FeaturesJun/Jul 2012 Issue

Cheers!

Pull up a barstool. We sample some new entrants in the growing gluten-free beer market.

Bard’s Tale

Made by Bard’s Tale Beer Company, Bard’s Tale is one of the first gluten-free microbrews in the United States to have widespread distribution. (The company was founded by two celiac beer lovers.) Called the Original Sorghum Malt Beer, Bard’s Tale has cultivated a loyal following among celiacs and lager connoisseurs alike. Malty with a floral, bitter finish. (4.6% ABV*)

Daura

One of the best known of the “de-glutenized” beers, Daura is historic Estrella Damm’s newest brew. (The Spanish brewery was founded in 1876.) Since its introduction, this gluten-free beer has been racking up medals around the world. It’s an easy-drinking, light-bodied lager with broad palate appeal. (5.4% ABV)

Photo ©  Jules E. Dowler Shepard

Photo © Jules E. Dowler Shepard

G-Free

This British brew from St. Peter’s wins for most unique bottle. G-Free is made in the style of a German Pilsner Lager—crisp, dry and bitter but not hoppy like an India Pale Ale. The sorghum taste comes through on the finish. Launched in 2007, G-Free is still tough to find in the United States but you can ask your favorite store to carry it for you. It’s pricey, however, costing nearly $11 a bottle at some retail outlets. (4.2% ABV)

Green’s Gluten-Free Beer

This line of gluten-free Belgian ales has been brewed since 2004 at the highly-respected DeProef Brewery in Lochristi, Belgium. They’re made in the style of traditional ales but with gluten-free ingredients like millet, sorghum, buckwheat, rice and hops. Although the line includes many different beers, only three are imported to the United States at this time.

Quest Tripel Blond Ale is tangy, crisp and nicely bitter with a hint of orange, strawberry and clove. It scored a gold medal at the 2011 World Beer Championships. Medium-bodied but light enough to use in recipes like Beer Batter Tempura. (8.5% ABV)

Discovery Amber is exceedingly drinkable with a nutty marmalade finish. Vegetarian Times gave it top billing at its 2011 Foodie Awards. (6.0% ABV)

Dubbel Dark is lighter than a Guinness, but rich with soft toffee overtones that provide a wonderful accent in chocolate desserts. (7.0% ABV)

Honey Beer

If you’re in need of a Kosher-certified beer (even certified Kosher for Passover), Ramapo Valley Brewery’s gluten-free Honey Beer fits the bill. Fermented with amber honey, molasses and Noble hops, it delivers a balance of sweet and bitter. (5.2% ABV)

New Grist

This gluten-free brew by Milwaukee’s Lakefront Brewery is made with sorghum, hops, water, rice and gluten-free yeast (grown on molasses). It’s a highly carbonated, cider-like, fruity brew with an aroma of apples, lemon and yeast. (5.7% ABV)

New Planet

Pedro and Seneca Gonzalez started New Planet brewery in Colorado four years ago after Pedro’s diagnosis with celiac disease. They currently offer three quite different beers. 3R Raspberry Ale is a fruity, effervescent brew made with natural raspberry puree and orange peel. Tread Lightly Ale is a light-bodied, lower-calorie Blond Pilsner slightly reminiscent of hard cider. Off Grid Pale Ale is a crisp, caramel-colored, hoppy American pale ale. (All 5% ABV)

Redbridge

A member of the Anheuser-Busch family, this sorghum-based beer tastes lighter and slightly sweeter than suds made with traditional wheat or barley. It’s crisp and refreshing—perfect for watching football or kicking back—and it’s the least expensive gluten-free beer of the bunch. (4.8% ABV)

Steadfast Ale

A brand new craft beer company out of Albany, New York, Steadfast Beer Company’s first release is in true IPA style (think Sam Adams). It has a respectable bite. At 40 International Bittering Units (IBU), it’s well within the pale ale range for bitterness. (6.8% ABV)

The Glutenator

This beer from Epic Brewing Company is brand new. A surprising base of sweet potato and molasses makes it an unusual but welcome newcomer. It boasts a light head and plenty of flavor rounded out by millet, brown rice and American hops (no sorghum). (5.3% ABV)

Toleration Gluten and Wheat Free Ale (GFA)

Nick Stafford’s gluten-free beer (the ale is currently imported to the United States; a lager is available in the UK) was launched in 2005 under the Hambleton Ale label. This is the first British-brewed beer of its type: a full-bodied ale with fruit, hops and citrus flavors blended into a beer that doesn’t come off sweet, like many other gluten-free incarnations. (4.8% ABV)

T’weason Ale

The well-loved Dogfish Head brewery in Delaware has branched out this year with T’weason Ale, its first gluten-free formula. (It’s officially certified GF.) This is a refreshing brew to grab on a hot summer day. Light and sweet-ened with notes of strawberry, it calls to mind traditional mead. (6.0% ABV)

*Alcohol by Volume

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