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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)


The True Magic of Julius

Julius is a beer that is designed to be immensely hop-saturated while never tiring the palate. I find it easy to brew a beer that makes a greater first impression than Julius, but it is exceptionally difficult to make a beer with this character that maintains drinkability pint after pint. To me, this is the true magic of Julius: It makes a tremendous first impression but never overstays its welcome. It has so much drinkability and an immense flavor profile.

Truly great beers seem to be imbued with a magical quality; perhaps you get an extra twinge of excitement when popping the top of the can, or you’re overcome with how the light plays through the citrine contents of the glass. Tree House and many of its fellow New England breweries appear to have unraveled the fundamental mystery behind what it takes to make such a beer. The Alchemist, Lawson’s Finest Liquids, Trillium, Tired Hands… What are these guys doing that could inspire someone to drive halfway across the country just for a six-pack?

With Julius, Lanier was able to create an "immensely hop-saturated beer that never tires the palate."

Hazy Days

Over the years I have worked hard to develop a process that results in a perfectly hop-saturated beer that retains high drinkability without tiring the palate. More often than not this results in a beer that is hazy and unfiltered. The focus is more on making beer that tastes great and not so much what it looks like. I’m ferociously resistant to the idea that a hoppy beer must be hazy to be great!

Is It Worth It?

My job has been immensely taxing both physically and emotionally for four unrelenting years. I know this is a candid and unromantic statement, but I feel compelled to share it for context of how wonderful the highs of the job can be when contrasted with the lows.

Early on with the new Monson brewery I had an absolutely terrible day with a mechanical failure forcing a late mash and an even later brew. I got home at 3 AM and was in a pretty terrible place. I happened to open my email (out of habit) and read a note from a gentleman that simply said, verbatim, “I don’t have much to say other than thank you for doing what you do. I love your beer.”

I’ll never forget that. It reminded me that despite the trials and tribulations of owning a brewery, we really are living the dream.

In a much lighter vein, I enjoy my day-to-day demands and being around the crew at Tree House. We all have a good time, and while we are often engaged in times of intense concentration and focus, there are just as many moments of levity and humor. At the end of the day I get to do what I love doing with the people who mean the most to me – what more could you ask for?

With expansion plans in the works for Tree House, Lanier shows no signs of slowing down.

Future Plans

I was a project manager / assistant at a construction firm before becoming a brewer. A lot of what I learned there has really helped with our Monson build-out, and more recently, our new brewery planned for Charlton.

In terms of distribution, our goal is to meet the demand we have locally first and foremost. Distribution to other states is not our focus at the moment. Our mission has always been to brew the best beer possible and serve it in its ideal condition. Everything else is secondary.

As Lanier walked us through life at the destination brewery he co-founded, it became clear that this was a man who is devoted to his craft and who cares about the community and his role within it.

While many people feel like being a head brewer at one of the most popular breweries in America would be a dream job, Lanier wears many different hats on a daily basis and puts in hard work day after day at the brewery. Yet he still loves what he does, and feels he is “living the dream.” That’s the kind of passion you want from a brewer.

Just like the foliage-fringed dwelling it’s named after, Tree House is a warm and inviting getaway in a beautiful, pastoral setting. Who knows, you might even find the meaning of life here, like Lanier has; the beers are that special. Just watch out for those lines – I’ve heard they can get pretty long.

Photos courtesy Nate Lanier.