For alcoholics masquerading as hobbyists, summertime means fruit beer, rosés, and sweating before you get to your third drink, especially if you’re a lady. Glutarded women can partake in the fruit beer category as well, thanks to New Planet’s 3R Raspberry Ale, a sorghum-based fruit beer out of Colorado.
In 2010, 3R won bronze in the gluten free category at the Great American Beer Festival, so I had high hopes for this beer. I purchased a single, which poured a golden amber color with a salmon tone. I had been previously told by a fellow gluten free beer drinker that it poured “strong red in color,” so I’m not sure if this beer is inconsistent or if my friend is color blind. Either way, the bottle I had was definitely not red.
3R has strong berry aromas and a slightly malty smell. It had little to no head retention and on the tongue, felt fairly crisp. The raspberry flavor was present up front and subtle in the middle, with the ale mostly tasting of sorghum and corn. What ever flavors one may find displeasing while drinking are largely outweighed by the overwhelmingly strong sorghum aftertaste, an issue that is present with many sorghum based beers.
Sorghum has a slightly tart, bitter taste that does not suit beer well. It lingers and more often than not, ruins whatever enjoyment I find in drinking gluten free beers. Some argue that the taste is not offensive, but to this beer drinker that’s the only word I have for it. It’s off putting, it makes my mouth pucker and it motivates me to put other things in my mouth to remove the taste.
The sour-bitter flavor profile offered by sorghum does tend to suit fruit beers and similar styles better than most other ales, and in the midst of a swallow 3R tastes alright. The crispness is refreshing and the fruity start gets a palate pretty excited, even if it disappointed mine at the finish.
3R stands up to other gluten free beers well — but that’s not saying much. It’s a couple of dollars cheaper than the adorably packaged and super delicious Dogfish Head ‘Tweason’ale, so if you’re broke (like me) and looking for something to drown your glutard sorrows in (like me) then it’s definitely an option.
Find New Planet’s 3R Raspberry Ale in Columbus at Gentile’s, Weiland’s and Whole Foods