Episode #101: Gluten Free Beer

Gluten free beers are hotter than ever, with a slew of new brews on the market. Chris and Margaret try to determine if any of them are worth drinking.

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Breweries and Beers

tootiLakefront New Grist
Lakefront New Grist
tooti Estrella Daura
Estrella Daura
tooti Two Brothers Prairie Path
Two Brothers Prairie Path
tooti Dogfish Head Tweason'ale
Dogfish Head Tweason'ale

Comments 12 

  1. From "Jeff Smith" :

    I ran across this article last evening discussing two new gluten free beers from Widmer Brothers that actually use barley rather than sorghum or rice as the base. Unfortunately it looks as though distribution is limited to Oregon at this point.

  2. From "Margaret" :

    BTW- I noticed that we wrote Lakeview New Grist instead of Lakefront New Grist in the on-screen graphic. Lakeview is our neighborhood… oops! Sorry for the typo, folks!

  3. From "castello" :

    Loving the Daura and I didn’t even know it was gluten free till recently. Careful about putting ideas in your wife’s head about oxidation etc. The power of suggestion, as you know, is very powerful. Paper!? Where on the bottle does it say gluten free? You’d better try it again! I’ve never had a bad one but then again I like skunky green bottle beer.

  4. From "Scott Linham" :

    Hey, guys! Thanks for the GF episode. My wife is GF and loves to watch your show with me and hates that she can’t try any of the regular beers (though she loves to smell them and longs for the taste). We’ve tried Tweasonale and she kind of liked it and I just couldn’t get past that horrible (sorghum?) aftertaste Margaret kept picking up.

    I just picked up 3 new GF beers for her…ummm, us *crinkle nose*…to try that just arrived in VA. Tread Lightly Ale, Off Grid Pale Ale, and 3R Raspberry Ale all from New Planet Brewing. We’ll see…

    P.S. We’ve both been wondering if the orange ‘dump’ bowl you use is from the Mario Batali collection. Looks like some we have. “They notice everything!”

  5. From "Margaret" :

    Hi Scott, let us know how those New Planet brews are. We keep getting asked for recommendations for GF beers, and it would be nice to know a few good ones. And yes, the orange bowls are indeed from the Mario Batali collection. Good eye! You guys really do notice everything!

  6. From "Margaret" :

    Hey castello, the Daura doesn’t have GF on the label, but we found it on the website. http://www.estrelladamm.com/en/daura_gluten_free_beer/
    I agree, the Daura was pretty decent. It may have been slightly oxidized, but I didn’t pick that up as much as Chris did. It was definitely drinkable– to me it just tasted a little old. We definitely need to try it again. That beer has a lot of potential.

  7. From "castello" :

    @Margaret: Like!

  8. From "Russ Perry Jr" :

    Hee hee, I appreciated the slightly modified signoff line…

  9. From "GlutenFreeBeer.org" :

    Hey Guys,

    The mistake that most folks make is that they want to compare a gluten free beer to a regular beer. You can’t do that! If you are not Celiac or gluten intolerant, you don’t have any businesses trying to compare. We don’t have options other than gluten free so, after being beer free for a while you are happy to have options of any kind. Comparing gluten free beer to regular beer is like comparing regular beer to mead, you simply can’t make the comparison. There quite a few other gluten free beers on the market. Check out the Gluten Free Beer Association site for more beer options and reviews. I appreciate the effort, it is good for y’all that you aren’t required to be gluten free.

    By the way, the statistics estimate that as much as 3% of the population is gluten intolerant. If you do the math, that is pretty big market to go after for the brewing industry. For the record, there is not standard for gluten free in the US; Europe uses a less than 20 ppm standard but we do not have one. Deglutenized beers like Estrella should be more accurately labeled, Low Gluten and not gluten free. 🙂

    Thanks again for your show and effort! 🙂

    • From "ChrisQ" :

      Hi Joey,

      Thanks for the comment. While, it’s pretty obvious that we aren’t gluten intolerant, we were genuinely interested in trying these beers out, in part for ourselves, and in part to help other people in their search for quality gluten-free alternatives. From that standpoint, I can only compare it to what I know and like. Were I starved for beer in the desert and given a Bud, would I take it? Yes I would. But that isn’t exactly what this show was about. I wanted to see if people were making gluten free products that were to the level of top craft beers. So far, I’d have to say my answer to that is “no”, although the beer is getting better (I had redbridge 4 years ago and thought it was pretty awful.) I am very interested to see what the future holds for Gluten free beers, and if I had to bet, I’d say they are going to be right up there with ANY alcoholic drink in the near future. I also can’t wait to try some beers from Brasserie Sans Gluten.

      I’d also love to know what some of your favorite gluten free beers are. Please share with the rest of us. Thanks again!


  10. From "Scott Linham" :

    Alright, Margaret…and Chris! Here’s my wife’s and my short ‘overall’ breakdown of those New Planet gluten free beers. First off, they were all three much better than any others I’ve tried, but haven’t tried but a couple others. “Tread Lightly Ale” – apple peel, grapes, yeast on the nose with apple and some floral and touch of bitter hops…ultimately a slightly more hopped up Miller Lite so decent-ish…ML could use more hops! “Off-Grid Pale Ale” – Some pine, floral, fresh berry/citrus on the nose with that citrus coming thru strong on taste, interesting toasty/burnt rice flavor and very bitter end (couldn’t distinguish bitterness as sorghum or hop or both). “3R Raspberry Ale” – Huge raspberry (almost candied) and some doughiness on nose with raspberry predominant on taste w/ some doughiness and touch of hop bitterness…but the raspberry taste was not overly sweet at all, just right…very well done for a fruit beer in general I thought.

    Okay, so maybe not as short as originally planned. Overall, they were surprisingly solid and none of them gave me that “yuck” like I typically get from GF beers…I think the extra hoppiness really helped.

    Thanks again for a great show and keep ’em coming!!

  11. From "Margaret" :

    Hi Scott, thanks for the follow-up on New Planet! As luck would have it, we also got a chance to sample the Off-Grid and Tread Lightly ales at an event this week. I agree with your overall impressions on both beers. I did get that rice flavor you described too…. all-in-all I would say these beers were just ok, but for those who need GF, they are not a bad choice at all. I still like the Two Brothers Prairie Path (and possibly a fresh Daura) the best, as I didn’t detect that rice/sorghum/whatever flavor on either or those.

    I also recently read about Omission Beer, a new GF player on the market. I think they will start distribution on the West Coast first, rolling east. They use barley, but use a process to remove the gluten, so I imagine I would like those beers better since they also shouldn’t have those strange sorghum flavors.

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