Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Gluten-Free Beer : AB Redbridge (Nick's Review)

Isn't that a fine looking beer (gluten-free beer or otherwise)? I have to give credit to Anheuser-Busch, Inc., Brewers of Redbridge Beer in St. Louis MO, and in particular their Redbridge Beer website home page creative team, since I adapted a snapshot of their promotional picture to show here.

[by Nick - guest gluten-free blog author]

The picture certainly is nice, but how does this beer hold up to a taste test? We are about to find out.

Note: this is a continuation in my gluten-free and wheat-free beer comparison and evaluation series that started the other day with a review of Sprecher Shakparo gluten-free beer, which was my first hands-on experience with GF beer. Now it is time to compare and contrast the AB Redbridge beer...

GF BEERS: The Plot, uh – I mean the ‘Head’, Thickens
Well folks, I just cleansed my pallet with a little bit of parsley that Mike had in the ol’ fridge and I must say that, upon pouring the latest GF beer in the mug, it appears that it could be another winner.

Yes, I’m typing and drinking at the same time, but rest assured I’m cruising the web at a safe speed. This latest sampling of a GF beer is unique in the sense that I now have something to compare it to, and that’s the Shakparo beer (Sprecher product) that I enjoyed perhaps a half hour earlier.

I know all you GF fans out there are probably dying to hear my take on this latest gluten-free beer, especially given the fact that I have recently consumed "normal" beers, so here we go . . .

In summary, Redbridge, which is brewed by Anheuser-Busch, is a pretty darn good beer. In fact, I would like to call it rather refreshing, insofar as it could easily be mistaken for a non GF beer. Really? Uh, no kidding! For those of you that enjoy lighter beers with plenty of taste and a crisp finish - - this one is for you!

Upon pouring the Redbridge into a glass, the head erupted into a pillowing top of creamy goodness that hid the underlying, lightly colored amber brew. The Shakparo hadn’t nearly the same size head; in fact, it was quite diminutive in size compared to this little gem of a GF beer.

The smell: Redbridge is reminiscent of a hoppy beer such as a Sierra Nevada (a "real" - non GF beer I have enjoyed), but slightly mellower. With all due respect, these two GF beers (Shakparo and Redbridge) both smell wonderful and have two distinctly different aromas that each satisfy in their own unique way.

Now, onto the flavor. Well, if you enjoy a good glass of GF beer or the non-GF variety, you’re in for a treat. This beer could fool most beer drinkers, as it could easily pass for very hoppy-smelling ale that has the ever slightest amber hue – yet it is crisp, leaves little to no aftertaste and really goes down easy. I could see myself enjoying a few of these!

Compare/Contrast: Redbridge vs. Shakparo
So, to reiterate a bit from my previous beer review, if you like a bolder, more intense flavored beer that is rich in amber color, aroma and taste – the Sprecher product (Shakparo) will definitely do the trick. This beer is beautifully crafted and can tend to be a bit heavy, so be careful with how much you imbibe. On the other hand, the Redbridge is much lighter, refreshing and crisp on the pallet and has a wonderful aroma that definitely keeps the nose pleasantly preoccupied while you enjoy each refreshing sip.

So, which beer would you enjoy the most? Well, I must say that after enjoying a glass of Shakparo and Redbridge – the latter beer, or the Redbridge, takes the cake in my book. This beer offers plenty of aroma, color and crisp flavor that leaves the pallet clean and beckoning for another sip. If you like beer, definitely pick up a four-pack of the Shakparo and a ‘sixer’ of the Redbridge because you can’t go wrong with these GF products.

Both pack plenty of flavor and each has its own distinct attitude. Happy gluten-free beer drinking! Celiacs are not missing much thanks to beers like this on the market.

Next up in the series: perhaps Bard's Tale, Green's Endeavor, and a few others. Coming soon...


Peter said...

A real advantage of Redbridge beer is that a lot of restaurants in my area carry it. So I can have a beer with dinner when I go out with friends :-)

~Melissa said...

Oh yuck, I almost cringed when you started comparing it to Sierra Nevada beer. Redbridge is the worst GF beer I have had. It reminds me too much of what I call Cheerleader beer. I always preferred the small microbreweries before I had to go GF. I still want to try Sprecher, but haven't found it. I tried a couple stores here in the Twin Cities and a couple in Hudson WI. My favorite GF beers are Bards Tale Beer and New Grist. Thanks for writing a great blog though. It just shows, everyone has different tastes!


Anonymous said...

My first experience with GF beer was Bards Tale and I was thrilled after 2 years of involutary beerlessness. Then my father-in-law showed up with Redbridge and I was excited to have another option. It was awful! Bards Tale wasn't cheap though at $50-$60/case. In a moment of desperation I gave Redbridge a second chance...and loved it! Turns out my first experience was with a case that must have been skunked. Now, not only is it my GF beer of choice but it's significantly less expensive than Bards. We have to be careful buying by the case b/c the GF beer tends to sit around awhile. Talk to your distributor and he'll usually take care of you. Good luck fellow celiacs!

Scott-TheBrewClub said...

My first GF beer was the Redbridge, and I thought it was certainly a decent brew. As Peter mentioned, its likely going to be the easiest GF beer to find, even if it isn't the best.
Last week I tried the Bard's Tale GF beer and thought it was better than Redbride in just about every way. At least there are more and more options!

Anonymous said...

O.k. I can tell you from a canadian point of view. The GF beer available here is les misserauge (spelled something like that) which I don't care to know.... is Horrid. Then I had Redbridge, no comparrison, it's the best to non GF beers. I have tried the Bards Tale ale and it is very similar to the les messarauge, which I say do not waste your money on. I would just do anything to have the Redbridge closer, rather than driving to the states just for a beer run, however it is worth every sip!!!!