There is a saying in Russian, “Beer is liquid bread.” This is especially true for those who don’t tolerate gluten. Most beers are made with wheat or barley – the offending grains. Gluten-free beers combine hops and yeast with alternative cereals – millet, rice, sorghum, buckwheat and corn.
This weekend I decided to try out a few of these gluten-free beers. I went to Liquor Mart, the biggest and oldest liquor store in Boulder. Although health food stores like Whole Foods have a liquor department, I thought Liquor Mart would have a better selection. Plus, it was closer. After failing to find it on my own, I asked a clerk. He showed me that their gluten free beers were split up between shelf and refrigerated sections, but always grouped together with organic beer. They had a robust selection of imports and domestics – St. Peter’s, Lake Front New Grist, Estrella Dam Daura, Bard’s Tale Dragon’s Gold. They also have a wide assortment of (naturally gluten-free) hard ciders. I went with the beers from Green’s and New Planet because they were clearly labeled as gluten free and there was a selection of flavors from each brand.
I love microbreweries and especially IPAs from Colorado, so I was attracted to New Planet’s Off Grid Pale Ale. Brewed in Fort Collins, this beer contains sorghum and brown rice extract, molasses, tapioca maltodextrin, caramel color, hops and yeast. Set me back $7.59 for a 4-pack. I was hoping for a rich, bitter IPA – my first impression was that it was watery and sour. It grew on me, but ultimately it tasted like a watered-down light beer at 5% ABV. Also available was New Planet’s 3R Raspberry Ale but I’m not into fruity beers.
Next I tried Green’s Quest Triple Blonde Ale. Green’s Beers are brewed in Belgium from millet, buckwheat, rice, sorghum, hops and yeast. They’re only available in 500 ml bottles – Liquor Mart had them for $6.49 each. Deeper than Off Grid, this beer was still light with sweet fruity hints and had the most alcohol – 8.5% ABV. I liked it so much I decided to try Green’s two other beers.
The following day I tried Green’s Discovery Amber Ale with 6% ABV. All of Green’s Beers make great head when poured in a glass – Discovery’s was very white. This beer was almost too bubbly. Goes great with oranges. I like dark beers, so it’s no surprise my favorite was Green’s Endeavour Dubbel Dark Ale. This beer produced a dark brown head and was rich, bitter and malty. With 7% ABV, this beer was the most satisfying. I’m fine with eating gluten, but Green’s Endeavour is so good I’m going to keep some at the house. Hopefully the Gluten Free labels will keep the roommates away!