As I mentioned in my recap of walking around the Great American Beer Festival, pretzels give me serious bloat nowadays. I’m not a celiac, and beer doesn’t seem to upset my tummy the way some wheat products do, but these gastro-intestinal changes that have come with crossing halfway into my thirties have made me appreciate the presence (and continual refinement) of gluten-free beer.
Plenty of gluten-free beers are disgusting and strange—tasting like weird malted rice cakes or worse. Brunehaut Blonde Ale, however, tastes good. Not great, but good. It is full of verve—exploding in the glass with a fast-frothing head—and proves enduringly crisp and flavorful on the palate. The trick here, I think, is that they brew with barley and extract the gluten later. This beer comes from Belgium, where gluten-free has nowhere near the novelty it enjoys here, so it is marked instead, “GLUTEN < 5PPM," which is pretty much the same thing. No farts.