Hand's on Review of some Gluten-Free BeersOne thing I missed after going gluten-free was the ability to have an occasional beer. I rarely drank beer, but found it enjoyable to have one after mowing the lawn on a hot day. My preferred beer of choice in the old days would be something like a Guinness Stout or a similarly full-flavored beer. I would opt for a lighter beer once in a while too - perhaps an Amstel Light or St. Pauli Girl. These were all pretty good options.
Now, since going gluten free, I long for conventional beer especially when I watch my wife have one... feeling a weakness to sip it, though I dare not. But finally, along came some recent gluten free sorghum beers, some of which I have tried over the past few months. I started with the first one I could get my hands on around here: Lakefront New Grist's Sorghum Beer. Quite honestly, I find it much better for using in my onion ring batter, pulled pork/chicken recipes, and some other things. It does not have much flavor, and what it does have is a bit harsh in my opinion. I came across some beer-rating sites on the web that gave it 8/100 (i.e., 8th percentile rating). That tells the story rather well.
My newest find is Bard's Tale Dragons Gold sorghum beer, which on the rate beer web site scored in the 17th percentile. Note: we did a deeper product review of Bards Gluten Free Beer in this blog entry.
I picked up a 6-pack at Wild Oats last week, and just now opened a nice chilled one. My initial impression: WOW! This Bard's Tale is actually pretty decent tasting beer! That 17th percentile (compared to ALL beers), just does not tell the whole story about this Bard's gluten free sorghum beer. Bard's Tale beer is brewing this with a malted-sorghum (malted referring to the malting process; not the use of malted barley which of course would cause it to be non-GF). The results are spectacular - the beer has plenty of flavor and a decent aftertaste, done in a light American Lager style. I will not be using this for my baking; I will drink it.
The comparison to the New Grist is simple: Bard's Tale Beer Dragons Gold is so far above and beyond, easily the double that the percentile rankings of each beer would imply (8th percentile for New Grist, vs. 17th for Bard's Tale - a full double and then some).
The only down-side is PRICE — yes, it is expensive. $11.00/6-pack at Wild Oats. Rough, but worth it if you really want a decent tasting beer. For me, it is a no-brainer keeping this on hand for times when I have a craving. I so rarely drink beer anyhow, it'll only cost me a couple bucks a month.
And, as a final teaser: I have talked to Bard's, and they are working on a followup beer or two that should a god send those of us who like a darker beer. To quote them: "Our company does have plans to come out with Stout or a Porter in the next 18 months."
Woohooo!! I am looking forward to that!
This is great news on all accounts: the more companies that raise the bar for a gluten free product (be it gluten-free beer or some other food product), the better for all with Celiac Disease. Competition yields better products! And, we benefit from this.
Footnotes: Malting is a process applied to cereal grains, in which the grains are made to germinate and then are quickly dried before the plant develops
Continue to read this Gluten-Free Blog for all sorts of gluten-free recipes, product-reviews, and related information. In addition, visit my Gluten-Free Recipes Site where many of the recipes I have featured on this blog are available.