Wednesday, January 21, 2009
TBG Drinks: Sawyer's Triple
Brewed By: Stone Brewing Company
Brewed In: Escondido, California
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.