16 of the Best Gluten Frees, Blind-Tasted and Ranked
How We Taste & Test Beers
Composed entirely of Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) judges who have all studied, trained, and been tested on their ability to discern characteristics in beer, our panel is independent and doesn’t include any CB&B editors or staff. The panel tastes all beer blindly—they do not know what brands and beers they are tasting until the tasting is complete.
Our goal is to inform you about the strengths and weaknesses of these beers as well as their relative differences (not everyone has the same taste in beer, so accurate descriptors are more valuable than straight numerical values). The quotes you see in the reviews are compiled from the review panel’s score sheets to give you a well-rounded picture of the beer.
As our reviewers judge, they score based on the standard BJCP components: Aroma (max 12 points), Appearance (max 3 points), Flavor (max 20 points), Mouthfeel (max 5 points), and Overall Impression (max 10 points). We’ve listed these individual component scores, and the bottom-line number is derived from adding then doubling these component scores to produce a rating on a 100-point scale. Note that we round the component scores to the nearest whole number, so the math won’t necessarily add up.
Our judges use the following scale in valuing scores:
95–100 » Extraordinary World-class beers of superlative character and flawless execution
90–94 » Exceptional Distinguished beers with special character, style, and flavor
85–89 » Very good Well-crafted beers with noteworthy flavor and style
80–84 » Good Solid, quality, enjoyable beers
75–79 » Above Average Drinkable and satisfactory beers with minor flaws or style deviations
50–74 » Not recommended
We’d like for you to keep one thing in mind as you read our reviews: Your perception of a beer is more important than that of our review panel or editorial staff. Reading reviews—on the Web, in a magazine, or in a book—is no substitute for trying the beer yourself.
New Planet Beer Company Brown Ale (54)
Some sweetness. Right out of the gates, a strong black currant-like bitterness followed by a metallic presence that competes with onion, tomato, and grapefruit juice. Harsh astringency with some cider-like tartness and flavors.
New Planet Blonde Ale (63)
Butter, sweet candy character. Tart, green-apple and very cider-like. Finishes semidry. Notes of candi sugar and honey but could use more hops flavor. Green-apple notes with a strong carbonic bite. Soapy and some chloro- phenolic properties that give a bit of astringency in the finish with apple-skin tannins and a hint of pear juice.
Lakefront Brewery New Grist (63)
Bubble gum, sweet candy, cherry, pear, and apple. A strong fruity flavor with notes of citrus and melon. Hops flavor is subtle. High carbonation and dry finish. The graininess is lightly sweet and followed by an out-of-balance biting hops bitterness that has a hint of spiciness.
New Planet Belgian Ale (64)
The phenolic yeast is not playing well with the sorghum flavors and aromas. Reminiscent of a dry cider, with very subtle Belgian ester character (pear and bubble gum). Finishes dry and astringent with a medium-high carbon- ation and low hops bitterness.
Green's IPA (70)
Strong green-onion flavor with some resiny, citrusy hops character. Little malt-like sweetness beyond a touch of caramel, but some candy-like sweetness that is a bit astringent and sharp; substantial hops bitterness. New- school hops flavors of tropical fruits and grapefruit. Medium-high carbonation.
Bard's Tale Beer Company Bard's Gold (70)
Mostly grain sweetness up front, almost candy-like, followed by a medium level of hops bitterness with a dry, sharp, highly carbonated, mostly balanced finish. Very subtle earthy spiced hops note. Nice tartness. The beer has a dry wine character with some fruity sweetness.
Sprecher Brewing Company Shakparo (73)
Sweet candy-like flavor. Buttery and wine- or cider-like with green-apple notes. Ginger, lime, and pears. Low hops bitterness and no noticeable hops flavor. Tart and finishes slightly sweet with high carbonation. Very light body, with a grainy soda-like sweetness.
Epic Brewing Glutenator (74)
Tart lemon-like notes up front, accentuated by the dryness and high carbonation. Finish is a bit on the bitter side; low hops bitterness and no noticeable hops flavor. This beer has a pear and cider-like character with a tart drying quality and cidery tart green-apple notes.
Green's Quest Tripel Ale (75)
A strong similarity to cider and could pass as a semi-sweet cider. A bit more pleasant red apple notes than green apple sweetness, along with some pear notes and some spiciness. High carbonation that comes across a bit harsh. Medium body with a somewhat sweet finish. No hops flavor.
Ghostfish Brewing Company Shrouded Summit (76)
Orange, with some of the bitter pith and zest. Lemony citrus and white grape with some funkiness and tartness that compete with the coriander and peppery phenols. Moderately low sweetness, and some subtle raw wheat and bready malt that didn’t quite balance with the bitterness. Body is dry, thin, and somewhat watery. There’s a carbonic bite that hangs on through the finish.
Green’s Enterprise Dry-Hopped Lager (77)
Hops-forward, stone-fruit. A bit of candy-like sweetness from the base grain, with the hops character coming through mostly as earthy, spicy hops. Finishes a bit astringent, with a slight tartness. The grain-like sweetness hits in the front but dries out quickly with some slight grassy and tangy character in the finish. Grape-wine characteristics. Finishes very dry. Notes of ginger and lemongrass.
Green's Dubbel Dark Ale (80)
A cider-like character is present but not dominating. A bit of red apple and pear notes, with some caramel sweetness and dark pitted-fruit esters, mostly raisins, but some cherry and plum, too. Medium-low hops bitterness and no hops flavor. Light body.
Glutenberg American Pale Ale (82)
Citrusy American hops flavors, mostly grapefruit and pine, with a supporting candy-like sweetness. Finish is crisp, dry, and bitter but not out of balance. Carbonation and dryness accentuate the hops character. High carbonation and dry finish. Medium body with a lightly roasted grainiess that is almost malty. The hoppiness is reminiscent of an APA with a decent bitterness and a hint of citrus hoppiness. Some unusual esters, apples and pear.
Glutenberg IPA (86)
The hops dominate in this beer. Grapefruit, grapefruit rind, tangerines, pine, some green onion, and resin flavors from the hops take center stage, with just enough sweetness to balance. Finish is balanced, with just a touch of bitterness. Dry and crisp and very drinkable.
Glutenberg Red (86)
A medium level of hops bitterness, with a smidgen of mint-like hops flavor, balances the subtle caramel sweetness that has notes of toast, biscuits, toffee, and even a hint of light coffee. Medium-high carbonation; green-apple notes hide behind the roast. Just a hint of smoke—finishes a bit sweet but still balanced.