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Friday, March 23, 2012

No wheat, no barley, no beer? Part 3: Skye's Verdict

After hearing about Rudy's experience I must admit that I was hesitant about tasting the beers I had selected. I picked up all the gluten free imports I could find at my local Total Wine and was given a bonus bottle by my brother Cody. 

The results!

St. Peter's Sorgham Beer
I'd heard good things about St. Peter's Brewery so I was excited for this beer. It poured a clear golden color with little head. This is labeled a pilsner but it didn't have the crisp bite I would have expected. Instead it seemed a bit flat, and it was light on the carbonation. It drank smooth but had a very long bitter aftertaste and it reminded me of sipping my dad's beer when I was a kid, I immediately had a negative reaction to it. I didn't like it, and was slightly taken a back by that. The taste was off but I'm going to chalk that up to my misplaced expectations and that I may have had a bad bottle. I did not have the opportunity to try another one of these but I will drink another and update accordingly. It comes in at an ABV 4.2. 

If your beer has to be gluten-free then
I recommend these
The other three that I had bought were all brewed by Green's Brewery which makes a range of gluten-free beers, but only a few are available in North America. 

Green's Discovery Amber Ale
This poured a nice clear amber color, with a decent light tan head that stuck around a bit with some lacing glomming to the side of the glass. The taste was sweet and light with a decent carbonation. It had a crisp bite to it. Overall this was rather refreshing, it had a slight bitterness in the aftertaste but it cleared off the palate quickly. It is lighter than I expected, with little alcohol taste though it comes in at a 6.5% ABV. This is a solid go to beer.

Green's Endeavour Dubbel Dark Ale
This was intriguing. It poured a clear dark brown color with a tannish head. It had a distinct cidery sweet taste to it, good carbonation, and a pleasant bite. This cleared off the palate incredibly quick leaving a dryness in the mouth. It may be a dark beer but it is not the least bit heavy. It has some heft to it in the alcohol department coming in at 7% ABV. It doesn't have the complexity of other dubbels but it is not just an imitation of one either.  This was a good beer.

Green's Quest Tripel Blonde Ale

I found this to be very good. It poured clear and golden with a puffy white head It had some good fruitiness in the taste, a little sweet, with good carbonation and smoothness. That gave way to an aftertaste that was tart and slightly barnyardish, similar to a biere de garde, but not as grassy. It lasted for a bit slowly giving way to a dryness of the mouth. The Tripel was the only one where the alcohol was apparent while you were drinking it. It wasn't overpowering in the taste, but you could tell it was there. While that is true it is also deceptive this beer packs some punch coming in at a bold 8.5% ABV. Hands down this was the best of the lot and I will drink this one again. I would also recommend it to all beer drinkers.  

Bonus bottle!

Dogfish Head Tweason'ale 

First recommendation, take a big whiff of the beer as you pour it. This beer smells fantastic. It is one of the best smelling beers I have encountered recently. It poured a clear dark gold with minimal head. It was light in taste, with not a lot of body, but good carbonation and a smooth drink. The strawberry taste is evident immediately while the honey rides along in the background. The fruit taste turns into a slight bitterness in the aftertaste. Overall this reminds more of a crisp type of mead. The fruit taste in it is a definite change of pace from the other gluten free beers that were tried. It comes in at 6% ABV but alcohol is masked well. I get think this would be decent on a hot summer day and while I am not quite sold on it I would gladly drink another if offered it. 

Final thoughts.

The hardest part of these tastings was getting over my expectations and approaching the beer with a fresh perspective. The truth behind some of these beers is that they are not new things at all, brewers over the last 10,000 years have been brewing with all sorts of things including the ingredients found in gluten free beers. The new thing is the beers we tried are being brewed for a specific reason now. We talk a lot about the three tenets around here and these tastings were a good reminder of that. Somewhere, somebody is enjoying one of these to the fullest and that is a very good thing. An even better thing is that brewers are taking the time to brew beer that is challenging and rewarding for all people and that is worth celebrating. So while Rudy and I had our struggles doing these tastings we are both glad that we did them and we hope that some of our ramblings prove useful.  


  1. During the last year, my (celiac) wife and I have sampled more than a dozen gluten-free "beers". The only one we'd buy again was the Brunehaut Amber that we had last week.
    Being Belgian it is pricey, but it presents no noticeable flavor compromise. Last week, my Twitter stream said its available on draft. Hopefully that makes it more affordable.
    Bottom line : For whatever reason, those guys figured it out.

    1. I'm going to have to keep my eyes open for that. Rudy and I didn't use the greatest methodology when grabbing our selections. He grabbed what he could find in his small town and I grabbed what I could easily find here in DC.

      I think we will update this once I have a few more gluten free beers collected.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment!