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Boston Globe covers the new beer!

Blue Hills taps into nostalgia with a new band-inspired brew


Jim O’Neil was standing in a parking lot, picking up his kid from school when he had a moment of nostalgia that reminded him of his college days.

O’Neil, director of operations at Canton’s Blue Hills Brewery, was wearing the T-shirt of one his favorite bands, Tree, a staple in the Boston hardcore scene for more than two decades.

“I went to BU in the ’90s,” says O’Neil. “I guess I’m an old school guy. I still listen to CDs of music from that era. Tree is a band that’s in rotation in my car once in a while.”

One of the other dads, who turned out to be the brother of longtime Tree band member Dave Tree, commented on the shirt. The two got to talking, eventually looping in Tree, a central figure in O’Neil’s college life.

The musician and the brewer met up for beers. A couple of New England bands, including Sam Black Church and Scissorfight, recently partnered with breweries on their own brews. O’Neil asked Tree if he’d be into a similar collaboration. He didn’t need much convincing.

“I’m a big beer fan, period,” says Tree. “I’ll drink hop beer, no hop beer, ales, lagers, Pilsners, stouts.”

Tree went to the other band members — the group still plays together about once a year, though the musicians have mostly moved on to other projects — for input on the brew.

“Originally I wanted to make an awesome Pilsner at like 9 percent alcohol,” says Tree, who soon found out that was pretty hard to do. “I said, ‘Let’s make our dream beer like back in the day, when it took a 30-pack to get a buzz.”

Working with the Blue Hills staff, the band settled on an imperial Kölsch, plenty strong enough to get that buzz but not hoppy or intense enough to turn off the band’s working-class fans.

“They want a beer for the common man,” says O’Neil. “They don’t want a basil-infused double IPA, But they want higher alcohol. He basically wanted a Pabst, but at like 8 percent.” In other words, a beer for having fun.

O’Neil recalls staying out till 1:30 in the morning at age 21 or 22, drinking and carrying on at Tree shows.

“They were a good time,” says O’Neil. “A lot of drinking. Loud. Mosh pit was always crowded. Cheap to get in.”

The band will reunite for a Tree Beer launch show on Nov. 28 at The Sinclair, Cambridge (617-547-5200, The beer will also be on tap at Somerville’s Parlor Sports (617-576-0231,, and Highland Kitchen (617-625-1131,

Gary Dzen can be reached at

Original Article



BRAND NEW VIDEO. check it out



Novel passion projects in the beer world tend to have charming backstories associated with their birth.


Take, for instance, the story of how Tree Beer, the brand new Blue Hills Brewery offering, came about. And if you ask Dave Tree, band member of legendary Boston hardcore group Tree, it comes down to a fateful day at a preschool bus stop.


“My brother’s son has a buddy at preschool, and that kid’s father shows up one day to drop off his kid while wearing a Tree t-shirt,” says Tree. “My brother says, ‘Hey, that’s my brother’s band,’ and the guy turns out to work for Blue Hills Brewery, and I called him that day and was in the brewery by end of week.”


That Blue Hills Brewery employee turned out to be Jim O’Neil, director of operations for the brewery, who was keen to chat about what kind of beer they would potentially collaborate on. If a Tree beer was going to exist, named after the band, the two of them wanted to make sure it was something they both liked and could stand behind as both craft beer aficionados and general beer drinkers.


“I always wanted to do a beer with a band,” says O’Neil. “Smuttynose did a beer with Scissorfight out of Portsmouth, NH. Many people have asked me when we’re doing a beer with a band, [so] maybe it was fate I had my Tree shirt on that day.”


HP_TreeBeerFlyer_300And now that Tree and O’Neil have spent the last month working on the project, with an earlier iteration coming out with a massive 8 percent APV (“I wanted to make it 9 percent and bars were like, “9 percent beer? I don’t know dude…’”), they’ve come up with a Kolsch-style brew that’s a tweaked spin on a previous version Blue Hills Brewery had been making. After Tree conducted taste tests and even had some sample trial kegs at a few recent art shows (Tree’s artistry and design eye graces the logo and label for the beer itself), the two brought the APV down while still keeping some punch (7.5 percent) and tweaked the recipe, resulting in a Kolsch flavor profile with a light, hoppy finish.


“We don’t want to trick people; we had a taste-testing here in the art gallery after we got the tester keg, and everyone liked the high APV, but a lot of people wanted to bring down the APV and the hops,” says Tree. “The brewery wanted that too. I’m not normally in the [brewing] seat, but it’s nice to be on both sides of the keg now. We tried to design a beer that’s for the masses but still a craft beer.”


Tree and his new band See This World will be performing at the annual Boston Freedom Rally on Boston Common this weekend, where kegs of Tree Beer will be on-site for people to try out the new brew firsthand. Additionally, O’Neil says he’s working through Tree’s connections at local bars and art shows, but after the Freedom Rally there will be kegs going into local bars throughout the Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, and Allston/Brighton areas during October and November. If things go well, the brewery will plan to start bottling it as well.


“People may buy for the novelty at first, should they remember my band Tree,” says Tree. “But after that they’ll buy for the taste. And they’ll like it.”



Live with TREE!

TREE BEER ROCK SHOW Sat Nov 28 8pm 18+ at the Sinclair TREE, Never Got Caught (with Billy and Brian from TREE) and SEE THIS WORLD ( Dave TREE’s new band) Join us and help celebrate TREE BEER brewed by Blue Hills Brewery, tickets go on sale Monday Sept 21


Pity Party

This Thur Sept 17 in Union Sq Somberville Ma SEE THIS WORLD plays the Pity Party, don’t get sad, don’t get mad just show up and get even! Help us spread the word and we hope to see you there…

New Video

New Video “Sad Sad Day” shot/edit by Conner Williams Just finished late Friday night help us share this with the World so that they may See, like it, share it, rock it out, we got more coming, we play the Freedom Rally Sun Sept 27 5pm, we are looking to play awesome gigs so please hit us up.