Gluten free seems to be the new craze these days –even for those who don’t have Celiacs Disease –an intolerance to gluten.
Beer lovers who once struggled to find options now have a bevy of choices as brewers are meeting consumer demands.
We sat down and tried six different gluten-free beers to give you an honest option on taste. Here they are, in no particular order.
1. Dogfish Head’s Tweason Ale
Dogfish Head replaces the barley with a sorghum base to create this gluten-free beer. The ale goes down easy and is light and bubbly –almost like drinking a spritzer or shandy. Made with fresh strawberries and honey, it has a strawberry Jolly Rancher taste and smell, but don’t let it fool you: It still has 6 percent alcohol by volume (ABV). For anyone afraid of venturing into beer land, this would be a great first start --and gives you the feeling of summer.
2. Lakefront New Grist
New Grist is brewed without wheat or barley and is made instead from sorghum, rice, hops, water and yeast. This is a summery, pilsner-style beer with hints of apple and fruit. And at an ABV of just 5 percent, it is easy to drink. Ironically, it reminds me of drinking the wheat beer Hoegaarden. I would recommend for those looking for a lighter beer.
3. New Planet Blonde Ale
New Planet brews its beer with sorghum, brown rice, orange peel, hops and yeast. The Blonde Ale has a beautiful golden hue and tastes like banana with hints of lemon. It’s a nice light beer, with 5 percent ABV. Towards the end, there’s a hoppy bite that not all drinkers may find pleasant. All in all, it is definitely something to try.
4. Harvester Brewing IPA No.1
Harvester Brewing in Portland, Oregon, makes only gluten-free brews. Like many of its beers, the IPA is made from certified gluten-free oats –but uses pale roasted chestnuts and Horizon, Willamette, Cascade and Meridian hops in this IPA to give it its distinct flavor. With a 5.8 percent ABV, it has a golden color with a flowery taste and smell –rather than the hoppy taste you get in a traditional IPA, which may turn off some purists.
5. Bard’s Original Sorghum Malt Beer
Bard’s is brewed with 100 percent malted sorghum and contains no wheat, barley, rye or oats. Bard’s is a malt-flavored larger-style beer. It has a beautiful golden hue and aromas of cinder and honey. And at a modest 4.6 percent ABV, it doesn’t pack a punch. Yet, its tangy aftertaste can be a turn off. It seemed to get lost in the crowd of other beers that had more distinct flavor.
6. Omission IPA
Unlike other gluten-free beers, Omission IPA is brewed with barley, which contains gluten. The gluten is later removed in the bottling process, and each brew contains fewer than 20 parts per million of gluten-- which meets the FDA standard for labeling a product to be safe for persons with gluten allergies. Omission cannot use the term gluten-free on its labels and those with gluten allergies should know that there are small amounts of gluten in it. But in terms of taste, it would be hard for a regular beer drinker to know the difference between this and those with gluten. Like a traditional IPA, it’s bitter, with bright citrus notes. It is made with Summit and Cascade hops, giving it a distinct hoppy flavor, but it is balanced and smooth. This was my favorite of the group. They also have a lager, which is just a good as their IPA.