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Nate Lanier of Tree House Brewing Co.

In His Own Words (Issue 25)
Nate Lanier of Tree House Brewing: "We really are living the dream." (Photo Credit: Lauren Lanier)
Nate Lanier of Tree House Brewing: "We really are living the dream." (Photo Credit: Lauren Lanier)

 

Crafting a Recipe

I feel very in tune with my process and my selection of raw materials after brewing thousands of commercial batches in the past four years. In other words, I try to imagine a flavor profile and then reverse engineer it into a recipe that I think will achieve that flavor profile. This works most of the time, but I am still learning. All of our beers are a work in progress!

Despite his modesty, many of Lanier’s creations are among the most sought after beers in America. The brewery just celebrated its fourth anniversary, where Lanier and company debuted King JJJULIUSS, an imperial version of its popular year-round Julius, which sold out almost immediately.

Though consistency is a challenging cornerstone of brewing, making mild tweaks throughout the brewing process can sometimes create unintended and brilliant results.


"I try to imagine a flavor profile and then reverse engineer it into a recipe that I think will achieve that flavor," Lanier says.


Picking Ingredients and Reverse Engineering

Being in tune with raw materials and educating your palate is the most important part of creating recipes and choosing ingredients. Tasting, imagining and thinking about how certain things will work together takes up a lot of my time. I think the more a brewer develops his or her palate, he or she will become a better brewer. I am always tasting, smelling, and eating raw materials. You can’t know what a dark crystal malt will contribute unless you eat some of it raw before including it in a recipe. When the beer is finished, you think back to the raw taste, and from there you just build your knowledge and experience… the key is to stay in tune at all times.

The Work Environment at Tree House

It’s extremely jovial! I liken it to a sports team finding success while having a good time off the field. The biggest source of tension is what is going to play on the radio that day; that’s serious business! One of the guys is a huge Miley Cyrus fan... can you imagine?

There is a serious energy to the room when everything is rolling, and, in my opinion, there is no greater environment in the world!


Despite IPAs being his calling card, Lanier loves to experiment with all kinds of styles.


Tales of Ales

Julius was one of the very first recipes I conceived of with a commercial brewery in mind, but not the first beer released. The first keg we sent to a restaurant was a classic balanced American Pale Ale in the vein of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale that we called Something New. A few others from the early days include That’s What She Said, a milk stout, Dirty Water, a gently hoppy blonde ale, and Old Man, a special bitter. The story of That’s What She Said hasn’t been told too often… My very first home brew was an attempt at a milk stout. I was in an impressionable stage of learning and had read that oxygenating your beer was good. The only problem was that my beer had finished fermenting. Long story short, I shook the carboy and destroyed my very first brew, but I still packaged it. It was terrible! I still have bottles of it, and I can only imagine how awful they are! At any rate, That’s What She Said exists as a bit of spite toward that first brew, and because I love milk stout.

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