Stockholm Beer 2007: Left Hand Tasting with Eric Wallace

This years US-beer list at Oliver Twist was amazing like always. But one of the better news was the arranged beer tasting that we stumbled upon when we passed the VIP-corner at the Oliver Twist booth. Jugge at Oliver Twist simply asked if we wanted to attend the Left Hand tasting, and that sounded interesting. It was hosted by the founder himself (Eric Wallace) that started the brewery in 1993 over at Longmont, Colorado.

It is always fund to hear how a brewery was started and how it came to be that a guy like Eric just thought that being a brewery could be fun. If you reflect on the fact that 4-5 of the big selling beers were all invented so early as 1994 (first beers that come out from the brewery), it is an amazing story and success. As a new brewery it take a while to find you style but here we have a brewery that already at start made amazing beers, and have sticked to them.

One fun story that Eric told us was the fact that Sweden had something to-do with him being a brewer. In short the story is that Eric traveled together with his wife on one of the big ferries across the Baltic Sea (between Sweden and Finland) back in 1991. On the boat he tasted a new beer as he normally does, this was a goal for him, simply to taste as much of new beers he could where ever he traveled. He found a strange new bottle of beer that he could not recognize, and thought that this was great, a nice ale that was so much better than the lagers on draught that was available. So he checked the bottle to see what kind of beer it was and was surprised to find that the beer was from the US. What he had tasted was the first ever beer for him from Samuel Adams! He thought it must be an English beer and was so surprised and exited that it was a beer from his own country that he decided that if these guys can create good craft beers in the USA he must also do it!

Jugge over at Oliver Twist is a large sponsor of beers from Left Hand and the beers are almost ever available at OT. And now this will be even bigger when the Milk Stout will be available at 200 stores through our own Systembolaget (state owned shops where all strong beer are sold). So it will be interesting to see if the Milk Stout could challenge the big hit beers of North Coast Red Seal and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale at Systembolaget.

How about the tasting, well it looked like below;

1. Left Hand Sawtooth Ale (nutty, caramel flavors followed by herbal earthiness of hops)
2. Left Hand Jackmans Pale Ale (hopped pale ale with a solid malt foundation)
3. Left Hand Milk Stout (Classic cream stout with addition of sugar mellows)
4. Left Hand Black Jack Porter (Dark chocolate & espresso and smooth clean finish)
5. Left Hand Oak Aged Imperial Stout (Unfiltered Russian Imperial Stout, smooth with raisins, coffee & dark chocolate)
6. Left Hand Oak Aged Imperial Stout (draught version) (Even more smoother, a classic)

All amazing beers and my personal favorite is still the Imperial Stout. But as a classic pale ale a newcomer for me was the Sawtooth Ale, a very drinkable beer and its not difficult to understand that this is the number one selling beer from Left Hand.

Jugge from Oliver Twist and Eric during the tasting.

It will be interesting to visit the brewery during the GABF-week in Denver. We are all looking forward for that and hopefully meet Eric again, at least he told us that we were welcome to visit them.

UPDATED 2007-09-25
I made a mistake so I was caught on picture during the tasting, here is the proof; Over at Ofiltrerat. That was really not expected, :).

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