Sitting around Saturday with the crew sipping my shift beer, Julius, after fourteen hours in the brew house with Damien and Johnny, seven of which we spent astonished by the crowd that turned out for retail hours, I thought back to my kitchen years ago when we took the first sip of the first test batch of the beer that was to become Julius. At the time Tree House wasn’t even a twinkle in any of our eyes, but we all knew with the first warm, flat sip out of a wine thief that if we ever opened a brewery and had to choose one recipe to represent our tastes and brewing proficiency, it would be Julius.
And here, as Tree House Brewing Company in 2013, we went through almost four barrels of Julius alone on Saturday. That’s nearly a whole batch, 155 gallons, in just seven short hours. By the end of the day we had Julius on three different growler filling lines and it still didn’t seem like enough. We suspect it will be gone on Thursday during retail hours. Turns out we were on to something with that warm, flat sip.
While Julius was the star on Saturday, we have similar affections for all of our beers, and there was humbling interest in our other offerings. "Curiosity Two" is now history, a successful beer that we hope to revisit in the future. "Space & Time" continues to pour beautifully, and should last into this Saturday. "That's What She Said' has a rabid fan base that grows by the week. Despite the popularity of Julius, our goal at Tree House is to always have fresh, inventive, delicious beers available whenever you decide to make the trip. This weekend we will feature super fresh "Sap", our Chinook based IPA. It is bright, pungent, and super drinkable - a beer we are very proud of and can't wait to share again.
Thank you to everyone who made our Saturday so wonderful and fulfilling.
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I also want to address our process and ways we are constantly working to improve it. The nature in which we fill growlers - fresh and on-demand to maintain the integrity of the beer - inevitably leads to long lines when the perfect storm of favorable conditions converges - lovely weather, fresh IPA, and a rapid growth of demand. We are highly conscious of this and make every effort to move things along as quickly as possible, and to make the wait as comfortable as possible. Kim and Lauren work their butts off filling growlers; Dean showing folks around. For the past three to four weeks the taps have literally stayed open for the duration of retails hours.
We think the ‘Order Cards’ are a great solution to allow folks to freely roam while they wait for their turn in line. We allow and encourage bringing your own food - we will dispose of the waste for you and you can find a place to sit in the retail shop, by the pond, or at the picnic table. You are also welcome to place your order and return later in the day if it's a feasible option.
It should be noted that there was virtually no wait for beer during the last hour of retail Saturday. If you can manage, it can be beneficial to come later in the day.
Still, it's not perfect. We are working toward other solutions for long wait times. We are excited about the prospect of a canner, but this will take some time and stringent investigation to ensure the integrity of our beer. . . Space is at an extreme premium in the barn. Will it fit? We will also be more diligent about limits per turn in line. We are beyond thrilled when folks fill 8-10 bottles, but when 8-10 people in a row fill 8-10 bottles, how do we best serve the customer who just wants a single bottle? We're asking for input, and creative suggestions are encouraged.
We can’t promise we’ll be perfect, but we can promise that we’ll try like hell.