Gluten-Free Beer Review: Redbridge


Staring in the face of the real possibility of gluten reactivity, the biggest hurdle for me to clear is going to be the beer issue. I’ve tried a few gluten-free beers in the past, but they were totally lackluster and not really worth drinking, let alone reviewing.

Alas, times are different now for the gluten-free world at large and things have gotten better. Maybe they’ve also gotten better in the beer world?

Anyway, Redbridge is a sorghum-based amber/red lager made by Anheuser-Busch. It weighs in a 4% ABV and an unspecified IBU rating. So what does this beer have to offer? Let’s find out.

Drank straight from the bottle so I can’t comment on color, but looking at the appearance of the beer through the bottle suggests a light golden color. Aromas of citrus hops come through the nose, as well as a glycerin-like sweetness from the sorghum. Flavors were very interesting and much more like that of an American pale ale than an amber lager – pale malt sweetness/breadiness supported by a bite of piney and grapefruit hop notes. Pretty thin/light in body and with high carbonation; this one is easy to kill several of.

Honestly, I found this beer to be very good. I got it to go with my gluten-free mushroom-Swiss burger at The Cove in San Antonio and it was a great pairing. The Cove is a great option in SA if you want a great gluten-free burger and fries, and obviously they have gluten-free drinks too. Oh, and the staff is super friendly and helpful. The bartender that day? As I paid out my bar tab and returned to my table, she noticed my lower half wear and gave me a pretty high compliment – “Oh, I love your shorts!” Never did I think I would get paid a compliment on my “Davy” Dukes but then again San Antonio and Abilene are totally different animals.

Anyway, I’m just glad I have at least one beer option should I have to make the commitment to gluten-free full-time. I’m sure you’ve noticed I’ve not written a beer review in a long time, and that’s the reason – I don’t drink much beer anymore and what I have had recently in that respect are all previously reviewed beers. Alas, I might specialze in gluten-free beers in the near future as I try more. Bartender lady assured me she’d have some more different ones back in stock in a couple of weeks, so when I’m down there again it’ll be worthy of exploration.

Whatever the case, I’m giving this one a rating of 4/5. I would definitely drink this again.

Beer Review: W00t Stout

This bourbon barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout from Stone Brewing in Escondido, California in collaboration with Drew Curtis, Wil Wheaton and Greg Koch is a heavyweight in traditional Stone fashion. It weighs in at 11.5% ABV, 45 IBU and an unspecified gravity rating.

Stone always has these entertaining blurbs on their bottles, as can be seen here:

This beer pours a jet black as any good Imperial Stout should. A solid inch of tan head that recedes to a small ring that sticks around and leaves some lacing. Big aromas of chocolate, dark fruit, roasted malt and alcohol and a touch of vanilla. The palate is a big blast of rich caramel and milk chocolate up front supported by a tinge of vanilla and pecan. The middle of the palate turns fruity with notes of black cherry and raisin which eventually gives way to a finish consisting of espresso and the slightest tinge of pine. Bourbon takes over on the aftertaste and on the way down. Thick in body with low carbonation, this one is a sipper for sure, though it drinks easily enough.

What a great beer. It’s big and complex, lots of flavors going on. This one is definitely a sipper. This one is a 5/5 all the way.

Suggested cigar pairings include the Marrero Fuerte, CO Final Third, Padron 80 Years, CAO Brazilia.

Beer/Cigar Review – Loup Garou and Tatuaje Reserva

Today I have both a beer and a cigar to review, so tune in for some good (or maybe not-so-good?) stuff to check out.

Loup Garou Stout

This American Stout brewed with natural flavors and aged in wooden barrels comes to us from Bayou Teche Brewing Company in Arnaudville, LA. It weighs in at 8% ABV and an unspecified IBU or gravity rating.

Pours dark brown with a thin ring of tan head that dissipates fairly quickly. Aromas of dark chocolate and plum on the nose with a slight smoke and oaky undertone. Flavors follow the nose almost exactly to the T – dark chocolate, lum, smoke, oak. A bit of a coffee note on the back end of the finish. Medium body and medium carbonation.

