Jim O’Neil, the director of operations at Blue Hills Brewery, was dropping his son off at daycare one day, sporting a Tree t-shirt, when a father started talking about the Boston rock stalwarts. It turned out, the man was the lead singer’s brother. This chance encounter on that June day resulted in the birth of a band-inspired beer.
“We wanted to honor them [Tree] and they loved the idea,” O’Neil said. “It may have been fate that our paths crossed.”
The band sat down with Blue Hills and Tree Beer was born not long after. The bottles hit the shelves of liquor stores in the Greater Boston Area in October, and now they’re aiming for the Boston bars.
“I wanted to get something our fans, who drink PBR and Budweiser,” frontman Dave Tree said. “We wanted to make something that would appeal to the blue-collar types. Guys on a ladder, or swinging hammers, things like that.”
So far, three places have Tree Beer on tap: Silvertone in Downtown Crossing, Whitey’s in Southie, and Refuge Cafe in Allston. The Midway Cafe in Jamaica Plain will be joining the on-tap list on Friday.
“Free Tree beer is a perfect way to ride out an ‘epic’ storm on a Friday night,” O’Neil said. “We would never have had the chances to expand the sales in Boston without Dave and their fans.”
Tree bloomed out of a garage in Westwood in 1988, maintained their DIY ethos throughout the decades, and their beer brewing fans have returned the favor.
“We want to combine the fun of good beer and loud music, we need our fans to spread the word for success,” Tree said. “The best part about being a musician in Boston is that if you’re cool to your fans, they will support you for as long as you support and respect them. This is something we’ve always dreamed of. Beer? Bands? What could be better?”
The Midway will host a tasting at 8 p.m. Friday.