I tend to have a huge Sad when the weather starts getting warmer. Not because it’s gardening season; I love fresh vegetables and the inevitable cauldron of walnut pistou served up in the kitchen (try it slathered on Cook’s sourdough. Delicious!) But because my beloved stouts and porters typically get tossed aside by local pubs and alehouses. So I sniff around for beers with a lighter touch. Which brings me to this particular pint; Family Tree.
This Belgian style Pale Ale is definitely on the hoppy side, but not in an overkill kinda way. In fact, there’s a nice malt to it, with a decided lack of bitterness that typically turns me off from the usual Belgians. Oh, there’s a hint o’ bitter here, but it’s in a faint ESB kinda way, rather than an overly yeasty grabs-you-by-the-collar invasion. This Tree is a refreshing, light pint that’s easy to drink and pairs well with all kinds of things. (I myself had some with picked onion rings and jerk chicken. And it was more than up to the task of keeping me refreshed.)
It’s an easy pint to get into as well, with a clean, fresh nose and bubbly but smooth mouthfeel. More of subtle carbonation rather than a full-on “are you sure this isn’t German seltzer?”vibe. Once you let your sip linger a bit, it gets silky, and when I let it roll around in my mouth there’s that touch of bitter than brings out the malt, pairing perfectly with my meal. Though that’s not to say you can’t sip it on its own; it’s a pint that longs to be shared with something, but if you want to savor it all by itself I won’t be the one to stop you.
Perfect for a summer day when you’re kicking back with a good book and some nibbly bits. It’s not a beer to slam, you heathens. It’s a sipper. My beer buddy calls it a Springer, which means it’s really a beer to sip when the daffodils are out and about, rather than a summer beer. I concede that Family Tree is indeed something to wish for during a lovely Ostara afternoon…but this beer has a beautiful fruity/clean taste that’s not worth kicking out of bed when the Summer Solstice rolls in.
Sad thing though; this lovely brew was made special for the 2017 Craft Brewers Conference & Brew Expo America the past April. I was lucky enough to find it on tap, but that’s more incredible good luck than the brew being widely available elsewhere. Cans are still kicking around, but if you want to try this limited release, get cracking. Better yet, ask your own family tree to sniff around. Beer’s better when it’s shared.
Flying Dog Family Tree
Style: Belgian Pale Ale (though my pub and Untapp’d lists it as a Saison/Farmhouse)
ABV/Alcohol By Volume: 6%