Thursday, May 14, 2009

New Grist Beer

My after-college housemates had a friend they went to high school with and her husband that we sporadically partied with. These two were basically professional students, having some interesting side jobs to supplement their incomes in the meantime. Cool (and responsible) people, too. The one expense they didn't need to worry about was rent or mortgage. You see, they landed this gig house-sitting for an ultra-rich European family and their home in Greenwich, Connecticut. And they NEVER visited. Must be nice. Now if you are not familiar with Greenwich, think rich and big. (My son was actually born at Greenwich Hospital, and let me tell you that it's like a country club). And this house was in the neighborhood of Tommy Hilfiger and his family. How do I know that? Well, as this couple tells the story, one Sunday they were sitting around in their sweats doing nothing when Tommy and his daughter knocked on the door. They were selling holiday wrapping paper for her school fundraiser. How quaint. I can't remember if they bought any.

Well we also had a few parties there that were very fun. Even fun despite my housemate backing over a lamp post in the driveway and the same housemate knocking a beer bottle from a shelf into their very expensive porcelain sink, shattering it. Not my problem, but I still felt bad. But responsible housesitter didn't even come up with a lie that it was a perfume bottle or something else; nope, she told the truth and the problem got fixed and went away.

Today I am drinking New Grist Beer brewed by Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This beer is apparently made from Sorghum and Rice, so of course I did the logical thing and looked online to see what the hell Sorghum is. I guess it's one of the top five grains in the world. The other thing about this beer is that there is no wheat and no barley in it, just sorghum and rice for grains, unique.

New Grist Beer has interesting aromatics to it. Grainy and sweet, in a weird way. The flavors, well let me tell you the rest of the story. Slightly sweet, carbonated, earthy, dirty, a little fruity apple. If I stopped there, you might think I enjoyed this beer. Let me stop you. This beer is HORRIBLE! I dumped it down the sink and cracked open a Sam Adams to kill the flavors left behind--I am actually gargling right now. Funky, weird, bad flavors, not balanced, and an even worse aftertaste might prompt me to call Total Wine just to let them know they should not even sell this shit.

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37 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi, Beer Drinker.
"New Grist" is the beer proof that no good deed goes unpunished.
My wife's boss is gluten intolerant and can't drink beer. I thought I'd take one for the team and try this sorghum concoction.
What a nice guy I am right? How altruistic, right? Yeah, sure. In this case, spell my name 's-c-h-u-m-c-k."
I'm not in the same league as you are when it comes to being able to discern aromas, alcohol, etc. (but thanks to you I'm happily moving in that direction!). Still, I can tell a bad beer when I taste one and this is a bad beer. What a mess! It had no outstanding flavors, it seemed to have a different taste with each sip and the overall aroma was at best faint but usually non-existent. Because I didn't have the sense to pour it out like you did, I tried the stuff at various times as it warmed. All I got for my efforts was a __________ (fill in the blank with your favorite expletive) headache.
I will never buy this again (at least not for my personal consumption) and I am hesitant to try other brews (they don't get to be called beer until they pass the taste test)made from alternate sources. After my experience with 'New Grist' I've decided if I ever am diagnosed with a gluten intolerance, I'm just going to be sick because I'm not giving up beer.
Thanks for your reviews! You've added a new layer of beer shopping and drinking enjoyment for me.
-Groucho-Wan

Beer Drinker said...

Hey Groucho-Wan.

I can't say I didn't warn you, but at least you were suffering for a good cause. It truly is one of the worst beers I have ever had, and that includes the ones that a desperate college student will drink.

Thanks for the nice words about the website as well. I aim to please.

Anonymous said...

Hello Beer Drinker;

I have yet to try 'New Grist' and after your review I hesitate more. My husband has gone gluten-free due to different 'ale-ments' associated with gluten. Not drinking beer has almost killed him. We have tried several kinds to help replace the longing. Bard's Tale out of Norwalk, CT is a good substitute for the real thing. Hope you try it and let me know what you think.

-Tammy from CT

Beer Drinker said...

