Bard’s Tale Gluten Free Beer has been on The Brew Club’s beer-tasting radar since I reviewed another gluten free beer, Redbridge some months ago.
I thought that Redbridge by Anheuser-Busch was decent in its own right, but I had been reading a lot about how Bard’s ‘Original Sorghum Malt Beer’ was the best of the gluten free beers available.
The Bard’s Tale Beer is considered an American Lager and it weighs in at 4.6% ABV. The most important information regarding this beer is its ingredient list, which is quite simple. Water, Sorghum, Hops and Yeast. Also important is what is NOT in the beer like wheat, barley, rye or oats.
Why is this important? Well, most beer uses wheat, barley or other grains which contain a protein called gluten. People with Celiac disease have an intolerance to gluten and so beers that are made with barley or wheat become something to avoid. This means most beers are off limit to those with Ciliac disease. Not cool.
Bard’s Tale Beer uses Sorghum in place of barley which is naturally gluten free, and has been used for years in many parts of the world to make beer. FYI, Redbridge is also a sorghum based beer.
So how does the Bard’s Beer stand up on its own as a beer regardless of my dietary needs? I’m not restricted to gluten free beers, so I’m going to treat this beer like any other, but I will keep in mind my thoughts regarding the Redbridge beer, perhaps I’ll come away with a favorite gluten free beer!
Bard’s Tale Beer pours into my glass somewhat flatly – you can see in the picture taken right after the pour that there isn’t much head. It appears an clear amber color, and held up to the light it it perfectly clear. No ‘stuff’ floating around in this beer!
Smelling the sorghum beer, I need to recheck that this is a lager! I’m not sure how this is brewed or if all sorghum based beers are lagered, but the look and smell of this beer say ‘ale’ to me, not ‘lager’. The color, the smell, and as we will see, even the taste are surprizing for a lager. But I guess this isn’t a typical lager then!
Still, the scent was mostly malty. Very malty I would say. To me, a malty smelling beer is not a bad thing – I like ’em malty! There was a bit of a flowery, honey type of aroma too, (a little sweet) but it was secondary to the strong malt. I thought it was nice.
Getting on to the taste I would say that the Bards tastes very much like it smells. Mostly malty. According to the Bards Tale Beer website, they use a proprietary ‘malted sorghum‘, along with Hersbrucker and Tettenang hops. The malted sorghum wins in the flavor department, and the baer’s balance is heavily in its favor. Again, the general taste surprises me for a lager! The mouthfeel is decent, and its got some body to it. The beer goes down slick, and it leaves a slightly bitter aftertaste and some lingering dryness.
As I think about the Bard’s Tale gluten free beer and how to best describe it, I think its best to leave it simple. Its definitely on the malty side, and while its technically a lager, it isn’t like any typical lager I’ve ever had. Its got a good flavor that I think anyone could enjoy – even people like me who don’t have any dietary restrictions.
Would I have it again? Yup. I really liked the maltiness and I think its a good package overall. I’m going to give it a respectable 3 1/2 stars and if you go by that rating its better (to me) than the Redbridge gluten free beer.
FYI, we’ve put together a list of other gluten-free beers over on the Redbridge post if you want to check it out. Also, the folks at GlutenFree.com offer 650 gluten free products that you might want to check out as well.
Have you had Bard’s Tale gluten free beer? What did you think of it? Do you have a favorite gluten-free beer we should review next?