A good beer, but it did leave me wanting some more substance and complexity. It would be a great imperial stout if the ABV was kicked up a bit. Rating: 3.5/5.

Tatuaje Reserva

This offering from Tatuaje Cigars features an Ecuadorian Habano Maduro wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and long fillers. The size reviewed here is the Miami J21 – a 5″ x 50RG Robusto vitola.

First light reveals a perfect draw producing plumes of medium/full bodied smoke. Straight tobacco core with substantial pepper and spice on the nose.

The first third is more of the same but bringing in a smooth earth tone into the draw. Fairly consistent start to finish with the only change being the pepper dropping out almost entirely and a slight sweetness entering. Ending at 45 minutes for an average time for a Robusto sized stick. Strength is a medium at the end.

Construction was excellent. Burn line was straight enough and ash held on well.

Though well constructed the flavors were rather uninspiring. Pretty plain and boring really. At the price point (approx. $10-12/stick) I really expected more. If you’re a fan of Cuban-esque blends this might be to your liking but  the plainness just reminds me why I think Cubans are way overrated. I had bought two singles with my last haul and I smoked both in one sitting just to burn them out. Not one I’ll smoke again. Rating: 2.5/5.

Have you had either of today’s offerings? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

Beer Review: Barrel Runner

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a beer review here so I figured it was time. With that, let’s get into today’s topic: Barrel Runner.

This is an American Double IPA aged in Rum barrels hailing from Founders Brewing Company in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It weighs in at 11.1% ABV, 55 IBUs and an unspecified gravity rating.

Pours a hazy goldenrod/orange color with about 1″ of frothy cream colored head that sticks around and laces the glass like crazy. Rum smell is up front and center, supported by tones of orange zest, grapefruit and rose petal. Rum is once again the star of the show on the palate, hitting you with that characteristic brown sugar/fruity sweetness straight away. Undertones of banana, pineapple and yeasty bread toward the center of the palate and finishing out with a substantial but not overpowering grapefruit hop zing. Thick body with medium carbonation, this drinks way too easily for its weight.

If you like rum, double IPA or both, you have got to try this. Complex blend of flavors without being too hoppy to put off non-IPA people. Drink alone or paired with vanilla ice cream on a hot day – this is almost a dessert beer. Rating: 4.5/5.

Beer Review – Kindred Spirits

This offering from Innis & Gunn in Edinburgh, Scotland is, true to its name, a stout aged in Irish whiskey barrels. It weighs in at 6.1% ABV and an unspecified IBU or gravity rating.

Pours a near opaque brown color with a thin ring of tan head that sticks around. Rich oaky whiskey notes tickle the nose up front supported by dark chocolate and roasted malts. Flavors follow the nose almost exactly – dark chocolate and a tinge of vanilla start things off while a heavy oak takes over the back of the palate with that distinct sweet warmth of Irish whiskey on the finish. A hint of an espresso on the aftertaste. Surprisingly light on body and fairly high carbonation. It drinks easily enough and the ABV is low enough to kill a few without overdoing it.

This beer was pleasant enough, though I wish it had some more substance and a thicker consistency. If it had those couple of things it would be excellent. The flavors were nice but it just left me wanting something a bit more. Rating: 3/5.

Have you had this beer? What did you think?

Beer Reviews: The Maharaja and Undead Party Crasher

Now for some beer reviews. We’ve got two killer offerings tonight so let’s jump right in!

The Maharaja 

This American Imperial IPA hails from Avery Brewing Company in Boulder, Colorado. It weighs in at 10% ABV, 102 IBU and Avery is kind enough to provide us the original gravity of 1.090 (21.6 Plato) and a final gravity of 1.012 (3.1 Plato).

