in line another hour for, is no better than the shelf IPA you picked up yesterday.


    For example, in the Germany forum, people don't debate about ratings and which lager is ABSOLUTELY the best. There's so many good lagers in Germany, people simply have local favorites. There's no hype and ratings wars.
     
  40. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
    Society

    Was this a subtle dig at my unhealthy love for Notch? :wink:
     
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