Upcoming improvements to the Tree House Experience

Good evening! I’m Nate, co-founder and brewer at Tree House. It’s been a while since I have last shared thoughts in this space. If I could just borrow a moment of your time, I'd like to share a few reflections along with future plans Damien, Dean, myself, and the rest of the Tree House family have been busy working on.

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We began 2017 with twenty two employees and produced roughly two hundred and seventy barrels of beer a week. We currently have fifty employees and produce about a thousand barrels of beer a week. Over the same time period we have become one of the most visited destination breweries in the world. We have expanded mightily yet carefully to meet an unprecedented demand for beer at the brewery, and I am happy to say that we did so without compromising our ideals. Years of personal, hands on brewing endeavor by myself and my peers prepared us for this step. In our founding principles, it’s stated that if we can’t do it better, we won’t even attempt it. Thanks to this ideal, and the focus and great personal sacrifice of many dedicated individual efforts at Tree House, our beer is better and more readily available than ever across a spectrum of styles. The experience at the brewery, which sits on 70 acres of mostly undisturbed private land abutting a nature sanctuary, is better than ever with many of our best beers available on a weekly basis with little to no wait in line most of the time.  The experience is better than ever, for sure, but much is still left to be done.

When planning for Charlton and before selecting our final property, we contemplated several options about how to move forward carefully considering how we could best serve you for many years to come. We toured a number of existing industrial build-to-suit buildings that could have provided a department store-like experience, with gigantic strip mall parking lots and cavernous, impersonal spaces. This could have improved things in the short term but dramatically reduced the overall quality of the Tree House experience in the long term. Planning and constructing a new greenfield project under the prediction that more beer would space crowds dramatically and make for more laid back visits, we chose to balance aesthetic, warmth, and undisturbed nature with long term viability for large crowds. We are proud of the facility we built. We got many things about it right, and some things very wrong. We can serve you better, and that is what this update is about.

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This summer - pending local approvals - we will begin constructing a roughly 16,000 square foot expansion to our retail shop and brewery. This will include a number of open pergolas with beautiful landscaping and natural aesthetic to blend with our surroundings. A second bar, roughly twice the size of our existing bar, will service customers both inside and out during the spring, summer, and fall months and provide a second option for pints when we hunker down in the winter. This will also increase the potential for servicing growlers during slower weekday hours. Almost 2,000 square feet of new indoor mezzanine will be constructed in the existing brewery, bringing you, the guest, into virtual contact with the brewing space. The new can sale area will be above our canning line, where guests will be able to take in the beautiful sights, sounds, and smells of fresh beer coming off of the Tree House canning line in a uniquely intimate experience that blurs the line between retail and the production floor. 

 New Sunset Patio - More spaces like this will be built this summer.

New Sunset Patio - More spaces like this will be built this summer.

A number of important considerations went into the design of the new space. Chief among them is a relocating can sales to a new location at the far end of the new expansion. This will enable us to route guests around the outdoor pavilion, where we will construct a timber awning to protect from the elements should a line form.  The new can sale area will be about twice as large as the existing can sale area, allowing our can packers to assist you with greater speed and efficiency.

Relocating and expanding the can sale area will open up the original retail space and bar entirely, allowing us to hopefully offer draft during all open hours.

A newly constructed private function room, capable of hosting events several days out of the week, will be part of this improvement project. It’s designed with a large glass wall that will blur the line between the nature that sits beside it and a serene and private indoor space. Our current offices will be demolished and relocated to the back of the expansion to make room for a large and new open public space roughly twice the size of our existing retail shop.

