If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.” ~Henry David Thoreau
Rating → 88 points
Stats: IPA. 6.5% ABV. 65 IBUs. Gravenhurst, Ontario.
Size: 650mL bottle (now available as 473mL can)
Colour: Honey gold
Mouth Feel: Medium carbonation; quite full across the tongue; well-balanced ending.
Price: $3.25 (for 473 mL can)
Pairing Notes: Cheddar Pierogi with Bacon
I love the quote which takes the notion of it being easier to destroy than to create and expands to the fact that it is easier to destroy our natural world than simply to be inspired by it. I know — a bit odd to start a beer review with a quote from Thoreau, but much like Thoreau, the big bitters of an outstanding IPA are more often appreciated by an adult palate. But the other reason for the quote is because Thoreau was certainly one of the first tree-huggers of the world … or at least one of the first published lovers of trees. And so, like those among us who struggle with slowing down to appreciate the art of a well-constructed bitterness, many struggle with both Thoreau’s Walden and his love of nature. And as you may have read in my other post from the weekend regarding my taking Ben’s ashes to our tree, I had ‘trees’ on the brain this weekend.
All that said, Sawdust may or may not be a brewer as keen on the seriousness of Thoreau — but I think their dedication to quality and learning would certainly have ingratiated themselves with him. From their website:
The rule at Sawdust City is there are no rules. We are just here to make great beer. In addition to our five year-round core brands, we brew exceptional seasonal offerings, exciting limited batch brews, barrel-aged and experimental beers.
Of course all of our beers are all-natural and made with only the finest ingredients. We don’t take ourselves too seriously as our labels express and hey, beer should be fun! What we do take seriously is the quality of our beers, which we are sure you will enjoy.”
With their Lone Pine IPA, Sawdust is definitely a company that appreciates the wonder of creating something splendid from the natural … this is a beer that will delight those that love bitters in an IPA. While there is definitely “west coast” characteristics in this beer and by that I mean some tropical notes of grapefruit and orange zest and some passion fruit in there for good measure, this is a beer that is much more about the pine … hence the name. This isn’t a surprise with emphasis on the simcoe and chinook hops which are both renowned for the piney flavours and aromas — and the other hops just further emphasize the citrus and the grapefruit and orange in there as well.
This is beer that is delicious off the tongue: from beginning with a great mouthfeel, to the end, there is near perfect carbonation. The only thing this beer doesn’t entirely do with near perfection is at the ending where the earthiness of the hops prevails … and perhaps prevails a bit too much as it leaves me with a lightly astringent ending. Still, this too isn’t really a surprise because when you look at the light colour, you can see the malts are very much playing a supporting role … so at 65 IBUs and light malts, all that means is that the hop flavours don’t have much competition and so their song is their own — which in this case is pure classic rock. But it also means little in the way of sugars to balance the IBUs and balance that ending.
One final note: I bought this beer last year in bottle which I would do again … but it looks like Sawdust and the LCBO have moved to the more convenient can for distribution now. While I haven’t tried it (yet) if it is anything like the bottle, this is sure to be a staple in my fridge this summer.