Beer contains barley, and if you're one of the millions of people who can't tolerate gluten, regular beer is out. To fill the void, some brews are crafted with a barley substitute—the Ground Breaker is brewed with roasted chestnuts and lentils. The Estrella and Stone beers contain barley but also have an enzyme that reduces the gluten to fewer than 10 parts per million, well below the 20 ppm required by the FDA for gluten-free products. Here are three worth trying:
Estrella Damm Daura, $2.50-$3
This has a bright straw pour with a thin head, and the aromas are subtle and dominated by lightly bitter grain. First impression: It reminds me of the Bitburger Drive I drank when I was on alcohol prohibitive medication. Soft grain, sweet citrus, apple, smooth malt with just a kiss of hops. The Daura is a drinkable Euro lager.
Ground Breaker IPA No. 5, $3-$3.50
This amber brew sports the thinnest of heads. On the nose, there's a big hit of pine laden hops; on the palate, there's a big hit of pine laden hops. There are some citrus and tropical notes as well, but this is a hop-driven brew that should appeal to those who love Northwest IPAs.
Stone Delicious IPA, $5-$6
Poured from a 22-ounce bomber, it's a hazy straw in the glass topped by a two-finger head that leaves a nice lacing. This IPA opens with orange, lemon and lime aromas, along with some resiny hops, which are evident on the palate as well, with an almost smoky quality, while the malt kicks in mid-palate. It's a beautifully balanced brew with a smooth, dry finish.