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Left Hand Sawtooth Ale

1 rating: 4.0
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1 review about Left Hand Sawtooth Ale

Is it an ale, a pilsner, a stout . . .?

  • Aug 4, 2008
  • by
Pros: A beer particularly for taste and enjoyment, not for pizza

Cons: Bitterness that tends to round out an ale is late to the party

The Bottom Line: Sawtooth Ale is a great start to a meal, this is for a serious beer lover not for a beginner.

Left Hand’s Sawtooth Ale (Longmont, Colorado) is misnamed I think. However, I’m not exactly sure how to name a beer that is part ale, part pilsner and even a little part stout. One thing I can say is that this is a beer that needs to be used for taste alone; don’t foul it up with food—at least while you drink it. It would be a great start to a meal.

It starts at the front of the tongue sweetly as ales should. But then the masquerade begins. Ales go front to back of the tongue skipping the middle bits for the most part. Pilsners tend to ignore much of the rest of the tongue for the salty and particularly the bitter section. Stouts really go for the sweet, sour, and bitter pretty much evenly (if brewed properly). Sawtooth does all of these things.

What finally make it an ale are two things: the sweetness does prevail and the beer is heavy. Despite saying it is ale, pilsner and stout, the flavor itself is not that complex; it isn’t bad, just not complex. It is a combination of nut and citrus pretty much in equal measure. I say it is a good beer to drink prior to a meal for a couple of reasons; first is the already stated. The second is that it is heavy enough for you to order a smaller dish than you might normally since it is an appetizer all by itself.

The bitter that comes with pilsners and stouts is obvious but fade fast. I’m not sure that I like that so much. Bitter says a brief hello at the beginning, but if you wait a little it reappears. This has its pluses and minuses. The plus is, well, I get the bitter I want; the minus is that it happens a minute or more after the last swallow. This last means that not only do you have to wait it means the beer gets warmer and the bitter seems just a wee bit like bile. As with many carefully crafted beers, if you drink them at a temperature that is not recommended you tend to get either metallic or albumin coating your tongue. I guess this means that part of my favorite aspect of a beer has to wait until the last swallow before ordering another.

In keeping with my internal rule for not changing or redacting information from the original review, I add corrections at the end. I have been corrected that pilsner is a lager and my assessment with regards to it is incorrect. I add this emendation because the information provided is correct. This does not change the body of the review or the taste as I describe it, but it does correct the error.


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