I have never been a big beer drinker but I do miss the occasional pint on a patio in the summer. Last week, the Toronto Star rated a new gluten free beer – the first to be brewed in Ontario. Although you can’t call it ‘beer’ since Health Canada’s labelling rules state that beer must contain at least some barley or wheat, this beer-type drink is called “Nickel Brook Gluten Free.” The ‘beer’ is produced by Burlington-based brewery Better Bitters. It is brewed from sorghum syrup and pear juice and it is available at the LCBO for $2.95 for a 473 mL can. The beer received a 2 out of 4 for taste from The Star, mainly due to the fact that the ‘beer’ didn’t taste like the real thing. One thing that differentiates this beer from other gluten free beers such a La Messagere (brewed in Quebec), however, is the brew’s bitter finish, which comes from the addition of American hops, which Better Bitters hopes will add some character to their product.
Although I haven’t tried this new beer yet, I am curious to try it out and compare to other products that have attempted to create a gluten free beer. Unfortunately, similar to gluten free bread, I do not think anyone can ever replicate the same taste of beer without wheat or barley. However, I do applaud the efforts of these breweries and thank them for thinking of the celiacs every now and again.