Style: American ale

ABV: 5.3 percent

Serving Type: 12-ounce bottle (nitro)

Malty? Hoppy? Smooth, caramel malt flavors with a hint of hops

Reviewed: October 2013

Left Hand Brewing recently added two sleek new brews to their nitro series: Sawtooth Nitro andWake Up Dead Nitro. With a long night of writing ahead of me, I reached for the Sawtooth—a “session” beer with a much lower ABV—to sip while I tapped away at my keyboard.

Since it was a nitro bottle, I knew to expect the pour to be smooth and creamy, accompanied by more evenly distributed flavors than the CO2 version. But when I popped the top and immediately gave it a hard pour into a glass, I was befuddled by the copper-colored ale sitting in front of me. The head was so thick and velvety that I nearly lunged for a spoon to start scooping off the foam like ice cream. Luckily, my inner beer savant reprimanded me just in time.

The rich, creamy head was a nice setup for the flavors that followed. It was a medium bodied brew, balanced with sweet caramel malt, a tinge of nuttiness, and just a hint of herbal hops. Spreading evenly onto the whole palate, the nitro version seemed far less bitter than the regular Sawtooth. And while the nutty malts and light hops reminded me of the original version, there was no denying that this pour was a whole lot creamier. The finish was slightly dry, but refreshing, and left me planning for another writing session.

Would we buy it again? Anytime we want to surprise friends with a twist on an old favorite.