Gluten Free Beer Review: New Planet Raspberry Ale

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Seasonal beers. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve exhaled a sad sigh while passing a fruity blueberry or raspberry beer in summer, and more painfully pumpkin beers in autumn. Seasonal beers are one of the great joys in this cold, hard world, and I thought I was going to be without them for a long, long time.

Thankfully, I was wrong.

Although I’ve yet to find a gluten free pumpkin beer (if any of my amazing readers know of one, PLEASE leave suggestions in the comments!), I have managed to find a 100% gluten free (read: celiac-friendly) raspberry ale just in time for summer. Denver weather has been fickle for the last few weeks, but today it was a balmy 71 degrees fahrenheit and perfect weather to crack open a brew with dinner. I bought a six pack of the New Planet Raspberry Ale a few days back and finally have had the chance to pop one open!

The New Planet Raspberry Ale is brewed from brown rice extract and sorghum, but it doesn’t have the off-ish taste that many sorghum beers have. It’s also surprisingly dry for a fruited beer, with the first mouthful is very lightly hoppy and the malty flavors being fairly prominent. Raspberry and a hint of orange follow almost as an aftertaste, which might be offputting to some looking for a sweeter, fruit-forward beer. That said, this definitely drinks well, with a great balance of hops and a soft, fruity maltiness that leaves this ale neither too bitter nor too sweet on the palate.

The verdict? This is a great summer brew, but having gotten through a few of them now I think they would be fairly difficult to drink more than one of in one sitting. The New Planet Raspberry Ale is rich and filling, and although it’s generally refreshing, there’s also a quality of heaviness to it that makes it delightfully drinkable, but not exactly as crushable as other beers out there. This beer is a great post-work, pre-dinner, summer-y treat, but if you’re looking for a beer that you could drink (responsibly) multiple of, you may want to keep looking.

Pros:

Cons:

  • A little heavy and so rich that its hard to drink more than one (but maybe I just need to up my game!).
  • Not as well rounded as other beers, like the Daura or the Omission lager.
  • Some of the strong flavors compete for attention in this beer rather than working together.

Overall rating: ★★★

Beer Review: Omission Gluten Free Lager

Beer Review: Omission Gluten Free Lager

I recently wrote a post on gluten reduced vs gluten free beers, and have since started exploring more gluten free beer options! While I’m still planning on making a trip out to the totally gluten free Holidaily Brewery, I managed to find a few great starting options at my local liquor store. I already had some foundation with the Daura Damm Lager, and wanted to branch out and see how the other gluten reduced lagers out there stacked up.

Omission’s lager was the first one I managed to find, and I was very excited to crack one open on one of my few days off this week. The weather was definitely lager weather, too; it was in the high sixties today, with a heady golden sunset that seemed to scream out for a nice, refreshing beer. So did Omission live up to my expectations?

In summary, yes. Omission’s lager is a malty, vaguely velvety beer, low on carbonation and very rich. Served cold from the fridge, my Omission was great from the first sip, with a flavor profile that I love in a lager. Flavor-wise I’d say it drinks similarly to the Daura, but there was a little more flatness and a much fuller body. I drank my Omission from a wine glass (shh, don’t tell) and it was a vibrant golden color that almost matched the sunset I enjoyed while indulging.

So what was really great about this beer? Definitely the richness. It had an almost creamy quality to it, in spite of the fact that it’s very far from a milk stout, and was definitely soft and incredibly smooth on the palette. In terms of drinkability, I think this beer was right about at a ten out of ten; it wouldn’t be hard to put back a few of them in an evening without even realizing it. There’s absolutely no bitterness to this brew, and there’s a slightly sweet aftertaste that hits the palette right at the end of each mouthful.

Was there anything I didn’t love? Yes, but not much. For starters, I think that this lager was lacking a little bit of the crispness I was really craving. Maybe it was the lack of carbonation, but this beer definitely could have had a slightly sharper edge to it. While the flavor profile of this beer was almost perfection, I really would have loved a little more bang for my beer-drinking buck in terms of crispness and refreshingness.

Overall, this is definitely a solid gluten-reduced beer choice. I look forward to finishing off the rest of the six pack in the days to come!

Pros:

  • Super rich
  • Full bodied
  • Amazing flavor profile
  • Looks great in a glass
  • Incredibly drinkable

Cons:

  • Could be a little crisper
  • Not very carbonated — this is more of a personal preference than an objective one, but I would have loved a little more fizz

Overall rating: ★★★★

Let’s Talk About: Gluten Removed Beers

Let’s Talk About: Gluten Removed Beers

Ah, beer. How I miss you. For a long time people have been telling me that I can still drink Corona, which is a hard no thank you (no offense to all the Corona lovers out there!). That said, there’s a few great craft gluten-removed beers on the market, from pale ales (probably the most common) to lagers. But what does “gluten removed” really mean? Is it celiac-safe? Let’s discuss.

Gluten-removed beers are typically championed because they taste like real beer. I don’t know how many times I’ve tried a truly gluten free beer and been disgusted, but it’s a lot. This is, in part, because I’m not a huge fan of hops; I far prefer a sweeter, maltier beer to a hoppy one, and many of the gluten free beers I’ve tried in the past tend to make up for their lack of malt with an abundance of hops. If you’re an IPA lover, this is great news for you! If you’re like me, though, you may want a softer beer with bready but refreshing finish, this hoppy trend poses a problem.

The thing that makes gluten-removed beers taste like the beer I know and love is that it essentially is the beer I know and love. It’s still made with barley (gasp), but brewers introduce an enzyme like Brewer’s Clarex to reduce gluten in the beer. This method reduces the amount of gluten in gluten-reduced/removed beers down to 20 parts per million or less (Daura Lager cites that they have less than 3 gluten parts per million in their beers), which enables them to declare themselves as gluten-removed, or as a beer crafted to remove gluten.

So what does this mean for us gluten free folk? Well, that depends. On what, you might ask? On your gluten sensitivity. If you read the above paragraph and thought 3 parts per million is still 3 parts per million more than 0 parts per million, and therefore not gluten free, then you would be correct: these beers are not truly gluten free, and therefore are likely not celiac-safe, though I have heard from numerous diagnosed celiacs who have no problem drinking the gluten-removed beers. On the other hand, if you’re a gluten intolerant or gluten-avoidant person who, for example, can tolerate the cross-contamination of a shared fryer without illness or irritating symptoms, then these beers are probably fine for you to drink.

Ultimately, whether or not these beers are safe for you to drink is up to the severity of your diagnosis, and where you fall on the gluten-free spectrum. As a person who is gluten intolerant but not celiac, I’ve found that, for the most part, these beers do not trigger the immediate symptoms of glutening (stomach pain/discomfort/unsettling, rash, headache).

Are you celiac or gluten intolerant? Have you tried one of these beers before? Let me know your experiences in the comments section, I would love to hear them! Especially if anyone has had an adverse reaction to a gluten-reduced beer, I would be very interested in learning more.

Finally, see below for a few gluten free and gluten removed beer options!  I will be doing ongoing reviews of these beers as I can get my hands on them, so watch this space for more options to come.

Gluten Free Beers
Holidaily Brewing Company
Dogfish Head Tweason’ale
Glutenberg Beers

Gluten Removed/Reduced Beers
Omission Beer
Daura Damm Lager
Stone Delicious IPA