Gluten-free. It’s a phrase you’ve probably heard a lot in reference to everything from bread to cereal to salad dressing and processed lunch meats. For those following this type of diet, either because of gluten allergies or personal choice, finding a cold, refreshing beer may have seemed nearly impossible until just recently. Earlier this week, we reviewed Dogfish Head's first entrance into this market, Tweason'ale. Luckily, there’s been a surge in this new niche market of late, and we’ve found a number of other brews that should help make this type of diet a bit easier.
Redbridge: Made by Anheuser-Busch, this is a sorghum-based beer that tastes lighter and slightly sweeter than beer made with wheat or barely. According to Redbridge’s web site, this lager is "rich and full-bodied" with a "well-balanced, moderately hopped taste." While not the most exciting choice, it’s definitely the one you’ll find most often (4.8 percent ABV).
New Grist: This one comes from Lakefront Brewery. Highly carbonated with an aroma of apples and lemon zest, the taste is mostly fruit (it’s often described as very cider-ish) and some sourness. New Grist has been honored with both Gold (2006) and Silver (2007, 2008, 2011) medals at the Great American Beer Festival (5.7 percent ABV).
Green’s Gluten-Free Beers: These beers are inspired by strong European beers and are brewed with a highly secret recipe. The result? Strong body, crisp taste, and refreshing flavors (Endeavor 7 percent ABV, Mission 6 percent ABV, Quest 8.5 percent ABV, Pathfinder 7 percent ABV).
Ramapo Valley Brewery: In addition to being gluten-free, Ramapo Valley’s Honey Beer is also certified Kosher (as are all their beers). Amber honey is the main fermentable, and molasses is used for flavor, nutrients, and color. Add in Noble hops, and you’ve got a nice balance of sweetness and bitterness (5.2 percent ABV).