Beer Review: Left Hand’s Chainsaw Ale

Beer Sessions

Left Hand’s Sawtooth Ale was one of the first craft beers we can remember trying and really loving. What’s more, it’s still one of our favorite all-around beers to drink anytime, anywhere. This is why we were really excited to find a bottle of their Chainsaw Ale, billed as a bigger, badder, doubled-up version of Sawtooth. In short: yum.

Beer Details: Chainsaw Ale from Left Hand Brewing Company in Longmont, Colorado. Double ESB (Extra-Strong Bitter), 9% ABV.

Appearance: This one looks truly gorgeous in a glass. It pours a burnished copper red and slightly hazy with a solid head of sticky foam.

Aroma: Herbal hop aromas were very forward on first sniff. Stewed fruit, fresh orange juice, and light chocolate notes emerged as back-notes.

Taste: Earthy hops practically steamroll across the tongue, leaving behind flavors of tangerine, apricot, and sweet pineapple. The malts are present in a brown sugar sweetness, edging into burnt sugar. Grapefruit and pine come out in a lingering finish.

This beer tastes juicy and thick, almost like a smoothie. The flavors are intense and build with every sip. It reminds us a lot of the barleywines that have been so popular recently. The alcohol is definitely perceptible in a prickly heat sensation, but we thought this complimented rather than distracted from the overall beer experience.

Food Pairings: Chainsaw is a great one with food. There are so many flavors going on that it could be a match to just about anything you put on the table. Try it with grilled meats, seafood, and veggies, or save it to have with a fresh summer fruit dessert.

Overall: This is definitely one to pick up if you come across it. Not an everyday beer, but it would be fun to bring out as a wine alternative at a dinner party.

Have you had this beer? What do you think of it?

Related: Beer Labeling: What Does "Imperial" Mean?

(Image: Emma Christensen)