Beyond the new retail shop, we will be shaping and manicuring several additional outdoor spaces to enjoy during the warmer months. We will introduce a series of trails that Damien and his father Roc have been working on for the past six months. They have carved out roughly three miles of trail on our property to enjoy either on foot or as single track mountain bike trail. This series of trails connects to our neighbors at Capen Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, where you may operate non motorized vehicles. In addition to the trail system, we will be planting an orchard of fruit trees, curating our own set of beehives, and opening up roughly five acres behind the sunset pavilion as hop fields and open space to enjoy. Further, we recently constructed a new sunset patio that offers exceptional west facing views of Tree House and sits adjacent to the peaceful wooded acreage on our property. It’s a giant, beautiful space that is a true joy to experience.

Preliminary Trail Map

Finally, as part of this expansion we will be making a large upgrade to our parking capacity.

SUSTAINABILITY AND A RESPONSIBLE PARTNER

We have grown substantially as a brewery, and with that growth comes increasing raw material and energy needs. To offset our impact, we are taking a number of dramatic steps to minimize our energy use and to utilize cutting edge technology to reduce our impact on the environment. We are pleased to share that we have committed to generating 40% of our electricity needs with on-site renewable technology within two years. Within five years, we have a goal to generate 100% of our electricity needs on-site through renewable means. Further, under a Memorandum of Agreement with the Town of Charlton Sewer Department, per our suggestion, we have pledged to reduce the strength of our wastewater to below that of standard household waste utilizing industry best technology within two years. Thanks to advanced automated Clean In Place equipment from GEA Brewery Systems, our water use is less than ever at about 3 gallons of water per gallon of beer produced. This is far below the industry standard and something we have worked hard as a crew to achieve.

For our retail expansion, we will disturb very little virgin ground, and what we disturb we will offset with plantings.

These are just the first of a number of Earth friendly initiatives we will be undertaking in the coming year. We will keep you informed of our progress as we are able to build and implement new technology.

BEER

On the beer-making side of things, the last twelve months saw the introduction of several new favorites including Hurricane, Bright w/Galaxy, Hold On To Sunshine, Moment of Clarity, Somewhere, Something, and more. We have taken previously limited release, heavily kettle and dry hopped Tree House IPAs and pale ales like Julius, Green, Alter Ego, Haze, Doppelganger, Sap, Lights On, Tornado, and Bright and made them easy to attain and consistent regular release beers at a great price point. We are now working with more consistent, hand selected raw materials than we had in the past. Our week to week variety has expanded far beyond what we were accustomed to just a short time ago. Other projects, in the works for nearly six years, will soon begin to bear fruit. The flexibility of two large production breweries will afford us the opportunity to frequently introduce new offerings and produce challenging beers of great complexity, skill, time, and depth of character that would have been impossible just a year ago.  Since opening our doors we have always strived to improve day by day and batch by batch and that spirit is very much alive today, perhaps more so than ever. The summer of 2018 and beyond promises a flurry of new draft exclusives and packaged offerings. 

A FINAL WORD

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Tree House Brewing Company is a highly personal endeavor, and one we have lived, breathed, laughed, cried, and marveled at for the past six years. Our experience has evolved from a cozy barn with a wood stove to an expansive and beautiful state of the art facility without losing the core of what makes it special - community, friendship, and great beer. One of life's great and simple joys is a drinking a well made pint of beer with friends or loved ones. Trying to curate and maintain such a beautiful experience for so many people here at Tree House has been both an extreme challenge and a great joy. Our idealistic vision of a perfect and profound drinking experience is one we will continue chasing, and fighting for, for all guests who support us with a visit. A great pint of beer in a warm and inviting environment has the power to transform an ordinary moment into an extraordinary one. The chase of these moments helps to inform every decision we make and guides us in times of uncertainty and fatigue.

I have the luxury of observing both our production crew and our retail crew on a daily basis. I have been fortunate to witness great personal growth across the board within Tree House through tireless focus and an unrelenting work ethic. I can tell you in no uncertain terms that behind every single beer we make and behind every single can we sell is a hungry and relentless crew that wants nothing more than to bring you the very best beer and experience we can offer.  I could not be more proud of every single person who has contributed within our walls, especially in the last twelve months.

