Gluten free beers

Discussion in 'The Beer Forum' started by Kinley Smith, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. Once upon a time gluten free beer meant brewing with the most unlikely ingredients. Think tea and soy sauce to give you an idea. What you ended up with was something that resembled beer on the first mouthful but by the second you were rummaging in the cellar for a decent wine. This changed a few years back with the discovery that an enzyme used to speed industrial brewing had the side effect of destroying gluten. The resultant beer had gluten of <20ppm making it gluten free by the standards of the British Coeliac Society. Within a few years odd-tasting gluten free sorghum beers have been replaced by gluten reduced beers brewed from traditional ingredients and post treated. There are now a lot available and here a few. These are just impressions over the last month rather than tasting notes. FWIW I get the impression that there is slight artificial flavour in the lighter beers that brewers mask by adding malt, fruit or hops to distract the palate. Mouthfeel seems unchanged (I wonder what these would be like on hand pull), and some are very good beers.

    St Peters G-Free. Lighter and hoppier pale ale, decent enough but not exciting.

    St Barnabus Czech Pils. Very decent pils with just a hint of a chemically finish. Fuller flavoured than might be expected.

    Aldi Organic GF beer. Good value at £2 for 750ml in a swing top bottle. Perfectly drinkable in a light pale ale way but the chemical finish grows through the bottle.

    Westerham Bulldog. An average bitter in every sense.

    Westerham Scotney Pale Ale. A very fine IPA with a fresh hop attach and a good balanced finish. The first GF I had that I would never have guessed wasn't 'normal' beer.

    Westerham Scotney. Instead of hops (as above), this uses malt but isn't a terribly nice beer. A bit soupy.

    Westerham Freedom. I can't recall much about this; I think a little bland.

    Black Isle Goldfinch is one of the best beers this year. Packed with malt and hops, it oozes complexity yet stays fresh. I guessed this to be a Belgian style at 7% abv and it is 3.5%. Astounding.

    First Chop Hoppy Blonde is exactly that. Too hoppy for me but a very good beer.

    First Chop Mango does indeed use fruit to beef up the esters but it works. Really well. You don't taste mango but there is s lovely mellow fruitiness to the hops. Really good beer.

    First Chop Manchester bitter is a hoppy bitter that again offers a lot of flavour for a <4% beer. Good stuff.
     
  2. The only one of these I have tried is the St Peters. This, I believe, is actually brewed with non-gluten grains with no barley or wheat. It was quite hoppy but had an odd taste I did not much like. Brewdog do a decent one. I can't remember the name but it is sold in Tesco. Hopback Crop Circle is good.

    I have never come across a gluten-free beer on hand-pull. All Westerham's bottled beers are gluten free but the cask ones are not as they cannot guarantee no cross-contamination from other beers. I think they do a gluten-free draught keg lager.
     
  3. A few more:

    Westerham Pilsner needed a few weeks of lagering to bring out some depth.

    Meantime Pale Ale was a lovely beer full of sappy orange but perhaps fading a bit on the mouth. Still a cracker.

    Morland Old Speckled GF is the same classic malty ale with just a little more freshness. I think I prefer the GF version!
     
  4. A few stand out GF beers. From Arbour Brewing (Bristol) Oz Bomb was a stunning beer in the 'Little Creatures' mold and Summit IPA was another hoppy winner (and I'm not normally keen on the style). Looking forward to explore more. Hepworth Pullman was rather good although I was nonplussed by the Bitter.
     

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