The King | Tree House Brewing Company
It’s good to be the king. Tree House knows a thing or two about that. From its humble beginnings in Brimfield, MA, Tree House has done nothing but explode in popularity and size. They move to Monson, MA, where I visited them in 2015 and brought some growlers and cans back for the show. They’ve since moved to a massive facility in Charlton, MA and have expanded to three other locations across Massachusetts. So no surprise in Tree House making a stout called The King.
But The King has nothing to do with any expansions. The King features banana and peanut butter in a barrel-blended stout. So yeah, Elvis baby! Tree House took a blended barrel-aged stout and conditioned it on dried bananas. They took a fresh stout and conditioned it on peanut butter. These two beers became blended together to create The King.
Tree House is really pushing things with The King. As our show proved, peanut butter can be difficult to pull off in a beer. We also tried five banana beers on one episode of our show (Patreon exclusive) and the results were less than ideal. Tree House should just try for the trifecta and put blueberries in this beer and call it a day. I’m really intrigued to see if a brewery as revered as Tree House can pull this off.
The King pours pitch black with some quick khaki head. Like I poured it and put the glass down and the head was gone. Similar to coconut beers, The King has a film on top of the beer, which I’d guess is the peanut butter. Unlike Elivs, this King has no highlights. It’s black all the way around. Even when you move or tilt it in the light it’s all black. The King stains the glass with some alcohol but never goes so far as to re-color it.
So I didn’t read the bottle for the ingredients before I poured it. The second it hit the glass I knew peanut butter had to be a component as it filled the room. The base stout provided some nice chocolate notes, while the barrel-aged portion brought vanilla to the party. As with most banana beers, the banana really doesn’t pop as much as I’d like on the nose. Some banana did show up, but I can’t tell if it was because it was on the label or because I actually smelled it in the beer. Due to the blending, The King lacks the usual barrel-aged alcohol burn.
The good of The King comes from the base stout. Smooth and easy to drink, it features a lovely bitter chocolate note that really pops. A smattering of vanilla (presumably from the barrel-aged portion of the beer) adds some nice depth to the stout. And that’s where the fun ends.
Peanut butter and banana have fallen well-respected breweries all over and Tree House is no different. I went looking for the banana while drinking the beer and I could scarcely find it. A case could be made for a bit of banana earthiness present, but otherwise it’s not much. The peanut butter, on the other hand, suffers from an odd finishing taste for me. It finishes the beer off with an odd metallic penny note that thankfully lessens while drinking it. Still, it makes The King very off putting. I had no problem finishing the 12 ounce bottle, but it could have been so much more enjoyable than it was.
The King also features a surprisingly high carbonation for a stout. Combined with its 8.2% ABV, The King drinks easy. You’ll finish the bottle in no time. Due to it being barrel-blended, the barrel really doesn’t weigh the beer down or give it some alcohol burn. In fact, I wouldn’t have guessed a barrel was involved in the making of this beer at all.
While not an obvious home run from Tree House, The King remains drinkable and smooth at the very least. The bitter chocolate notes help things out, while the high carbonation really helps out with finishing things off. A better peanut butter flavor and some more banana flavor would definitely help the cause here. Alas, I’m still waiting for a banana stout to topple Cruz Blanca’s Tarzan Boy.