This project will allow our new space to breath, making for a more relaxed and enjoyable environment for everyone who visits. As mentioned in the opening of this post, the experience at Tree House is better than ever. . . But it is far from perfect. We won't stop until it is. We promise to continue reinvesting to make it better, day by day, and year by year, far into the future. This new project reaffirms our goal:  To brew the best beer we can and serve it in the most comfortable and friendly environment possible.

Your continued support has made this dream possible for us, and for that we are eternally grateful. We sincerely thank you. Thank you so much. 

We are only just beginning. We will have more news soon.

Holiday Hours, December 2016

Our hours during the month of December will be altered a bit to allow ourselves and our team to take a breath and reflect during the holidays.  Please see below for the full schedule.  Thanks!

  • Wednesday (December 14th) - 12 PM - 6 PM (CAN SALES ONLY)
  • Thursday (December 15th) - 2 PM - 8 PM
  • Friday (December 16th) - 2 PM - 8 PM (CAN SALES ONLY!!!! - Edited, 12.15.16 @ 9:40 PM)
  • SATURDAY (DECEMBER 17th) - CLOSED to celebrate the year with our staff and families.

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  • Wednesday (December 21st) - 12 PM - 6 PM (CAN SALES ONLY)
  • Thursday (December 22nd) - 2 PM - 8 PM
  • Friday (December 23rd) - 2 PM - 8 PM
  • CHRISTMAS EVE & CHRISTMAS DAY - CLOSED

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  • Wednesday (December 28th) - 12 PM - 6 PM (CAN SALES ONLY)
  • Thursday (December 29th) - 2 PM - 8 PM
  • Friday (December 30th) - 2 PM - 8 PM
  • NEW YEARS EVE & NEW YEARS DAY - CLOSED

Thank you, as always for your continued enthusiasm and support for Tree House.  We have a lot to share in 2017.

-nate

One day pouring permit details, 8.27.16

In addition to today's can, growler, and bottle options,  we are offering full pours to guests to enjoy on the brewery grounds. Each guest is entitled to purchase one full pour.  Options are:

Green (16 oz) - $7

Haze ($16 oz) - $7

Native Three bottle service (500 ML - Includes Teku glass) - $23

Full pour tickets will be available at the can checkout register located at the back of the retail shop.  There are approximately 100 bottles of Native Three available for on-site service and 140 pours of each Green and Haze. Native Three for bottle service does not count against your 1 PP limit for off-site consumption. In other words, if you enjoy one on-site you may purchase two.

Pour service will begin at approximately 12-12:30.  If you have any questions, please direct them to our twitter account @treehousebrewco Thank you!

-nate

A reflection and plans for the future.

Good evening.  I’m Nate, co-founder and brewer at Tree House.  If I could just borrow a moment of your time, I'd like to share a few reflections on the past along with future plans Damien, Dean, myself, and the rest of the Tree House family have been working very hard to set in motion. . .

TRIALS, TRIBULATIONS, AND A GROWING FAMILY - A WORD ON 2015

What a year!

We started 2015 in a garage with one employee and 55 barrels of cellar space.  We finished it with 13 employees and 650 barrels of cellar space.

I am happy to say that through an incredible rate of expansion we stayed true to our principles. We progressed methodically, carefully, and without compromise.  As a result, I believe our beer is better than ever across a spectrum of styles while becoming far more available than a year ago.

To achieve this has required an intense and herculean effort - and one that I am extremely proud of every member of the Tree House family for contributing to.  It’s impossible to overstate the amount of work and unrelenting focus that is necessary to prepare and present finished beer week in and week out.  Without a deeply committed crew Tree House would not be possible. I would like to use this opportunity to thank them for their incredible and continued efforts.

SOMETHING NEW

We have been looking forward to sharing this news for a long time. . . 

We are building a new brewery!

 Introducing staff to the property in December.