Hi Tammy. Thanks for your comment and I hope your husband finds something he can enjoy. Although I stand by my dislike for this beer, here is a different point of view and some comments show the Beer Babe isn't alone. http://www.beer-babe.com/2009/06/lakefront-brewery-new-grist-beer.html

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link to the review. We'll have to give the beer a try after all. I'm probably giving you more information than you've ever wanted to know about Gluten-free beer but, Greens (can be found at Whole Foods) makes a gluten-free triple stout, or so we've heard. We're looking forward to trying it come colder weather. It is true that if you're unable to have beer, something made with sorghum is better than nothing. Thanks for your quick reply.

Tammy from CT

Beer Drinker said...

Tammy, go for it. And don't bother waiting for cold weather for the stout. I'm sure your hubby would enjoy that right now! Let me know what you think.

Anonymous said...

My digestive system pooped out last winter and I found myself among the growing cult of gluten-free creeple-people. We live in your cities, drive around with you on the road, service your equipment, sell you financial products, stand right next to you in the shopping line. We're everywhere and you don't know. Those of us who can't give up beer drink Bard's or New Grist (forget that Green's, it is so named after the color of your face after you drink it), and it isn't so bad once you get used to it. But I have to tell you, gluten free is no big deal really. We can still have any meat, vegetables and fruit and there are plenty of grains available. What I miss are the thousands of locally brewed beers in this fine land, but I digress. If I have to read any more screeds degrading the taste of this determinedly passable New Grist beer I will have to wish chemicalia upon you insensitive masses that will put your stomachs in the same grip of Celiac disease. New Grist is a decent beer, got it? Okay, that's settled.

Beer Drinker said...

Hey Anonymous. Sorry you are unable to continue on with all the other beers, but I'm happy you've found something you can drink. Me, I really didn't like New Grist at all, but a few comments above yours, I did put a link to a differing opinion. Here it is again. http://www.beer-babe.com/2009/06/lakefront-brewery-new-grist-beer.html. There are lots of beers I don't like, not just New Grist, and I've said as much. For example, the one I had last night.

Cooking Asshole said...

That anti-gluten guy acts like a fucking political prisoner!

Who gives a fuck you can't have gluten? Sounds like a personal problem to me. Don't burden us with your shit, asshole.

Oh by the way, my PacNW microbrew is oh so good and you can't have any, loser!

igoogle said...

I picked up a six pack of New Grist this evening in anticipation of my test results likely to require a Gluten free diet...

I hesitated...and hesitated trying it because I expected it to taste like crap.

I broke down and gave it a try.

Here's what I would describe it as:

- Minimal carbonation
- Very fruit tasting
- Almost reminds me of a Sauvignon Blanc wine
- Light body

I would summarize it as similar to a dry white wine wine with some carbonation but with a beer background.

It isn't a regular beer by any means, but it was something that, even if I don't have to go on a Gluten free diet, was interesting/different and something that I think I would like to have again.

Beer Drinker said...

Hey igoogle.

Hope you don't need to go gluten free, but if you do, at least you're prepared.

Anonymous said...

I have Celiacs disease and as such my beer choices are extremely limited. It's been years since I've had a normal beer, but to my taste buds, this tastes great.

The fact that you took a sip, spit it out, and then chugged a Sam Adams shows that you're really not the audience for this beer.

Don't try and cause me to lose another choice. You've got hundreds to chose from, I have about 12. Let me drink what I like, and I like this beer a lot.

Beer Drinker said...

Hey Anonymous.

I'd hardly say I didn't give this beer a chance. I had no idea what to expect and had never heard of it before I tried it.

I did not take only one sip and I didn't spit any of it out. The fact that I needed something to kill the taste has nothing to do with my opinion; rather it highlights it.

If you like it, terrific. I even pointed to other reviewers that said they like it too. But I hated it!

I hear there's a brewery called Bard's that has gluten free beer too, if you haven't heard of them. I haven't tried those beers.

Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

I just tried this beer for the first time today and I love it. As a home brewer, as well as a guy who has downed a lot of beer over 35 years or so (I'm 52), I'm not exactly a beer novice.

I don't have celiac disease, so there's no "medical" need for me to drink this brew (except, of cpurse, as a pleasant source for good 'ol "vitamin A.") Nonetheless, it's now one of my favorite beers, joining Orval (Trappist ale); Duvel (another top-fermented Belgian);, Grain Belt premium (a superb lager); and Koshihikari Echigu (Japanese rice-based brew).

Some guy said he much prefered a Sam Adams. Now THAT'S A SHITTY BEER -- heavy, cloying, over-hyped, overprioed garbage.

New Grist is excellent!

Beer Drinker said...

Thanks for the comment, Anonymous.

I'm glad you found another beer you like. You certainly have company in that regard, even those that don't drink it for medical reasons.

But, sorry, I don't change my mind. New Grist is terrible! That "guy who said he preferred a Sam Adams", that guy was me. And I wholeheartedly disagree about your analysis of that beer. "Delicious" is the word I was thinking of.

But even though we disagree, we can still hang out. I'll make sure to have some Broccoli, Carrots, Milk and Eggs to serve with the Sammys too, because that's how I get my Vitamin A.

Talk to you soon.

Ed Roberts said...

This is a beer that is basically for celiacs. Our other options here are Redbridge which is more popular & seems to get better review from people who try it. We also have the Green's beers from Belgium that I think anyone could appreciate. I show them to celiacs to try as a special treat or if they want to share something with a craft beer fan.

Vegas said...

I just tried New Grist beer and it's a perfectly fine beer. (And I am a total Sam Adams fan.) Only one store in my area sells it, so I need to stock up in case it goes out of business. (The store didn't look to get too much traffic.) I hope other breweries can create a similar concoction.

Beer Drinker said...

Stock up why? Are you planning on getting the gluten disease? You said you're a big Sam Adams fan.

Are you starting a business to cater to glutenites? If not, stick to Sam Adams or branch out to other beers, because your "perfectly fine" description of this beer doesn't otherwise warrant a stock up. Adequate is not really a stellar review.

There are several new gluten free beers out there now if you want to stock your new business too.

In addition, I've had a few more dump beers since my first New Grist, and I don't think it is absolute #1 most horrible of all time, but it's still bottom 10. That's generous!

Anonymous said...

As a southerner who loves sorghum syrup with butter on a hot biscuit, I wasn't really sure what to expect. I liked the fruitiness of it and felt that it is similar to the Raison D'etre by Dogfish Head. I was happy to try it. Am I gonna chug it by the barrel full, nope. Will I buy it again, sure thing chicken wing. I think it will be lovely with a nice roasted pork dish...and I look forward to trying it.

Beer Drinker said...

Thank you for weighing in, anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Bard's beer = awesome gluten free beer. It's $10 a six pack but totally worth it. It's better than most normal beers. I had my mom over for the Super Bowl and used it to simmer my brats in because she has Celiac disease. I was shocked about how good this beer tasted on a brat and out of the bottle. You have no idea until you try it. I am a beer snob and love all of the micro brews I can get my hands on. I have to give it up to Bard's. They did an unbelievable job with this beer. The owner at the local liquor store said the rest of the gluten free beer are horrible tasting and he is extremely wise when it comes to beer.

Beer Drinker Rob said...

Hi there. I've heard that about Bard's, but it's not available here in Florida. I will certainly give it a try when I bump into it. Thanks for the comment.

TomParker said...

Every once in a while you hear about some guy stuck on a raft in some ocean who has to drink his own urine. New Grist is how I imagine that might taste (although possibly worse, because after a few days with nothing to drink, urine might taste pretty damn good). For some strange reason, Redbridge is the only gluten-free beer made by a major brewery. It's also the only drinkable one. The rest (Bards included) are all awful. See: urine, raft.

Beer Drinker Rob said...

Hey Tom.

Very funny. You know it's been almost 2 years since I wrote this post and it is still very popular. It might be time to suck it up and drink New Grist again.

