A few weeks ago, my sister and her husband came to stay with us for a few days. We were celebrating the birth of our daughter, Lucy, and decided to have a gluten free beer tasting to go along with our gluten free pizza. Mary and I are pretty much used to drinking gluten free beer now, but we were curious what Elizabeth and Greg’s reaction would be to trying some GF beers for the first time. Neither of them are gluten free, and they both like to drink beer, so we decided to try several different gluten free beers to see what we all thought of each one.
Here is the gluten free beer list from our tasting:
After tasting each beer, we took a vote and here are the results from our beer tasting:
The overall winner, Redbridge received high votes from everyone – ladies and guys, gluten free eaters and gluten eaters. I can also say that Redbridge is the best gluten free beer that I’ve had. It goes great with food or just by itself. Gluten free beers, as a whole, are generally a bit darker than the most popular “regular” beers, and this can take some people by surprise, especially if they’re used to drinking domestics like MGD, Bud Light and Coors Light. Redbridge is definitely more full-bodied than most regular beers, but it’s also a good bit lighter than a lot of gluten free beers. If you’re new to gluten free beer, I definitely recommend giving Redbridge a try. Final Vote = 9/10
Hornsby’s, while not technically a beer, was a great addition to our beer tasting. It’s light and sweet and makes a great summer drink for those really hot days. Horrnsby’s was rated the highest by the ladies, and was also rated well by the guys. If you’re not a big beer drinker or if you don’t like the dark taste of most gluten free beer, give Hornsby’s or another hard cider a try. I bet you’ll find that you like it. Final Vote = 8/10
Note: Hornsby’s Cider does not say gluten free on the bottle, but the company does claim that it is gluten free. We’ve never noticed any problems from drinking it.
Bard’s beer finished in the middle of the pack at our beer tasting. It was rated medium-high by the guys and medium by the ladies. Bard’s definitely has a strong taste to it that can take you by surprise if you’re not accustomed to gluten free beer, but if you’re a beer aficionado you’ll probably like it. The taste is a little too strong for me to drink it by itself, but it does go very well with food. Final Vote = 6/10
Shakparo was definitely an interesting beer. In fact, that was just about everyone’s reaction when they took their first sip: “Wow… that’s interesting”. Shakparo was initially rated medium by the guys and low by the girls, but the more I drank of it the lower my vote got. It had a very unique taste to it that I liked at first – it’s an African brew and it had some prominent fruity undertones – but the more I drank of it, the more I began to notice a very bitter medicine-y aftertaste. After I finished one cup of it, I really couldn’t drink anymore because the aftertaste was so strong. I can’t recommend Shakparo to anyone except the most hardcore of beer drinkers, but if you want to give it a shot, be sure and let me know what you thought of it. Final Vote = 3/10
I heard about a new gluten free beer today called Omission Beer that is made by Widmer Bro’s Brewing Company. It comes in two flavors – a lager and a pale ale.
What’s interesting about Omission is that it is brewed with traditional beer ingredients, including barley malt. Other GF beers are generally brewed with sorghum (like Redbridge) or another gluten free ingredient like rice. Widmer Bro’s uses a proprietary process to remove the gluten from the beer, and tests each batch they brew – using the R5 Competive ELISA test – to make sure it contains less than 20 ppm of gluten.
You can even go to Omission’s website, put in the date on your bottle of beer, and view the results from the test that your batch of beer underwent. That’s pretty awesome. I put in March 2, 2012 (as that’s the example they give) and the test results showed less than 5 ppm of gluten (which if I’m not mistaken is the current limit of gluten tests).
Omission Beer is going to be released nationally (in fact, it may already be out) so hopefully we’ll come across it at some point and be able to sample one or two.
So there are the results of our gluten free beer tasting. Let us know in the comments if there are any other good GF beers that we should try. We’d love to find some new favorites.