Carla Jean Lauter

The Beer Babe

Lakefront Brewery – New Grist Beer

One of the reasons I don’t like some “big” beers made by Anheuiser Busch and Coors is that they use rice in their beer – making it thin, light and weak in flavor. Substituting the grain to save money, and be more consistent in their brewing. 

However, when a beer is brewed with rice (or in this case, rice and sorghum) for a specific reason, and with the same care and attention as a craft brew, I might have to give it a chance, I think.

This is brewed by Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee Wisconsin, and is described on the label as being a crisp and refreshing session beer. It was brewed specifically for those unable to digest wheat – with either a gluten (the protein found in wheat) allergy or Celiac disease. When people with Celiac disease eat foods that contain gluten, it creates an immune reaction that causes damage to the digestive system. It is a very difficult disease to live with, since gluten is found in many common food items, and even a small amount can prove toxic.  (More information on Celiac disease) There are a few wheat free beers out there, and I was eager to try this one to see if it would be a good beer for my aunt suffering from the disease to try. According to Lakefront Brewery’s website:

New Grist is brewed from sorghum, hops, water, rice and gluten-free yeast grown on molasses. These ingredients are carefully combined to form a crisp and refreshing “session ale” sure to be popular among those with Celiac Disease, but really brewed for anyone with an appreciation for great tasting, handmade beer.

It pours like a pilsner, with big quick bubbles ad a light golden color. The bubbles dissipate like soda, and I wonder if that’s from the lack of gluten holding them there. I’d have to say that it has more color than some light beers I’ve seen in the hands of college students back in the day. The smell, too is interesting – a sweet citrus almost apple, but light and not hoppy. 

I will be honest, I’ve never had anything made with sorghum (a grass-like grain – see picture) so the flavor of it was hard to pick out. I did like the taste though. It wasn’t malty, but more like a lightly carbonated summer beer. It was actually enjoyable as a pale ale type beer, and I would order this intentionally over one of the big two any day. For anyone having problems digesting wheat, this is a winner – it is obvious that the brewers worked long and hard to make this tasty. 
Regular beer drinkers have bashed this on a couple of review sites, but think about it this way. If you were suddenly stricken with a disease that didn’t allow you to have any beer at all, would you settle for a decent pale ale that you could safely consume? I think this is a great effort and a step forward for gluten free beer. I guess rice can be a good thing sometimes.
So there. 


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  1. Brian from Bard's

    Suggest everyone try Bard's – the first gluten-free beer made from sorghum and the only one that malts its sorghum for traditional beer taste and aroma –

  2. Mark G

    Didn't know there were gluten free brews. This is good to know, and maybe I'll get some for my sister-in-law the next time I'm visiting.

  3. Anonymous

    Yep, I have celiac disease, and New Grist is one of the better options out there.

  4. Scott-TheBrewCllub

    I'd agree. For some folks, this is all there is in regard to beer.

    My first gluten-free beer was the Redbridge made by AB. Because I don't have to, I wouldn't 'choose' to buy it again, but if it were the only beer available, it was still better than many 'mainstream' beers.

    Nice review. Many people can't enjoy beer and at least now there are some more options.

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