I am obviously not Gluten intolerant, but my sister-in-law is and she likes that Redbridge. I tried it. Meh, whatever. It shut her up which was what I was going for anyway.

I'd try Bards but I'd probably try something else if I couldn't drink good beer, and I'm not excluding urine.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

I HAVE NEVER POSTED OR RESPONDED TO ANY ARTICLE OR BLOG - GENERALLY, I FIND INTERNET CHATTER ILL-INFORMED, BORING, DOWNRIGHT IDIOTIC AND MEAN SPIRITED, AND THOSE ARE THE GOOD THINGS I CAN SAY ABOUT IT - HOWEVER, I FEEL I MUST COMMENT HERE - I RECENTLY AND RATHER UNPLEASANTLY BECAME AWARE OF A PROBLEM WITH GLUTEN RELATED PRODUCTS - I LOVE BEER AND HAVE DONE SINCE MY DAYS LIVING AT THE ALPHA SIGMA PHI HOUSE (IF YOU DO NOT LIKE BEER WHEN YOU JOIN A FRATERNITY, BELIEVE ME, YOU SOON WILL)- I LOVED THOSE DAYS, I MET MY WIFE AT A MIXER WITH DELTA GAMMA SORORTIY - BEER WAS, AS ONE BROTHER LYRICALLY STATED, "AN ENDLESSS RIVER OF GUZZLE THAT NEVER STOPPED FLOWING.." I DRANK ALL MANNER OF BEERS AND GAINED AN EVEN GREATER LOVE FOR IT TOURING GERMANY, BELGIUM AND MY BELOVED GREAT BRITAIN (ENGLISH BITTER, SCOTTISH BEER, WELSH ALES, IRISH STOUTS!)- AND THEN, TO MY HORROR A FORTNIGHT AGO I FOUND OUT THAT I WAS GLUTEN INTOLERANT. OH, THE SHAME OF IT ALL! I WAS DEPRESSED UNTIL NEW GRIST SAVED ME AND BROUGHT ME BACK FROM THE JAWS OF A SADDENED, EMPTY BEER BOTTLE OF A LIFE - VIVE L' NEW GRIST!!!!! IT IS TASTY, FEATURES A JAUNTY, EDWARDIAN ERA LABEL AND IS DEEPLY SATISFYING - I WILL SAY NO MORE, BUT THIS TIRADE AGAINST SUCH A FINE PRODUCT SIMPLY CANNOT GO UNANSWERED - SORGHUM WITH RICE EXTRACT BEER IS...WELL, MAGNIFIQUE!!! HAIL NEW GRIST!!

Beer Drinker Rob said...

Wow, glad to be your first, Anonymous. And I'm glad you found such a wonderful product that you enjoy. I've always said you should drink what appeals to you and tell everyone else to mind their own fucking business.

As for the tirade, well, I call it like I see it based exclusively on taste and aroma and sometimes financial considerations. I am not anti-macro producer if they put out a good product (unfortunately, they usually don't). And I don't talk down to people, and though I don't think "boring" has been used to describe this blog, "mean-spirited, idiotic and ill-informed" have probably happened here on several occasions. But then again, maybe you're saying this post doesn't match those "good" things, considering you have stepped up to make a comment. Whatever.

You should pitch your story to the New Grist makers. Perhaps they might make you a spokesman. However, I'd be sure to turn off the ALL CAPS LOCK button on your computer first.

Oh, and as for the tirade going unanswered, did you pay attention to any of the other comments? There are plenty of New Grist supporters.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Beer Drinker Rob!

Thanks for replying to my first ever post. Let me apologize for the apparent misunderstanding my screed caused -I did mot mean to imply that your blog (which I actuallly enjoy very much) had any of those negative characteristics which I attributed to the "evil internet" in general -please forgive my computer blogging naivete - my wife informed me that communicating via all caps is "like yelling at people," and, although I have been known to speak loudly and carry a big stick, it was never my intent to yell or be obnoxious to you or the fine individuals that frequent your site - I am actually a friendly fellow and beloved by many of my neighbors, many of whom are avid beer imbibers - as a noted philosopher from my native Los Angeles once said, "....can't we all just get along?" Live Long and Prosper -

Beer Drinker Rob said...

