Thursday, August 12, 2010

Left Hand Sawtooth, tap

Brixie's had a free live band night tonight. The Ben Miller Band--not to be confused with the Steve Miller Band, Glenn Miller Orchestra, Ben Folds Five, or Slaughterhouse Five. Apparently they're mudstomp--folky country bluegrass, to put it in familiar terms, though that may not be accurate. Whatever it is, they have a washboard, and they're awesome. I especially loved the "Heart-Shaped Box" and "Masters of War" covers.

Beer tonight was Left Hand Sawtooth, an ESB. What's an ESB, you ask? Good question; you're not alone. I had to ask Bruce the bartender the same thing tonight. It's "extra special bitter."

Ok, so this was a new style to me. Well, maybe not entirely new. This reminded me a lot of some beer I've had but couldn't pinpoint. It poured a light yellowish amber with a creamy head that smelled like bread and butter or white cheese... and some honey. The first sip was like a French country picnic, if I knew what that was--yeasty like sourdough bread, Brie cheese, and a subtle fruity sweetness, maybe apples or strawberries.

Sawtooth is low in carbonation but not so low that you forget you're drinking beer. The further down the glass I got, the more the beer lost the creamy texture and tasted less yeasty and more bitter. Halfway through the beer, the cheesiness was all but gone; the strawberry undertone had come forward; and the bitterness ruled the finish. Bready throughout.

Grade: F, for Frenchy, which is a silly and probably misleading description, but it stuck in my head. This is an excellent beer to sober up with. It's only 4.7% ABV but has to be drunk slowly--ounce per sip or less--for maximum enjoyment. If you're patient, there's a nice payoff. I love when a beer seems like two different brews at start and end, and this is one of those beers. It's time for me to learn what this ESB stuff is all about.

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