Gluten-Intolerant? Five Beer-Pong-Worthy, Gluten-Free Options
Last month, I met with a friend at Palace India and, after being informed of her new wheat allergy a moment too late, found myself eating a plate of delicious samosas by my lonesome --
Most recently, I invited a new friend, Brian, to Tap 42, a recently opened gastropub in Fort Lauderdale, not knowing that he was gluten-intolerant. Fortunately, Tap 42 has plenty of other options for imbibing, but still, I couldn't help but feel compassion for those who are missing out on all the bounty that gluten has to offer -- namely, IPAs, pilsners, and stouts.
In an effort to help those of you who feel left out while watching your selfish, thoughtless friends play beer pong (no judgment), here is a list of five gluten-free beers to get you back in the game.
To make amends for my previous snafu, I invited Brian to join me at Riverside Market to check out their gluten-free beer selection. Riverside Market owner, beer connoisseur, and recent New Times Beerfest judge Julian Siegel showed us the gluten-free options available and helped us to separate the wheat from the chaff (pun intended).
5. Red Bridge Lager (Anheuser-Busch)
Julian refers to Red Bridge as the "section 8 of gluten-free beers." Needless to say, we didn't try this beer.
4. Tread Lightly Ale (New Planet) Contents: sorghum, hops, yeast, orange peel, corn extract
Brian enjoyed this beer, saying that it was like a true ale and would be a good summer beer. As an IPA snob, I found it to be a little on the sweet side, but I've read that this ale is very popular with Midwestern music editors.
3. 3R Raspberry Ale (New Planet)
Contents: sorghum, hops, yeast, raspberry puree
If you enjoy sweet, fruity beer, then you're prayers have been answered.
2. Off Grid Pale Ale (New Planet)
Contents: sorghum, hops, yeast, molasses, brown rice extract
New Planet's Pale Ale holds its own in the pale ale category. Similar to a gluten-full pale ale but not quite as hoppy. Personally, this was my top pick. You don't feel like you're at a party drinking an O'Doul's and pretending that it's Chimay.
1. Estrella Damm Lager (S.A. Damm)
Contents: "Toasted Cereals"
The only import on the list, Barcelona's Estrella Damm lager has a dense flavor and slightly more acidic than the others on list. This was my gluten-deprived amigo's favorite beer of the ones that we tried. There is a slightly bitter finish that makes it taste less like a lager and more like an ale, so I would drink it again to be polite when drinking with the gluten-intolerant (or to get totally faded in a pinch).
I couldn't help but notice that although, in general, these beers were pretty good, there was a sweetness to them that you don't get in other beers that made them taste a tad "off." Julian cleared it up in a way that only Julian can: "Yeah, it's not the same. Hey, there's a reason why they don't make diet Snickers."
At the end of the day, gluten-free beer meets all of the requirements of regular beer -- it tastes good, contains alcohol, and can be used to play absurd drinking games. Drink up!
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