Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Beer of the Week (Vol. CXCII)

The latest edition of Beer of the Week is sponsored as always by the healthy minded folks at Glen Lake Wine & Spirits who can find the beer, wine, or whiskey to fit any dietary requirements.

Monday’s WSJ had an article on the growing popularity of gluten-free foods:

Nowhere has the chaotic cycle of influence between U.S. consumers and food companies been more pronounced than in the gluten-free craze. Gluten is found in wheat, barley and rye—three of the earliest crops domesticated by humans in the Fertile Crescent some 10,000 years ago. Its elastic structure makes it well-suited for baking, but triggers an autoimmune response in a small number of people that damages their intestines.

About two million to three million Americans, less than 1% of the population, suffer from that hereditary condition, known as celiac disease. The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness says research shows another 18 million Americans have gluten sensitivity, experiencing discomfort without the intestinal damage.

Gluten-free foods began gaining wider currency as better diagnostic tests were developed for celiac disease, making more people aware that they had it and needed to adjust their diet. In 2007, the Food and Drug Administration proposed labeling rules defining how much gluten could be in products labeled gluten-free, amplifying interest further.

Some doctors began suggesting eliminating gluten from patients' diets to address mysterious maladies. Celebrities began jumping on the bandwagon, touting it as a way to lose weight and boost energy. In the course of a few years, the mold was set: Today, gluten-free products can be found in every traditional supermarket and mass retailer, including specialty brands and established names like Tyson and General Mills Inc. GIS -0.27% There's even gluten-free dog food. Global retail sales of products specifically formulated to be gluten-free have nearly doubled since 2007 to $2.1 billion last year, according to Euromonitor International.

It’s still not clear whether a gluten-free diet has health benefits for those who don’t have an auto immune reaction to gluten.

You don’t have to look far to see examples of gluten-free products popping up everywhere. You would think it difficult to produce a beer without wheat, barley, or rye, , but a local brewery in St. Paul is doing just that. Burning Brothers Brewery:

At Burning Brothers, we make beer. In fact, we make great beer. In fact, we make really great gluten-free beer. In fact, we make beer so good that Celiacs cry when they taste it.

Why? Because we get it. We’ve been there and we know what you’re going through. Our calling is to bring the freedom to drink beer back to everyone who is gluten-free. We want to not only give you that freedom, but to push the envelope and bring you flavors you’ve never tasted before.

Burning Brothers is committed 100% to gluten-free. We don’t use gluten-free filtering, gluten-free enzymes or any other gluten-free gimmicks. Instead we use naturally gluten-free ingredients to create great-tasting and unique beers for you.

So, sit back, relax and enjoy. You no longer need to fear the beer.

My previous experience with gluten-free beer was not a good one so there was reason for fear when I tried Burning Brother’s Pyro American Pale Ale.

Four pack of sixteen ounce cans sells for $10.99. Really cool looking design with a sharp logo.

STYLE: Pale Ale


HEAD (0-2): White color with good volume. 2

COLOR (0-2): Very light gold and quite clear. 1

AROMA (0-2): Decent hoppy scents. 2

TASTE (0-5): There is an astringent, metallic flavor that takes some getting used to. The beer does mellow as it warms with more typical pale ale flavors emerging. I would suggest letting this sit in the glass for a few minutes before diving in. Carbonation is good and it has a medium body. Low alcohol content and drinkable. 3

AFTERTASTE (0-2): Metallic flavors lingers. 1

OVERALL (0-6): This is definitely the best gluten-free I have tried. That may be a low bar, but if you can’t stomach gluten and you’re looking for a beer that comes pretty close to delivering real flavors without the pain this is a great choice. 3

TOTAL SCORE (0-19): 12