Dragon’s Gold is the gluten free beer offering from Bard’s Tale Beer, and while I’d like to say it’s the first such beer I’ve tasted, ironically enough it was the second—the first I had mere days before at a barbecue.
(That first was Redbridge, Anheuser-Busch’s "mainstream" foray into the realm of the gluten free. It was offered to me by a friend who has Celiac disease, and I found that it tasted pretty much like beer. I’ll do a formal review sometime soon.)
I first wrote about Bard’s Tale and gluten free back in 2005, and I’m finally seeing it show up here in Central Oregon. The beer is made entirely from sorghum, a cereal grain that doesn’t contain gluten. The company bills it as "the world’s first gluten free craft beer."
Appearance: Clear, light brown tinged with orange.
Smell: Definite bready aroma—like a raw bread dough. Corn, raw wheat… a bit sweet. Slight grassy tang.
Taste: It’s different—raw grains, dried wheatgrass… earthy, reminds me of hay. Slight metallic note. Woody, bitter dry character. [Sorghum is a grass-based cereal… does it have a strong grass/hay character as plain grain?]
Mouthfeel: Dry, light bodied… almost seems to be a film (though non-slick/oily) on the tongue.
Overall: Interesting, but ultimately, it doesn’t taste "like beer" and unfortunately I think a large segment of people seeking out gluten free beer aren’t craft beer drinkers or are looking for a traditional beer character. In that regard, Redbridge wins (based on my preliminary experience). I think Bard’s Tale needs to work on this beer a bit more.