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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Epic Brewing Company Glutenator: Review

Available now at Siciliano's
By Doug Dorda

Having thus far detailed the umbrella flavor profiles of gluten-free (GF) beers fermented with sorghum and kombucha—they being either sweet and fruity (New Grist, Bard's, Redbridge) or savory and tart (Unity Vibrations)—the gluten intolerant may wonder if they are to be subject to an endless rearranging of the aforementioned fermentables to the constant avail of, “It’s all I have available to me.”

To their extreme credit, Epic Brewing Company noticed the trend and saw fit to enter into the arms race of ale-ternative offerings. Enter Glutenator, an ale fermented with millet, sweet potato, molasses and brown rice, effectively allowing it to stand apart from its brethren and become something unique in a seemingly unidirectional world.

Aromas of sweet potato and molasses dance lively out of the glass and provide the opening act for the enjoyment of this ale. Not to be outdone, a lively cascade (see what I’m getting at here) of american hops burst through the fermentables' assertions and guide imbibers to new taste perceptions in GF beers. For all the aromas of molasses and yam, one may wonder if it lingers on the palate, or would be perceived as “large bodied.” I’m here to confirm that this is simply not the case. Glutenator plays across the tongue with a medium-light body, mingling tastes reminiscent of fruity esters akin to those found in many of our favorite Anglo-Saxon styles of beer. One may also be surprised to discover that the levels of carbonation in the ale work to breed a sense of familiarity in a drinker's mind and further the illusion that this ale may have been fermented with either wheat or barley.

The question I have been attempting to provide answers for with this series remains this: “Do any of these gluten-free beers taste like traditional beer?” And often the response is a muddled philosophical delve into past beer preferences, etc. Glutenator, however, provides a new answer to the question at hand. This GF offering provides a beer that tastes similar to the beer we intend when we cast these words toward a friend, “I just want a beer, man.” Here is a beer that can be found wondrous if tasted academically, and simply enjoyed when we want for nothing but a chair and a little of Michigan’s beauty to behold. I mean to say this, you may taste this ale and find yourself blissfully unaware of its gluten free origin. Also, here is an ale crafted to exist outside of stylistic definitions and is therefore unencumbered by preconceived notions of how it should taste. It simply is, and simply is good.

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