Left Hand Brewing was originally incorporated as Indian Peaks Brewing Co. in September of 1993. The excitement of a new brewery adventure hit a snag quickly when a conflict of interest surrounding the brewery name surfaced. Indian Peaks was being used by another brewery for a beer style. Not wanting to start off on the wrong foot, the name was changed to Left Hand, in honor of Chief Niwot, whose tribe wintered in the local area. The name Left Hand is derived from the southern Arapahoe word niwot meaning left hand.
Doors to the business were opened in January 1994 and the first beer, Sawtooth Ale, was introduced. In 1998, it merged with Tabernash Brewing from Denver, which financially benefitted both entities.
Fast forward to 2010, and Left Hand had a 30 percent growth from previous years and in 2012, they made the Brewer’s Association’s Top 50 Craft Brewers List. Since its beginning in 1993, Left Hand has garnered 27 medals at the Great American Beer Festival, nine World Cup beer awards, nine European Beer Star awards and a growing, loyal customer base in 36 states, Europe and Japan.
Today, I have the priviledge of trying the Wake Up Dead Russian Imperial Stout, a 10.2 percent ABV brew coming in at 45 IBUs.
Poured from a 22-ounce bottle, the color is a dark chocolate brown with touches of mahogany around the extreme edges and a solid two fingers of tan head. Aromas are light with roasted coffee, malts, grains and some dark fruits including raisins and dates.
Taste is as expected with milk and bittersweet chocolate, heavy sweet malt, coffee, raisins and some hop bitterness on the end. Alcohol is well hidden and carbonation is good for the style. Mouth feel is chewy with a good amount of roasted malts but still has a slight watered down feel, albeit not detracting greatly from the overall taste. Balance is good, but as the beer warms, some of the flavors seem slightly subdued. Finish is slightly bitter on the finish, and unfortunately as the beer warms, a good portion of the flavors seem to make an early exit, leaving you wanting a little more.