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?
(Image: Emma Christensen)