Last week’s BOTW post introduced a lighter beer than normal, only as a way to help entice one of your friends deeper into the world of beer and different varieties.  Today, we look into what’s next.  Now that you have someone who is willing to move into more adventurous choices, what are the best options?  We are at a critical stage, and a bad choice here can destroy all of your hard work.

Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying.”  A good point there.  And while there is a chance he was not referring to beer, I’ll just assume that he was. The point is that there is an important progression to follow to achieve full potential, whether that be flying or enjoying a Flying Dog.  Now that we are ready to move your not-so-timid-anymore friend deeper into beer, making too ambitious a leap could prove disastrous, and could even move them back to a life full of light beer and nothing else.  Think baby steps – there is no reason to rush the process.

I recommend moving to a nice golden ESB, like Left Hand Sawtooth.  This introduces a very slight level of hoppy bitterness, without being overpowering.  Gauge the reaction … good, bad, indifferent?  Maybe you could try something a bit smoother and nuttier like a Newcastle.  The key here is to make incremental progression into richer flavors without making any huge leaps.  And then you learn from their reaction.  If they liked the bitterness in the Sawtooth, move onto an IPA, like the Founders All Day IPA.  Maybe they would prefer something sweeter, which gives you the option of moving into fruit-flavored beers, like Dogfish Head Festina Peche or Sweetwater Blue.

There is no right answer.  There is no mountaintop beer you are helping them achieve.  You hold the keys to unlock the door into a universe of varied flavors, brewing styles, bitterness levels and so much more.  Be patient.  And now you’ve got a new drinking buddy.  Every time that happens, the world is a better place.  #Fact

Mike Pennington by Mike Pennington


For our second installment of the Beer of the Week segment, I turn to one of my recent go-to favorites. But before we get there, a little about me. I used to be a creature of habit: I’d wear the same style shirts, eat the same meals while out and I’d always choose from a very limited selection of beers. However, over the last 5 years or so, I have flipped that switch and gone full speed in the other direction. While I still have no fashion sense, it is rare that I order the same beer twice in one sitting. That switch occurred when I start collecting beer ‘credits’ from loyalty programs in places like Taco Mac, World of Beer and the Flying Saucer. But that’s a post for another day.

I say all of that to shed light on how I found my new go-to favorite beer. It was in perusing the extensive beer list at Taco Mac-Crabapple that I found this and gave it a whirl. And what a treat that was for me! This is not an expensive, super-fancy beer to be saved for a special occasion. And it certainly is not a “pound a half-case before kickoff” beer either. It is a very nice, smooth beer that has great balance and is perfect to enjoy over dinner with friends, at a backyard BBQ or any other social occasion. And it’s a nice conversation-starter, too. Not everyone has heard of it … yet.

Enough preamble, this week’s BOTW is Left Hand Sawtooth. Left Hand is a brewery in Longmont, Colorado and creates fantastic choices like the 400-Pound Monkey, Good Juju and St. Vrain Tripel. But their signature beer is the Sawtooth. This is an ESB (Extra Special Bitter), but don’t let the word ‘bitter’ fool you. This is a perfectly balanced beer that has a slight hint of citrus aroma and flavor. The first time I had this was on Thursday May 28, 2009 at the Taco Mac in Crabapple (Roswell), GA. Yes, moments like this are that memorable. Right now, the best way to get Sawtooth is in the 12-pack mixer, which includes 4 each of Sawtooth, Black Jack Porter, Milk Stout and the 400-Pound Monkey. Do yourself a flavor and grab one today!

And you’re welcome.
Mike Pennington by Mike Pennington