By Greg Carlson
FAIR WARNING: it doesn’t taste like pancakes! You can get a hint of the actually really cool fresh woody flavor of the sap in the finish of the beer, but it would’ve taken a lot more sap and a lot more boiling to produce more of that sweet, sticky wonderfulness (which might have been tough to preserve in the finished beer anyway, so the important thing is not to worry about it).
“Why in the world would you brew a maple sap beer that doesn’t taste like maple?” you might ask yourself. Or ask me, very loudly, if you’re our marketing guy.
Because it’s still really cool!
Turns out maple sap works well as brewing liquor, since it has the natural acidity and moderate levels of minerality needed for brewing, especially when working with the darker malts used in styles like altbiers. We brewed The Trees with traditional German malts including Vienna and Munich, plus a chunk of chocolate malt. With the help of the maple sap, The Trees is full of lovely dark malt flavors, including notes of dark cherry, plum, raisin, toasted bread crust, and hints of caramel and coffee.
In addition to these poppin’ dark malt flavors, The Trees is balanced out with a super crisp finish. That’s because altbiers, which are a traditional but sneakily complex German ale hailing from the city of Düsseldorf, are fermented with ale yeast but then lagered (a.k.a. cold conditioned) for a number of weeks. As a result, altbiers like The Trees are full-flavored up front, but end up, for a lack of a better phrase, crushable af.
So in conclusion please don’t pour The Trees on your waffles* but please do treat yourself to a very overlooked, traditional, and enjoyable style of beer. Prost!
*actually fuck it, I’m not here to yuck your yum. You do you.