With temperatures starting to rise, my latest trip to the liquor store found me passing over the stouts and heavy beers I’ve been stockpiling the last few months and looking for a nice spring seasonal. Luckily, one of my favorites from the last few springs had just arrived – Tree Shaker Imperial Peach IPA from O’Dell Brewing, out of Colorado. I tried this beer for the first time a couple years ago and instantly fell in love, which I found somewhat strange because I don’t even like peaches. But that is the thing about beer; the flavors can combine, mix, hide and accentuate others in unexpected ways. So if I can give one piece of advice for trying new beers, it is to not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try something you normally wouldn’t, whether it is flavored with coffee, cherries, cocoa, or in this case, peaches.
As for Tree Shaker, it pours a beautiful dark gold with a substantial head of tiny bubbles that lasts a decent amount of time. The smell is spring in a glass, with a mix of citrus fruits like peaches (duh) and grapefruit, and also some pine and grass coming through. I think what sets this beer apart from most imperial IPAs is its drinkability. It doesn’t hit you in the face with its hoppiness, even though it is a respectable 48 IBUs, and I think that is thanks to the addition of the peach fruit. And, while you can taste a little extra booze, my guess was 6% or so, not the actual 8% ABV. At first sip, it is refreshing and light like peach tea, but as it lingers the hops start to shine through with other citrus and pine flavors. It’s a great balance of citrus and herbs, not hitting you in the head with either one, but lingering for a nice long finish. Finally, as it goes down, the bitterness arrives and lets you know that it is an IPA after all, and leaves you with a craving for another taste, which I was all too willing to oblige.
Bonus food pairing tidbit: With the upfront thirst quenching and long finish, I paired Tree Shaker (ok, my second Tree Shaker) with some super spicy chicken and poblano pepper tacos. I thought the citrus and hop flavors were perfect for cutting through the heat and made the flavor of the different peppers stand out. And yes, that is my second plate and third beer, and no, I don’t feel guilty about it.