Beer Review: Madtree Sprye & Lift

Just over a year ago MadTree flew out of the gates with cans of PsycHOPathy, Gnarly Brown, and Happy Amber all over the greater Cincinnati area. If you haven’t been following your local beer blogs or been into a better beer store lately then you may have missed that Madtree launched 2 new cans last week! No small feat for a brewery barely over a year old.

Sprye is the first of their seasonal releases and will only be around till May. Sprye is a rye pale ale which means it’s like most other pale ales you’re familiar with but has rye malt in place of some of the other standard malts. Rye is a specialty malt that adds a spicy zest to the beers.

Light and hoppy, at 5%, Sprye is a sessionable pale ale, that will put a spring in your step. Earthy and spicy notes evoke scents of spring, while the hops.

MadTree Sprye
ABV: 5%
IBU: 40
Malts: Rye, Flaked Barley, Munich 10L, Melanoidin
Hops: Centennial, Chinook, Simcoe

Started with a dose of fluffy white head that hung around a while before skimming down. Golden nectar colored with awesome clarity and plenty of free-flowing bubbles of carbonation keeping the head around,

Smells like spring. Fresh citrusy hops, some resin, and a touch of spice from that rye malt.

Taste is light as the spring breeze I’m waiting for after winter thaws. That rye spice comes back from the aroma and leads the way down your throat. It’s the most notable flavor but not overpowering. Some of those hops come back mostly in a resiny way. All capped off with a light touch of malt flavors.

Very light body that packs a super crisp zing on your tongue.

Not really the beer for a 30 degree day in February that’ll see snow fall before the sun rises but it’s already available from Convington to Dayton and will likely remain that way till the tulips bloom. If you’ve read the blog before you know I’m not the biggest fan of rye, however, if you are you should try this. Despite my general dislike of rye Sprye handles it well with a light touch that leaves me wanting this again once the temperature tops fifty.


If you haven’t been down to MadTree’s tap room lately, which you should frequent often, then you may have never heard of Lift. However, you may have heard of Kölsch, which was also briefly known as Timber, which is now known as Lift. MadTree knew they couldn’t go the standard route with a light American lager so instead they went a slightly odder style. Lift is a Kölsch style ale that is extremely light but still features hops, just not nearly as much as most hop-forward beers like we’re used to. Unlike Sprye Lift is being added to the lineup year round and will kick ass on a hot summer day in July or August that will leave us missing the polar vortex… well, maybe not “missing.”

Whether taking a break from a hard day of work or just a huge day of hops, this crisp, refreshing beer with a hint of orange will lift your spirits without lowering your expectations for what a craft beer should be.

MadTree Lift

ABV: 4.7%
IBU: 11
Malts: 2-row, Red Wheat, Vienna, Flaked Barley
Hops: Pacifica

Frothy white head that hangs around for the long haul topping off a liquid that is 2 shades darker than the butter yellow of the can artwork above.

Very light smell with a hint of light citrus zest and orange peel.

The flavor is very light as well with more citrus action and some wheat mixed in.

Body is easily the high spot on this beer. The wheat gives it an awesome creamy mouth feel that remains super light on the tongue. The lightness of the body is met with a crisp tingle of carbonation on the tongue.

I’m no Kolsch expert but this is similar to the others I’ve had and seems to be a good example of the style. This is a very light beer which is great in some ways and not in others. Despite my fondest wishes I can’t drink Galaxy High and Axis Mundi all day (not that I haven’t… I just shouldn’t). Days like that are when Lift will come in as a nice break from the high ABV, IBU, hopped beers. Like the Sprye it’ll be much more enjoyable when it’s warmer out but it’s still good now.

2 thoughts on “Beer Review: Madtree Sprye & Lift”

  1. Pingback: Local Beer Blog Spotlight: February 27, 2014 | Hoperatives

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