Name: Madtree Brewing
Location: Cincinnati, OH
What you need to know: Founded in 2013, Madtree has combined tradition and innovation in developing their beer portfolio. Their continued growth led them to open a new facility in early 2017. Among their many taps are a few core beers (including the Happy Amber) as well as a number of experimental beers. In addition, they have partnered with a local farm to produce their own hard cider, and a local distillery to have cocktails in their taproom and barrels for aging their beers. These steps have given them a dedicated local community of fans and allowed them to distribute in Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee.
Beer/Food Pairing #1: Joon (Kolsch / 8.5% ABV) paired with Angel Food Cake with Macerated Berries and Lime Zest
Notes/Thoughts: Joon is a gin barrel-aged Kolsch, with ginger and juniper berries added to the barrel to accentuate the citrus and pine flavors. The gin barrels come from Watershed Distillery in Columbus, and were first used as bourbon barrels. The result is a light, refreshing beer that has more of the gin flavors than the base beer flavors. It seems like an interesting pairing challenge, but the lime zest and berries should pair nicely with the citrus and juniper flavors.
Beer/Food Pairing #2: Happy Amber (Amber / 6% ABV) paired with Red Hot Beef Sausage with Creamed Corn
Notes/Thoughts: One of Madtree’s core beers, Happy Amber is a dry-hopped amber ale. Late addition Cascade and Chinook hops (plus dry hopping with more Cascade hops), combine with caramel and biscuit malt flavors to provide a balanced experience. This beer won a gold medal at the 2018 Great American Beer Festival for Extra Special Bitter. The pairing with the sausage should be a great match, even if the creamed corn could make it a bit messy.
Overall Impressions: Madtree’s offerings allow them to show both their traditional and experimental style, and also to stand out from the many IPAs, sours, and barrel-aged stouts that dominate the SAVOR list. At least one of the two beers should be of interest to almost any attendee, and the pairings make sense. The Happy Amber especially should provide a chance to enjoy a well regarded and balanced beer that won’t wreck anyone’s palate and will play well in a crowded and warm festival night.