Joining me in tasting these six gluten-free beers was Mike Wirth, who suffers from celiac disease, and Jake Koneman, who like me really did not have much gluten-free beer experience.
In our tasting, Redbridge and Green’s Endeavor came the closest to delivering the malt-based beer flavor profile. But the tasters also agreed the differences with the other beers had more to do with a fairly low hop profile overall as opposed to a sugary taste.
Bard’s Gold: Amber colored with a thin, but persistent head. This sorghum beer was on the sweet side with some balancing hops.
Green’s Discovery Amber Ale: This ale is made with millet, rice, buckwheat and sorghum. The head looked a bit like soap suds at first pour. Dark amber color, with a medium level of hops that balance the ale overall.
Green’s Endeavour Dubbel Dark: This Belgian ale is also made with millet, rice, buckwheat and sorghum. The head lasted throughout and laced the glass. The amber brown color and sweet nose matches nicely to the Belgian style. Nice body and depth of flavor, with some fig and fruit notes in the finish.
Hambleton Toleration: This English brew has a thin head and amber color. The brewery uses Challenger, Liberty and Cascade hops. Overall, the flavor is on the sweet side with some fruity, almost wine-like characteristics in the finish.
New Grist Beer: This Wisconsin-made beer uses a combination of sorghum and rice. Light golden straw color and a clean aroma. The beer starts off with a nice, thick head that dissipates gradually. Overall a low hop profile and a sweet flavor.
Redbridge Gluten-Free Beer: The head on this beer goes away pretty quickly. Nice amber color and decent hop bite. Overall balanced flavor that has a refreshing crispness.
Rick Lyke is a freelance drinks journalist based in Charlotte, NC. He started his beer writing career in 1980 and founded the Pints for Prostates campaign in 2008 after successful treatment of the disease.