Introducing staff to the property in December.

It will reside in Charlton, Massachusetts on a very central yet secluded seventy acres of land true to the Tree House aesthetic with a mixture of woods, green space, and serenity. It is designed as an expandable and multi-faceted 45,000 square foot facility and will feature a state of the art 50 BBL brewhouse, a 5,000 square foot retail space where can sales, bottle sales, and full pours will be offered at least five days a week, and a large outdoor pavilion.  The retail shop will feel familiar, with an open space vista overlooking a tank farm of 60, 120, and 240 BBL fermenters flanked by a natural light-drenched brewhouse.

The facility will house 30,000 barrels of cellar capacity initially and by the end of the first year we plan to have 50,000 barrels of cellar space available. The theoretical maximum for the brewhouse and space is in excess of 125,000 barrels a year.

 Early Rendering 

Early Rendering 

Despite massive gains in production and efficiency in Monson, it is not nearly enough.   The intent of the new brewery is to make our beer better than ever, vastly expand our range of offerings, make our core offerings more readily available, and to create a central gathering place of kinship and camaraderie for beer enthusiasts.  

The brewery is being designed in conjunction with Austin Design, Inc. It will be entirely new construction on a parcel of land that is owned by us.  This will afford us creative control of the property now and hopefully very far into the future.

This project aims to break ground in the spring of 2016 and to be operational in the first half of 2017 (we hope).

ARTISTIC EXPRESSION - THE FUTURE MONSON

The current plan for Tree House in Monson is to continue full operations into 2017 until the new brewery is operational and our classic beers are scaled, refined, and true to their original intent.

Once this happens we will slowly wind down major retail operations and clear the space as a barrel hall and center for special projects. We will have almost 10,000 square feet to age, condition, blend, and refine both clean oak projects and mixed fermentation creations.

The existing 30 BBL brewhouse will remain in place along with a number of 30 BBL tanks for wort creation. It will become a veritable nucleus of Tree House creative expression, experimentation, and exploration.  Our existing Wild Goose canning line, a bottling line, and a dedicated bottle conditioning bottling line will be in place so we may extensively carry out projects we have been working on for years but given space limitations have been unable to flesh out.  

The grounds will be extensively manicured and maintained, and the facility will be continue to be used for retail with an option for special and private events, both by Tree House and by private parties.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Tree House began life as a group of friends making ten gallon batches of beer in a small barn on St. Clair Road in Brimfield.  We have come a long way since then, but now with a large brewery and an even larger one to come, we maintain a visceral connection to the beginning and what made us start down this road in the first place.  What began as a small project has become an absolute obsession we care deeply about.   

Our new brewery is designed to allow us to continue doing what we have always done - just far more efficiently and on a much broader scale.  We have sold precisely no equity to fund this expansion, and creative control of our beer resides completely in our hands.  Imagine!  Beer brewed by us in a state of the art brewery designed specifically to carry out processes we have spent over four years refining!  We could not be more excited.

We feel a greater connection now to those who support us than ever.  We are perpetually grateful that you have embraced us and continue to give us the opportunity to pursue what we love, with the people we love. We will continue to pour our soul into the beer we make, the experience we provide, and the work we do. This is for you.  

On behalf of everyone at Tree House - THANK YOU!

-nate

Follow @treehousebrewco

Media inquiries please e-mail nate@treehousebrew.com


Our Retail Shop Has moved...

As many of you already know, we have moved our brewery / retail presence into our brand new facility located across the street from the old retail shop.  Please see this map for reference:


Thanks!

-nate

RE: Growler fills at Tree House in the future.

I wanted to post a quick note regarding growler fills in the future at Tree House....

It was reported by the news that we would be discontinuing growler fills when our packaging systems were up and running.  This was a simple oversight (it's OK, it happens!) but unfortunately for us it was published and we received a *lot* of e-mails. 

