Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Gluten-Free Beer : Sprecher Shakparo (Nick's Review)

[Mike] I reviewed this Sprecher Shakparo gluten-free beer back in May of this year (2009), and thought it would be nice to get another person's opinion of the product. When I reviewed it, I just did not have the recent experience with "real beer" (i.e., the standard wheat and barley malt containing formulas) to adequately describe how gluten-free beer(s) compare to regular beer.

So, our guest gluten-free blogger Nick Pacione is now going to share his insights and opinions of Sprecher Shakparo gluten-free / wheat-free beer, and he will followup in the coming days with reviews of Anheuser Busch (AB) RedBridge as well as Green's Discovery and perhaps a couple more (depending what we can locate at local markets for review).

One thing you will quickly notice is that Nick writes in a completely different style than I do, and he lets his personality and passion for creative writing show quite a bit. I hope all you readers enjoy Nick's style and presentation as he contributes some gluten-free product reviews to this blog...

[Nick - guest gluten-free blog author]

GF Beers: Shakparo vs. Redbridge and others
Ah, the special relationship between man and his beer has been around for countless ages. When one thinks of beer, what typically comes to mind? Well, one thing that doesn’t come to mind (at least for me) is ‘gluten-free’ beer products.

Upon drinking my first GF beer this evening (Sprecher Shakparo), I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of aroma, flavor and body that has otherwise – to this very evening – eluded me.

Recently, Mike E. asked me to sample two of his favorite GF beers and blog about them. Well, I really didn’t know what to expect after popping the tops of these two beauties (Shakparo and Redbridge), but what I found was an incredible amount of color, aroma and flavor that you would typically find in more top-of-the-line, non GF micro-brewed beers.

For starters I sampled the Shakparo Ale, which is naturally brewed from sorghum and millet. Upon pouring this beer into my glass, what struck me almost immediately was its beautiful color and powerful, yet pleasing aroma, which – to my surprise – smelled just like a spicy, pumpkin ale. Having sampled my fair share of finely crafted beers in the past, I can tell you that this beer impressed me in more than one way.

First, the color is just beautiful, which mimicked your typical pumpkin-like ale – with its beautiful deep, amber hues. Subsequently, the aroma was very similar to pumpkin ale – and had quite a strong, thick aroma.

How’s the flavor? Well, upon taking the first sip, the head mellowed, the aroma was pleasant and the flavor was – to my very surprise – fantastic. The beer leaves a fairly strong aftertaste but don’t let this discourage you because it’s something which your taste buds are prepared for . . . the residue isn’t too strong or overpowering; rather, it leaves an ironic freshness to your breath that most beer drinkers would find surprising. If you’re picky, this could be a deal breaker, but for the most part, the aftertaste is quite refreshing, if you can believe that.

All in all, Shakparo is a very tasty beer and I must say that for my first GF beer experience, I was more than impressed: I was elated that there is something out there for people with Celiac Disease or who, for whatever reason, are allergic or hyper-sensitive to gluten.

I give the Sprecher Shakparo two thumbs up!

Ah, but wait! What is this? Another GF beer to sample (AB RedBridge)? Hmmmmm. Do I hear a taste-test and comparison coming? Stay tuned . . .


Anonymous said...

I've had that beer before and it's fantastic. It's pretty strong-flavored, as the author mentioned but I really like it. It tastes just like normal beer!

Anonymous said...

Hi I have just found your blog.
Love it! After suffering many years (26)with so called dermatitis,(last 2 years with hypothyroidism) and recently extreme reactions to beer,hot dogs at ball parks,pizza and various other foods (diarrhea like for 24 hours or more) I finally have found the connection. I asked the dermatologist last visit about celiac and of course was told no way. So for the last two months I have changed my diet and guess what my skin has almost disappeared completely and I don't feel that underlying itch throughout my body like before. Also had my labs drawn for my routine thyroid test and guess what I need my medicine dose lowered. I am feeling amazingly great! So my reason for this long comment is ~ are the entrolabs you've written about a reliable source to be diagnosed? I am gun shy to ask my family dr about the celiac when I see her in a few weeks because of the other mds response. I thought I would do the entrolabs test and take them with me to my appt armed with backup. Thanks in advance and what a wonderful resource your blog. Cant wait to try this new beer.

Scott-TheBrewClub said...

Nice review, I'd love to read a comparison to Redbridge. I don't have any dietary restrictions, and I found the Redbridge to be decent. Not great, but not bad either.

Mike Eberhart said...

Anonymous: glad you enjoyed Shakparo like we here at the gluten-free blog do!

Anon#2: thanks for sharing the experience, and I am so glad you skin is better and everything! Awesome.

Scott: Stay tuned... Nick is doing the AB RedBridge review later today I think! [mike]

Buford Gooch said...

Bard's Tale Brewery makes a gluten free beer which was called Dragon's Gold, but is now just called Bard's. It is a milder flavor, and my wife's favorite. If you are looking for full bodied, this isn't it. If you are just looking for a smooth beer, you should try it.

Mike Eberhart said...

[Mike E. responding]

Funny you should mention Bard's, as Nick is planning a review of that gluten-free beer in the coming days.

And, in a prior post here on the Gluten-Free Blog, I reviewed Bard's Tale and really liked it. See the original post (back in September, 2006) of gluten-free beer comparisons (link).

I have not had it in a while, but I do have a 6-pack in the fridge now awaiting Nick's review, so I will be sure to try it again for a taste-bud reminder event. :)

Anonymous said...

I don't have Celiac Disease, but do have a friend that does. I enjoyed reading about the gluten-free beers, but has anyone tried a gf vodka? I've found one called CooranBong Vokda. It's made in Australia from grapes, very smooth.

Just in case you're looking for a spirit.

Todd said...

This is awesome. I'm going to find some more beers like this and add them to my recipe list.