Beer Profile: Pretty Things Baby Tree
Reviewed by Ken Carman
I was very impressed with this American take on the ever creative Belgian brewing scene. You can tell that this quadrupel was brewed with dried plums and the Belgian yeast esters also drop a hint of raisins and other dark fruits. To get this type of descriptives out of me is impressive in itself. I hate writers who claim beers with no fruit in them taste like fruit and other, far worse, descriptives. (Once a writer claimed the beer they had tasted was like the pleasing ashes of a fine cigar; words that combine into an oxymoron if there ever was one.) Well, this beer does have fruit, and is complex enough for me to cringe and type what I just did.
This is a deep, dark, liquid that needs its lack of hop sense to give the quaffer all the pleasantness that the yeast and the fruit addition provide in plentiful proportions.
At a beer tasting in Sturbridge, Mass.; Yankee Spirits, I met another brewer who claimed all these brewers in Holyoke, like Pretty Things, or Paper City, use the same facility. If so, the diversity pouring forth from Holyoke is quite impressive.
There’s a great story on the web site about the origin of the name that ends like this…
…our baby tree springs from a land of dragons, mediaeval (sic) villagers, knights, farms, misty heather, a shed full of barley, and creepy trees. This is a magical place in which ordinary things can grow into fairytales, and this beer is the result of just such a seed. Our baby tree is a happy tree that celebrates life at its silliest. A traveling tree full of babies that exists in a magical land.
Tis worth the read.
Note: as the web page for Pretty Things claims, a “quadrupel” is not an officially recognized style. I assume it’s meant as a one up from “Trippel,” but more like a Dubel since a Trippel isn’t dark and uses lite Belgian candy sugar to accentuate the gravity rather than the more malt complex Dubbel.