I never know what to bring when my beer drinking friends invite me over. Ninety-nine percent of the time I opt for a five dollar bottle of wine and some story about how I’m glutarded and have ‘the poor’, so a flavorless, overly-tannic red blend is the best I can do. A few weekends ago though, I felt compelled to try and fit in. I decided to take beer–gluten free beer– and join in the carbonated, malty fun.
Hanging out with beer nerds is as annoying as it is entertaining when you can’t drink beer. I’m often told to “smell this,” and am allowed to experience delicious hop aroma but not to taste–beer teasing if you will. In an attempt to prevent this sad situation from occurring once more, I poured myself a glass of Bard’s Original Sorghum Malt beer and immediately shoved it in people’s faces. “Smell this!” I exclaimed while thrusting my glass aimlessly at every eye, nose, and ear combination I came across. “I don’t smell shit, but I’ll taste it,” was the first response I received.
Unsurprisingly, trying to capture hop aroma in a gluten free beer proved difficult two times more. This was the first time I had tried both the Bard’s and Green’s Triple Blonde Ale, and they both impressed me but again left a hophead wanting. Still, I would buy both of these beers again, which is high cotton from a skeptic of gluten free beers like myself.
Bard’s Tale Original Sorghum Malt Beer
Made with the utmost care and attention to detail regarding gluten free best practices, Bard’s is made with a proprietary malted sorghum blend, Halleratuer and Tettnang hops, German Lager yeast, and water–resulting in a basic gluten free beer with basic taste. Bard’s pours amber with a modest foamy head, and has a full bodied mouthfeel relative to other gluten free beers. The aroma is slightly floral but a little bland. It’s refreshing when it goes down, and offers slight hop bitterness with other spice and tartness that ebbs around the malty base. Finishes crisp, and has a slight aftertaste but nothing at all offensive–unlike most other beers made of sorghum. Lower ABV- around 4.6%.
Find Bard’s at Market District, Anderson’s, Weiland’s, Gentile’s, Whole Foods, Wine on High, Carabar, Dick’s Den, and a host of other places– various Giant Eagles have it from time to time, and most beer markets.
Green’s Gluten Free Tripel Blonde Ale
Made in Belgium by DeProef Brouwerij, Green’s Gluten Free Ales have a reputation for being mighty delicious. This poured a promising head with decent retention, is golden amber in color, and offers a yeasty and “green” aroma. The mouthfeel was lighter than Bard’s and much lighter than a normal Belgian Tripel, but still decent for a gluten free beer. The flavor was complex and favorable–offering hints of apple and pear with some citrus tartness, along with a malty finish. At 8.5% ABV you can definitely taste the alcohol, especially as it loses it’s chill. Drink this beer cold and quick and it should do you well.
Find Green’s Triple Blonde, along with their Dubbel and Amber beers at Weiland’s, Market District, and Anderson’s. Gentile’s will carry it upon request, and various bars carry it from time to time.