Sawtooth Ale, Left Hand Brewing Company, Longmont

Style: American-style ESB

Serving Type: 12-ounce bottle

ABV: 5.3 percent

Malty? Hoppy? You’ll get plenty of both, but the malts win.

Reviewed: October 2014

After the Great American Beer Festival, I forgo brews for a while to give my palate a break. When I do return to the beer aisle at my local liquor store, I gravitate to the classics, like Left Hand Brewing Company’s Sawtooth Ale, which is the brewery’s flagship. This pleasant brew isn’t my favorite Left Hand option (see: Milk Stout), but it is a close second, in part, because of the sessionable 5.3-percent ABV. This is a brew I’ll reach for after a long workday when I know I have an early a.m. alarm coming.

The amber pour has a delightful head that holds up well as you drink. As you take your first sip, you’ll notice caramel flavors and dough-like malts. Being a Colorado brew, you find plenty of hops, but they are subtlety presented. As promised by the ESB style, there is a bitter finish, but it is dry and doesn’t blow out your palate. All of which is why Sawtooth is just the kind of shoulder-season (between GABF and winter stouts) brew I can get behind.

Would we buy it again? A nice beer to have on-hand; keep a sixer in the fridge. For a change, try the nitro version.

Warm Fuzzy: Got a million bucks? Want to donate it to find a cure for multiple sclerosis? That’s what Team Left Hand, a brewery-led group of riders who participate in Bike MS, accomplished this September. The group has ridden for the cause since 2008 and reached the $1 million mark (cumulative) in September. As a person living with MS, which I chronicled in “Walking Scar(r)ed” (May 2014), I know that every dollar helps—and a million dollars help a lot.

Natasha Gardner
Natasha Gardner
Natasha Gardner is a Denver-based writer and the former Articles Editor for 5280.