So what’s up…do you guys like the booze reviews, or are you bored? Let me know in the comments if you love ‘em, hate ‘em, or whatever. If not…what do you want to see more of? Let it be noted: my be-hind is not an option (sorry ladies!).
This time…New Grist Beer by Lakefront Brewery
The Lowdown: So I was meandering the shelves of my local package store, looking for something interesting, when this caught my eye. Not just the attractive packaging, but the line “Made from Sorghum and Rice“. That’s a new one. I mean, I know that sake and several other Asian alcohols are made from rice, but I don’t recall seeing an American beer made from it, and certainly not sorghum. Consider my interest piqued! So I grabbed it and placed it in one of my 4 shopping carts, and asked myself, why would anyone do such a thing? Why make beer from something other than the tried and true ingredients we’ve all come to know and love? My question was answered when I got home and looked them up online: New Grist is a gluten-free beer (no malted barley or wheat or any of that), made for people with Celiac disease, which requires a strict gluten-free diet. It struck me, because I have a few family members diagnosed with Celiac in the past few years, so I know what a huge change it is to completely alter your diet like that, not to mention not be able to enjoy beer. Thankfully the people at Lakefront Brewery have answered the call to help these poor souls in need of an ice cold one.
The Whiff: First of all…lots of fizz on the pour. More like a soda than a beer. More of that harsh crackle than the soft bubble of beer. it’s also kinda cloudy, unlike the clear pour of an ale or the opaque blackout of a stout. It is here that I decide that the standard rules for beer should be thrown out the door…this is an entirely different beast, in almost every sense, so I’m just going to take things as they come and try to avoid ccomparisons to other beers or beverages.
Oh right, the smell. Very light, not a lot of scent coming out of it. It’s a little bit citrusy, but more appley. For a very short time when I was a kid, I remember this “healthy” fast food place called “D’Lites” or “D’Lights” or something, and instead of serving regular sodas, they served a sparkling apple cider over ice. That’s what this reminds me of. Crisp, cold, bubbling apple cider (but one which I’m sure didn’t have much sugar at this health-conscious eatery). It was really a treat for us when we were kids, we weren’t allowed to drink soda much growing up anyways, but to have an apple soda was something special. We didn’t give a damn about the health aspect, it was just something different and delicious.
The Taste: Whaddya know, APPLE! Now, I must make mention that this beer is in no way marketed as a cider or apple-flavored or anything like that…it just is. Only…it’s pretty weak. If you’ve ever had a Woodpecker Cider or Hornby’s, this is similar, but waaaaaay weaker on the apple front. I honestly have no idea what sorghum is, but apparently when combined with rice and bubbles, it tastes like some sad green apples crying into a bottle, and calling it beer. Green apples robbed of all their character and dignity, I mean. The flavor is really flat. Lots of carbonation; the pour didn’t lie, and the flavor is simple and plain and weak. There’s a little tiny bit of lemon in there, but it’s not enough to save this beer.
Would you drink it again? I highly doubt it. it’s not bad per se, it doesn’t hurt me to drink it, but there’s just nothing there to really enjoy. If there was no other beer around, and someone offered it to me, I’d drink it…that’s about the only scenario I can see happening where I’d drink this again.
Would you recommend it to someone else? Only if they had Celiac, and REALLY wanted to experience something that was distantly related to beer. The fact that they don’t really publicize the apple aspect, or embrace it and crank up the apple flavor and call it a cider, bothers me. That would actually be great, if they just rode the apple train and put a little more complex apple flavors in there and market it as such, I bet they’d do great. As it stands, I can’t see anyone but the most desperate seeking this out and enjoying it.
Overall Score: 64
I really wanted to like this, but it just didn’t succeed on any level.