Weekly Beer Review: New Grist Gluten Free Pilsner

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New Grist
Gluten Free Pilsner
Lakefront Brewery
$1.89/Bottle
Grade: A

The Beginning:
Some poor unfortunate souls are afflicted with dietary restrictions that prevent them from eating Gluten. Some other souls follow that trend because it’s popular, but I digress. It’s a crying shame that the world of beer could be closed off to people just because of one little wheat protein. Gluten-free beers to the rescue! There may not be many but they DO exist, thanks to Rice and Sorghum. And since I’ve got at least one friend who has gluten issues, this one’s for him.

The Brewer’s Pitch:
Apparently New Grist is the first beer to get governmental approval to be labeled “gluten-free.” I was sure I remembered Redbridge coming out first, but I might also have been drunk at the time. The ingredients are carefully balanced to give a crisp and refreshing beer that tastes great and is light enough to be a good session beer, smooth and lightly fruity with hints of green apple and a malty sorghum base.

The Beer:
New Grist is very bright and very pale yellow with a coarse variable head that leaves little lacing. The nose is slightly musty and earthy, and the beer is so heavily carbonated I could hear it fizzing when I brought it up to smell. The beer is very light and very effervescent, and it brings a slightly sour bite that follows up to the tingle of the carbonation. The taste is hard to place, probably because sorghum isn’t a grain that shows up in many beers so I don’t have a frame of reference. It’s a bit earthy and a bit sulfurous. There are sour notes throughout, and the end of the taste is a burst of granny smith apple tartness backed by very mildly dry hops.

The Breakdown:
I was extremely surprised by this, and in a good way. I’ve had a few gluten-free beers and while none of them have been TERRIBLE, they tend to be thoroughly mediocre Bud Light-caliber stuff. Good enough I suppose, if it’s all you can tolerate. This one is actually GOOD. The tartness isn’t as acidic as you’d find in a gose, nor is it citric acid from orange peel. It keeps the palate clean- without the sour bite, the sulfur notes from the sorghum could make the whole thing taste skunky and stale. Instead it’s just enough to be an earthy base to a bright, tart, tingly beer. This would be a fantastic session beer- low enough in alcohol to not knock you on your ass, and it doesn’t clog the palate or leave a stale aftertaste to make you reluctant to have more.

The Bottom Line:
To my friend who shall not be named: Here. Here is a gluten-free beer that is very good. Now you can stop saying “I want a beer, it’s worth the farts” and then sleeping in the same room as us. Do you hear me???