Green's Gluten Free Beer - Quest Tripel Blond Ale

Ok, this is going to be an article where I stray from my form.  Unfortunately, my only form is ‘review beers I like’.  Sometimes I need to help out those around me who don’t share the same dietary concerns as I do and need a little guidance.  Well, for all those people who have the very serious celiacs disease, and even those of you internet MDs that “no, dude, I totally get all gassy from pancakes”, I have reviewed a gluten-free beer from a gluten-free brewery.  These beers are also vegan for all those types.  Lord knows they probably need a drink.  Besides all this, the bottle touts that it is not made with “Wheat/soya beans, milk, lactose, nuts, celery, mustard, sesame seeds, sulfur dioxide, or sulfites.”  Nice of them to mention, but I can’t say I’ve had much beers with a whole condiment bar in them.

This beer hails from Belgium, as good a shingle to hang as any.  The DeProef Brouwerij is a high-tech facility that brews beer for third parties, such as Green’s.  Green’s is actually a UK company.  Surprising how far the gluten-free thing has gone, isn’t it?  This particular beer is brewed with millet, buckwheat, rice, and sorghum, all guaranteed to at least be fermentable, free of gluten, and won’t kill you.  There’s also hops and malts because it is still a beer, despite it all.  At 8.5% alcohol by volume, at least you won’t have to drink much of it.  While I know I’m being a bit pessimistic about it, I went into this one with an open mind.  Heck, I don’t want to think I wasted my money more than any other guy, but at least it only cost one vampire slayer ($5 bill) for about 16oz.  I suppose it is the perfectionist in me just not being able to accept a beer made from these ingredients.  Sorghum has too any un-fermentable sugars, rice adds nothing but booze, and millet and buckwheat aren’t exactly popular ingredients.  So, I suppose check your preconception at the door and let’s see how it tastes.
Ok, it pours a hazy kind of amber yellow with a very big, frothy head.  It retains pretty well to, but it ultimately leaves a bit of lacing behind.  The nose has a strong apple and white grape quality to it, with a distinct tripel yeasty hit.  You can kind of get that corny adjunct note to it from the rice.  Honestly, not too off-putting.  I’d even welcome a kind of apple-hinted blond tripel.  The taste however…  I feel like hoping for that apple-hinted blond tripel released some kind of spiteful genie.  My wish was granted, but in the most backwards way possible.  While an apple note in beer usually denotes a tart granny smith or a sweet golden delicious, this is one of those apples your hippie mother warned you about.  Just all the sweetness bred out of it, leaving a waxy red tree potato.  In fact, I would say the actual flavor of the beer has more in common with just straight up apple peels rather than an actual apple.  Very vegetable and medicinal.  With this one, they really could have used more hops.  It would have improved it by covering up that bad bitter with good bitter.  After a few more tastes, I started to get a bit of a taste for it.  Unfortunately, after a few tastes and time to warm up, the boozy heat really becomes a nuisance.  Almost as if someone just put a shot of vodka into the bottle.  Not good vodka either, but not exactly plastic jug hobo-fuel.
I am not exactly an expert on gluten-free beers, and I guess I can see why.  In my pursuit for good beer to drink, it understandably didn’t come across my plate.  But the star-crossed purchase of this bottle served me well in reminding that not all beer is created equal.  They flew too close to the sun trying to replicate an already finicky style, so I would recommend out celiacs suffering friends try something a little less cured by their hubris.  Maybe the gluten (and sorghum) free Fox Tail by Joseph James.