So to reiterate, growlers fills are *not* going away, ever! They've been core to our brewery since we brewed batches ten gallons at a time and will be as long as we take up space in the universe.

The reason I stated it is 'unlikely' we will fill 'core' beers [in growlers] is because we anticipate having twelve lines of growler-only beers at all times. If a line runs dry and we have a few kegs of core beers to fill it with, we will fill it…!  But it's our plan, right now, to dedicate the retail shop lines to more small batch projects.

Imagine...

Double Double Shot, Very Green, King Julius, Julius dry hopped with 'x', Green dry hopped with 'y', fruited berliner weisse, a bounty of other beers yet to be brewed, etc. etc. etc. . . all available in growler form only!

I hope this helps to clarify.

But seriously, Green in cans.

-nate

 


 

Thank you!

Just a quick note on this past Saturday, February 1st. . . We had a great, relaxed day in celebration of a fresh and lovely batch of Snowtober.  Thank you to everyone who continues to support us, and to our new friends here in Monson whose faces we are seeing quite often!

The four stooges.

Looking ahead, we're already jazzed about next weekend.  A new stout, which we've yet to name, will feature copious amounts of freshly roasted Guatemalan coffee with just the proper amount of sweetness to balance things out.  A coffee lover's delight!

Damien's handiwork!

We also have a solid amount of delightful and simple pale hoppy beer in the tanks, which will be trickling out in the weeks ahead.  Stay tuned. 

This week and the next we'll be brewing special beers for the Extreme Beer Festival in Boston, along with a new Imperial Stout to be aged in Elmer T. Lee barrels.  We expect this one to be released some time around the holidays.  The Extreme Beer Festival beers will also be available in the retail shop in small quantities. . .

We hope you enjoy your refillable bottles over the next few days. 

Until next time. . .!

A Status Update!

 Fresh "Eureka w/Citra" on display in the re-located brewery!

Fresh "Eureka w/Citra" on display in the re-located brewery!

Oh, hey blog, what’s happening?  It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I have to apologize. . . we’ve all been a bit busy, and distracted carrying our brewery four and a half miles to the blustery expanse of East Hill road in Monson!

The last few months have been a whirlwind of activity here at Tree House, and I’ve been meaning to share something of a status update but wanted to make sure I had a chance to properly collect my thoughts. Luckily today, sitting quietly in an empty brewery listening to the burps of fermenting beer, I think I’ve reached that point.

One of our goals during the move was to stay open and not have to shut down for weeks on end. A lofty goal, indeed. We’re quite proud to say that after enduring many double digit hour days through holidays and the birth of a new member of the Tree House family (Tessa!), we achieved our goal. The monumental task of permitting a brewery and moving it without loss of service is a task that I - and everyone here at Tree House - hope we never have to endure again.

Setting challenges aside, the wheels are officially in motion to continue the agricultural legacy of Koran's Farm for future generations, and to preserve its beauty for both the community of Monson and travelers from afar.

 Winter Landscape at Tree House.

Winter Landscape at Tree House.

Now that we’re settled in and comfortable in the relocated brew house, we’ve begun to produce beer that we think is better than ever - soft, elegant, and distinguished.  We are laser focused on the present, but also looking ahead to the future with exciting bottling projects in the works including mixed fermentation efforts, wood aged beers, and collaborative beers with friends.  Spring will also see the birth of an expansive growth program to include native hops and fruit trees! 


Since opening our doors in Monson we have seen a greatly increased curiosity in our project, and we've been selling everything we produce in seven short hours every Saturday.

This has resulted in some understandable frustration. We had hoped to be open more often as our new location affords, but we have not been able to get our stockpile of beer to an appreciable enough level.  In other words, we could open on Thursday & Friday, but we wouldn't have any beer.  Another frustration has been a lack of variety on Saturday, also a function of low supply.  We can't do much to change this in the very short term, but we can point you to treehousebrew.com/on-tap, which is consistently updated and accurate, providing a snapshot of what will be available during your trip.  And when you're here you can tell Dean to stop drinking all the beer.

