Chere: Ask any of my work mates, I was pretty excited when I found out I’d be tasting and reviewing this beer. Believe it or not, I’d never tasted a gluten-free beer but always had the desire to. Enter the folks at Quebec’s Brasseurs Sans Gluten and their line up especially for beer lovers who simply can’t tolerate gluten. The brewery was born out of one of the founders very own gluten intolerance and quest to find beers he could enjoy.
I’ll start off by stating I love gluten and wheat; I consume it daily in all it’s glorious forms. I’m not gluten-free, nor do I ever pretend to be and once again, I’ve never tasted a gluten-free beer. I guess I didn’t put much thought into it, and assumed being called a “beer” it would more resemble what I was used to. From the first pour of the Glutenberg Blonde, I felt a seed of disappointment take root in my gut. It looked like white wine, with a good array of tiny bubbles clinging to the glass and very little head. What foam was present was thin, and quickly dissipated in the glass. In hindsight, I believe I put too much pressure on my expectations. So far the visuals were letting me down so when I leaned in for a good long sniff, I tried to open up my mind. What I received was slight grassy notes behind a somewhat sweetly floral front. The base is millet and corn with what felt like a good dose of demerara sugar.
I’ll be blunt. I didn’t get much from this beer. I didn’t get any body or depth and it tasted decidedly flat to me. I got the sweetness just fine, but with this odd lingering bitter that wasn’t a pleasant hop bitter. In fact, I couldn’t detect much hops at all. I tasted with a fellow beer-lover and he likened it to a cider- but a cider with an extremely mellow fruit undertone and suggested it could be refreshing on a hot day. He approached this beer with none of the expectations I had and as a result, would probably recommend it to a gluten intolerant friend. I truly got very little satisfaction and would rather recommend a cider with some backbone and punch.
I don’t want people who suffer from celiac disease or have gluten insensitivities to miss out on what the beer world has to offer. There are plenty of rave reviews for this breweries beers, but for me, it just didn’t hit the spot. Personally, I didn’t enjoy it enough to recommend or try again but perhaps if I was new to the beer scene, or preferred a lighter taste it would be great.
Shawna: I had the chance to try Glutenberg beers at CAMRA Vancouver’s Cider and Gluten Free beer festival a few years ago. I chose to try the red from the mix pack I received. I LOVED it. The nose was very roasty with nuts and caramelly scents and I found the first sip also had a great roasted, rich, nutty taste. The colour is a deeeeeeep red, almost brown. You can really only see the red on the edges when you hold it up to light.
To me, this beer tastes just like the gluten-filled chestnut beers out there. I’ve had many a chestnut beer around the winter season and you could easily line this up with them in a blind test and I wouldn’t be able to tell you which one was gluten free. It’s that good! I highly recommend this to both people who can’t have gluten, and also to those who just want a yummy beer! This beer pairs well with a variety of BBQ meats or a big juicy burger. I would love to try them together!