Pours a hazy goldenrod color with a lot of foam. Thick off-white head that laces the glass like crazy. Aromas of orange peel, grapefruit, caramel, syrup and alcohol. Flavors consist of a caramel and molasses backbone supporting a wallop of citrusy hop notes following the nose almost exactly – orange zest, grapefruit and a little lemon twang. A hint of a floral note toward the back. A slight hint of a pineapple on the aftertaste ties it all together. Surprisingly not harshly bitter. Thick, syrupy body with low carbonation. Definitely too thick to chug but an easy sipper.

This was a classic Double IPA in every way – smooth, complex but not overly bitter. Even non-IPA drinkers can appreciate this one. Would pair great with either a burger or Asian food. Rating: 4.5/5.

Undead Party Crasher

This offering from Clown Shoes Brewing Company in Ipswich, Massachusetts is an American Imperial Stout weighing in at 10.5% ABV and an unspecified IBU or gravity rating.

Pours jet black as a good imperial stout should. Thin ring of brown head that dissipates somewhat quickly. Big aromas of coffee, dark chocolate, prunes, and caramel. Flavors follow the noes almost exactly – notes of caramel and plum kick things off up front with a substantial sweetness. The middle of the palate is greeted with dark chocolate and a little bit of black licorice zing. The back end finishes off with notes of espresso and a balanced pine hop note. Very warming down the throat but alcohol is fairly well hidden. Thick body with low carbonation, this one drinks way too easy for its heft.

I am a sucker for a good imperial stout (it’s by far my favorite style of beer) and this one delivers. Bold, complex and smooth, pair this one with a Blanco JT Limitado, CO Final Third, Marrero Fuerte or a Padron x000 series or 1926 Series in Maduro. Rating: 4.75/5.

So that’s a wrap for today’s offerings. Have you had either? Let me know what you thought!

Beer/Cigar Reviews – La Fin du Monde and Exodus 1959 50 Years

Welcome to another one of my beer/cigar review blogs where we take a look at some notable (and not-so-notable!) products. I’ve got an awesome lineup for you tonight so let’s just dive right in, you’re gonna want to stick around for these.

As always, we’ll start with today’s beer selection:

La Fin du Monde

This offering from Unibroue in Chambly, Quebec, Canada is a Belgian Style Trippel weighing in at 9% ABV and 19 IBU with an unspecified gravity rating.

Pour is a hazy yellow-orange color with a thick, fluffy white head that sticks around for a good long while. Aromas of yeasty bread, banana, wheat malt and hints of citrus and clove. Rich flavors of yeasty wheat bread, lemon and banana on the front of the palate with notes of vanilla and clove on the finish. Medium in body and high carbonation, this beer drinks way too easily for its ABV and would be easy to quaff.

As with virtually any Unibroue product, this one is a real treat for lovers of Belgian style beers. Do yourself a favor and check it out, you’ll be glad you did. Rating: 4.5/5.

Exodus 1959 50 Years

This offering from Torano cigars comes in a 5.5″ x 52RG Torpedo vitola and features a Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and long fillers.

Two clips with the Cuban Crafters Perfect Cutter revealed a perfect draw producing plentiful thick, medium/full bodied smoke. Flavors of leather and dark chococlate tantalize the palate straight away with both black and red pepper on the retrohale and a slight oak bringing it all together.

The first third is almost identical with the exception of a sweet cream entering the draw and the pepper diminishing slightly. Very bold and complex flavors all around.

The 2nd third sees a fairly big transition as the leather and dark chocolate take a back seat and notes of fig and toasted almond come to the forefront. Pepper hangs on but very subtle by this point. The last third goes very heavy and earthy. Ending at 1 hour and 10 minutes for a truly impressive burn time for the size and bringing in a wallop of strength – matching the body at medium/full.

Excellent construction with a straight enough burn to not require any touchups and the ash holding on about half the stick at a time.

Excellent cigar all around. Lots of flavors, transitions and an excellent burn time. For about $6/stick you just cannot go wrong with this one. Rating: 4.5/5.

And that’s a wrap for today. Have you had either of today’s offerings? Let me know what you thought!