We've always focused on becoming objectively better brewers at Tree House, while not rushing to become bigger. With that focus comes challenges of supply.  We have chosen to take a route for the next phase of our project that looks deep into the future of sustainability and community, rather than rushing to expand. Given this path, we'll ask for your continued patience as we try to get it right from the very beginning. We are keenly aware of the difficulties with our current system (long lines, limited hours), but we can sternly promise our operation will become increasingly efficient - via substantial capital investment - in the next year.

In the very near term, we have added a 10 BBL tank and will be above Brimfield levels of 'production' in 3-4 weeks. . . and with it we hope to resupply our draft accounts and open a few more days out of the week to alleviate wait times & lines.  Green, Julius, Sap, and a new Coffee Beer all resting in the tanks waiting for their turn. . . 


Our neighbors and the Town of Monson have been wonderful in welcoming us to the neighborhood. We are looking forward to a long and joyful relationship!

In closing, we sincerely appreciate all of your submitted thoughts, both good and bad.  Really.  We have embraced your informed perspective over the years as we consistently try to improve!

The very best is yet to come.

-tree house

 

October, Pumpkin Carving, and Breast Cancer Awareness

October

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Ahh, October.  The leaves are morphing into their trademark Autumn hue and we’ve been as busy as ever in the Tree House barn.  

Our pale hoppy offerings are still churning about at their regular pace but we’ve begun to inject a bit of seasonal flair into our tanks.  “Snowtober”, our Porter, was brewed last week and should be ready before Halloween.  “Awesome Autumn Ale”, our Imperial Ale brewed with restrained Autumn Spice and aged in stainless on Madagascar Vanilla Beans should be ready around the same time.  

Autumn and winter promise to have other surprises in store, but more on that later. 

Oh, and we’re carving pumpkins!  Damien has once again lent his talents to the face of an unsuspecting pumpkin and produced the Tree House logo in all her glory.  He rules, but we want you to get in on the fun too!

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Pumpkin Carving Contest!

On Saturday, October 26th, we invite you to share your pumpkin carving talents as part of the first annual Tree House pumpkin carving contest!  The rules are simple:

  • Carve a pumpkin - either a skin carving like Damien did or a standard style carving.

  • No theme - Carve to your heart’s content.  But be aware that if someone successfully carves Dean’s face into a pumpkin they will very likely win.

  • Bring it to Tree House on or before October 26th.

  • Profit.*

*But really, we’ll judge and the prizes will be as follows:

1st Place - $50 Tree House Gift Card

2nd Place - $25 Tree House Gift Card

3rd Place - $10 Tree House Gift Card

All others - I’ll be taking a group photo of all the entries to be shared on www.treehousebrew.com . Everyone's a winner.

Carve awesomely, foks.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  

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 We’ll be doing our part to raise awareness for this terrible disease through T-shirts and signs in the retail shop, but also by donating 5% of our total sales from Saturday, October 26th to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.  If you’re interested in helping personally, please go here to make a donation.  Every little bit counts.  Thank you for listening.

 

Wow.

Last evening we joined a celebration of Armsby Abbey's 5th Anniversary with seventy or so supporters and friends of both Tree House Brewing Company and the Abbey.  To say we were blown away by Alec, Aric, Chef Damian and their first class knowledgeable staff would be a complete understatement.

We were humbled to be pouring our beers alongside their masterful creations.  We could not have asked for a better first beer pairing evening.  The pacing was excellent, the beers were pouring well, and everyone was in great spirits. It's a night we will fondly carry with us for the rest of our lives as we continue on the journey of Tree House Brewing Company.

Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you!

Below is a small gallery of the evening's events.  We had anticipated documenting the evening in more detail, but we were simply having too much fun.  :)