Wednesday, January 21, 2009

TBG Drinks: Sawyer's Triple

Brewed By: Stone Brewing Company
Brewed In: Escondido, California
Type: Tripel
ABV: 7.6%

What They Say: "Sawyer's Triple is based upon the traditional "Golden Triple" style of strong ale, hailing from Belgium. The brew is deep golden in color with a distinctive spicy, sweet and hoppy nose. Effervescent carbonation leads to a modestly dry malt character with hoppy flavors and alcohol overtones."

Website: A sub-site off of the Stone Brewing home page, the Sawyer's Triple area is a straight-forward no-frills presentation that belies its tragic, yet inspirational origins. There's a press release from 2003, which details how Sawyer's Triple came to be (the son of a Stone brewer had been diagnosed with adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD) – a rare neuro-degenerative disease – and this beer was crafted in his honor). In addition, there are links to pictures from the original 2003 release/sale and a FAQ.

Why I Picked It: M'man "JPinAZ" gave me a heads-up that Sawyer's Triple was being re-released in the fall of 2008. He has yet to steer me wrong on any high-end beer, plus he's an accomplished home brewer, himself. He's got a bathtub-brewed bock that (I'm told) uses 80% less antifreeze than any other bootleg beer.


Presentation (5): It might take Lasik to read the tiny text on the back of the bottle, but spend a minute to mull it over as it's quite the bittersweet read. It covers the creation of Sawyer's Triple by Bill Sherwood and how his son's (Sawyer) battle with an awful illness inspired him. Sawyer passed away a few years ago at the age of eight, but the powerful message here shows that the Sherwoods will continue the good fight. 5

Originality (5): I haven't had too many tripels (New Belgium makes (made?) a pretty tasty one), but I doubt you'll find the flavorfully complex blend in here. The lower ABV and smoother overall finish add a few bits of uniqueness, as well. 4

Body (10): The most common criticism seems to be that Sawyer's Triple is too thin, but I'm not in agreement. While it does lean a little light, I think it's an effective way to carry the low-to-low medium level of carbonation. At this risk of extinguishing every alcohol cliché there is, this is absolutely a California beer. 8

Taste (10): There are several citrus layers here, each laced with a ginger-peppery finish and the slightest clove aftertaste. It lacks a little in hoppy/yeasty goodness, as the ancillary flavors do hijack the palette at times. Nothing is too overwhelming, though and it seems a little silly to knock a Tripel down for having too much flavor. 8

Efficiency (10): There aren't many beers sold in 22 oz. bottles that can be called "efficient". Besides, there's enough goodness going on here to make Sawyer's Triple worth sippin' slowly. The 7.6% ABV didn't do much damage, but I wouldn't tempt fate by pounding this at will. 6

Versatility (10): Preferably served if you're trying to impress an aficionado with the brand name (Stone Brewing) or convince a casual beer drinker that there's more to life than Miller Lite. Not to be wasted on card games or college parties. 5

Grade: 36 (out of 50) – Really good beer

The above format has been lifted with permission from That Beer Snob Guy.


Tom said...

Stone is like Blue Point for me. I'd try anything they put in front of me. It's good to hear they can actually make something that doesn't make blood shoot out your ears like Ruination.

Anonymous said...

Hi Boot. Say, I was wondering if you could steer a non-classy beer drinker into some classier brews. Truth be told, I've attempted to drink Guinness, Michelob's Craftsman Collection and various Samuel Adams selections in the past and I just can't seem to acquire the taste for them that make them so desirable to afficiandos like youself. Here's what I do like: Coors Light, Bud Light, Miller Genuine Draft and the occasional Moosehead. What would you recommend me, the amateur beer drinker, so I can be the coolest cat at my local pub?

That Bootleg Guy said...

Oh, dear...

Alright, Anon. Knowing full well that I'm about to embarass myself here, I'll bite:

To tell you the truth, I would've recommended Sam Adams, before noticing your caveat above. Their Boston Lager is about as straightforward an inoffensive as beer gets (decent flavor, not bitter, smooth).

Based on your likes, we can safely X out stouts, porters and IPAs.

If you've got Fat Tire in your area, try it. More flavorful than most commercial beers, not heavy, simple but effective.

Redhook's got a blonde that's OK, IIRC. Out here in Cali, Redhook's reputation is that of a "college beer", but f*** it. It ain't bad.

Bass and Sierra Nevada lean a bit on the bitter side, but those are two more readily-available beers that won't get you laughed out of any bar.

Tom said...

In the following order: Boddington's Pub Ale, anything domestic with "Blonde" in the name, then anything with "Copper" in the name (ie: Red Hook's "Copper Hook", Otter Creek's "Copper Ale").

I'd also recommend Sam Adams's Boston Ale above their Boston Lager. I think it's infinitely better.

JPinAZ said...

The bottles you got me better not be empty when you bring them out to AZ.

That Bootleg Guy said...

Our agreement was four bottles and four bottles you'll receive.

(Tee hee...)