Lakefront Brewery

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Lakefront's New Grist Sets the Standard for Gluten-Free Beers

May 05, 2020

By Jerard Fagerberg, May 05, 2020

Lakefront Brewery worked hard for that little “GF” on the label of New Grist. New Grist was the first gluten-free beer granted label approval by the U.S. Government. The no-barley pilsner has been wearing that label with pride since it won GABF gold in 2006, back when sorghum still qualified you for the “experimental” category. That was a decade and a half ago, and while New Grist might be the first certified celiac-friendly beer, is it still the best?

New Grist’s clarity is almost unsettling. It looks more like a weak tea than a Bohemian pilsner. The dingy body immediately raises that concern that what you’re drinking isn’t, in fact, beer. The aroma makes up for what the beer lacks in body. There’s a seductive nuttiness and a full yeasty nose. It just feels like it’s missing a key aspect to the pilsner experience.

Great pilsners are built off the bready warmth of pilsner malt, and that’s partly what keeps New Grist from being great. Sorghum is a tricky malt. It can trample a beer’s flavor, giving off a sour apple flavor similar to acetaldehyde. Balanced well, it can impart a refreshing hint of lime (thus the gose version of New Grist). Lakefront offsets their sorghum with rice, a simple move that makes the beer all the more familiar to American lager lovers. It’s also less filling than your traditional pilsner, so you can take down a six-pack of this no problem.

Celiac and gluten-sensitive drinkers, you don’t have a better option. New Grist not only set the standard for zero-gluten beer, but it still maintains that standard. It might never measure up to a real-deal German lager, but few things do. At least this comes close.

ZX Ventures, a division within AB InBev, is an investor in October
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