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Thursday, April 29, 2010
Serious Beer: Gluten Free Options
I really like the Serious Eats NY website, so I was pleasantly surprised when this came up in my RSS Feed today. When I first tell people that I can't have gluten, I have my usual list of "can't haves" that I run down. I always put beer close to the top of the list because people seem shocked that you can't drink beer. I can't really keep beer on my list for long if manufacturers keep adding gluten-free options to my drinking menu. Of course, you still can't walk into your average bar and buy a gluten-free beer but the options are seriously expanding.



Serious Beer: Gluten Free Options

If you were recently diagnosed with celiac disease, you may be wondering if your last beer was...well, your last. If you're a host to guests who can't eat wheat or barley, you may be curious about what sorghum beer tastes like. And if you're a restaurant, store, or bar owner, you may wonder if any gluten-free beer could be worth having in stock.

We tried every gluten-free beer we could get our hands on, and the news is good: plenty of them are tasty and drinkable. While none of these are our new favorite brews, they're far better than we feared.

Please note, all of these beers were labeled "gluten free" in our local store, and to the best of our knowledge, they are safe for celiacs. You may want to do further research for safety's sake.

Our Favorite Gluten-Free Beers
Our favorite of the bunch was St. Peter's Sorghum Beer from the UK. It's a solid Pilsner-style lager that will appear to fans of Grolsch. It's crisp and dry, with good body and hints of bay leaf and lemon peel. It would be great with bratwurst, but it's clean-tasting enough to drink on its own.

We usually don't raise our glasses to brewing giant Anheuser-Busch, but their Redbridge lager is surprisingly nice. It's a crisp, refreshing wheat- and barley-free substitute for Yuengling or the like, with only a hint of the sourness that is common in sorghum beers.

Recommended with Reservations
Green's Discovery Amber Ale isn't like an American Amber—it's fruity and tangy, with orange marmalade flavors and a slightly harsh bitter dryness. We bet this would be good with barbecue chicken. The entire Green's line is a bit pricey at $5-7 a bottle, though.

Green's Quest Tripel Ale is crisp and a little grassy, with notes of tart raspberry, orange peel, and cloves. It's pretty drinkable for 8.5% alcohol, but as it warms, the bitter finish gets a bit harsh.

Green's Endeavour Dubbel is much lighter than most dubbels we've tried, and quite carbonated. It reminded us of rum-raisin desserts and cherry soda—pretty tasty, but it might not satisfy a craving for beer.

Skippable
Bard's Gold has a toasty rye-bread-like flavor and a little more body than the St. Peters and the Redbridge, but after an initial burst of malty flavor, it tastes a little like a copper penny. The bitter finish was a bit off-putting to most of our tasters.

A sweet-tart sourness distinguishes New Grist from the rest. It's a little yeasty, and while it's crisp, we didn't find it as drinkable as the options above.

Disclosure: The Bard's Gold was a review sample.

This article was posted on April 22, 2010 by Maggie Hoffman.

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