Even though I was able to acquire a few gluten-free beers to review this week, there are others that I would have really liked to sample also. Here are a few of those—and if you can find them where you live, go give them a try.
Lakefront Brewery’s sorghum-based beer is fairly widely-available and they claim it is the “first of its kind” which conflicts a bit with the claim made by Bard’s Tale Brewing. Of New Grist, Lakefront says:
New Grist is brewed from sorghum, hops, water, rice and gluten-free yeast grown on molasses. These ingredients are carefully combined to form a crisp, refreshing “session ale” brewed for those with Celiac Disease and anyone with an appreciation for great tasting, handmade beer.
New Grist is the first beer brewed without malted barley or gluten-containing products to be authorized by the U.S. Government. Each batch brewed at Lakefront’s Milwaukee headquarters is tested for gluten prior to fermentation, before being bottled and shipped. New Grist is currently available nationwide in six packs of 12-ounce bottles.
Sprecher Mbege and Shakparo
Sprecher Brewery produces two beers that are gluten-free: the banana-brewed Mbege and the sorghum-and-millet-brewed Shakparo, both African-inspired brews:
Originally conceived of in an effort to provide a traditional African style beer for Milwaukee’s African World Festival, our Mbege and Shakparo have won the hearts of people here at the brewery and have been promoted to year round beer status.
Because barley and wheat are not grown in large quantities in sub-Saharan Africa, traditional Mbeges and Shakparos are brewed with sorghum and millet and are therefore able to be brewed gluten-free since neither sorghum nor millet contain gluten.
(I almost had the opportunity to review these; Randall Sprecher very generously offered to get some bottles to me but unfortunately the logistics didn’t work out from my end.)
Ramapo Valley’s gluten-free offering actually sounds more like a mead than a beer:
This innovative brew is made with neither barley, nor wheat. The main fermentable is amber honey. Molasses is used for flavor, nutrients and color. Bright golden in color, the taste naturally has notes of honey and hop. Noble hops add a touch of bitterness to balance the honey sweetness.
I inquired with the brewery about sampling their beer, and their response was, unfortunately, that the beer was not yet ready for sale: they are waiting for ATF approval to upgrade their status to full brewery and cannot ship beer.