Don't apologize. This post is more than two years old and still very popular. It sucks to be in your position of not having whatever beer you want.

Sure we can all get along, but you might want to avoid some of the riff-raff that wanders this site's streets. LOL.

Anyway, comment when you see fit. Not everyone will agree with you, but this is an opinion site.

Ashley Sue said...

I am so glad Mr.Fraternity-met-Sorority-Wife-And-Realized-He's-Gluten-Intolerant wrote again. :) I kept thinking, "This guy seems to be giving a good comment, but I'm so blinded by the caps it's hard to make sense of. Doesn't he see no one else is yelling in their comments?!" Hehahehae

Anyhow, I am happy he found a beer that speaks to him, and indeed, I am just learning now I may also be gluten-intolerant, and am literally heading to Total Wine now to see what selection they have.

While I'm def a little more nervous to try New Grist now, I probably still will, as well as Bard's Tale... especially if New Grist is cheaper than Bard's.

Great post, and awesome thread of comments. Thank you! And thank you for your awesome sense of candor and humor in your post, Rob.

Beer Drinker Rob said...

Hey Ashley Sue. Is your avatar a picture of you marrying Elton John? Wow! No, double wow!

I don't know who invented this gluten intolerance disease, but they should be millionaires by now. How come I never heard of it just a few years ago?

OK. Before I get a handful of, "Doctors finally figured out the problem" and "Our disease went unrecognized for so long" type answers, I'll just throw in the towel and say fine. But there is too much self-diagnosis in this country and people whining about little things.

Anyway, Ashley Sue, if I were you, I'd pick up a few of each. And grab Redbridge while you're at it. Total Wine lets you try single bottles before you make any commitment. And tell them I said hello.

Thank you for your comment and compliment. You are welcome back anytime :)

Seven Says... said...

I don't know who invented this gluten intolerance disease, but they should be millionaires by now. How come I never heard of it just a few years ago?

Enjoying all this chatter about gluten free beers, even if you did write your original post two years ago, LOL! Just tried my first New Grist and actually liked it, but then, I'm not a fan of the heavy, dark beers and ales. I'd rather drink crankcase oil. Though when I poured the New Grist into a glass I was surprised at how light it was...adds a whole new dimension to the concept of "piss-water" beers...

My pre-gluten choices were Henry Weinhard's and the Mexican beer Bohemia.

Beer Drinker Rob said...

Hey Seven Says.

Well, I'm glad you have a sense of humor. You're gonna need it around here.

Never had Henry Weinhard's beer but Bohemia is solid.

Thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

First I want to say I need to eat gluten free to avoid diarrhea and stomach cramps. Now if you want a beer you can either be sick or drink gluten free. My opinion on New Grist - I purchased just one bottle @ Wholefood to see how it was: At first swig I almost poured it out, however I decided to keep going and it did get better. By the end I made the decision to go out and buy a few 6 packs. It is different but than so is everything gluten free. I found it light, fruity and (call me a light weight) after 1 bottle I had a buzz.

If you need to eat gluten free and want a beer; try it with a positive outlook.

Beer Drinker Rob said...

Hey Anonymous. Thanks for your comment. I recently found out that Hard Ciders can be pretty spectacular and they are gluten free. Try some from Crispin or Fox Barrel. I would rather drink water from the East River than New Grist, though. :)

Anonymous said...

I take exception to your phrase "the gluten disease". What a poor uninformed soul. First of all do you mean Celiac's disease? If you were around in the latter part of the 17th century you would probably be stoning witches!! The human body was not designed to process gluten, some 1 out 100 people in the U.S. have Celiac's and another 2 million have it and don't know it. I wish they wouldn't label New Grist as being beer but that's not the fault of Celiac's....it's a different beverage all together. In the meantime get your out of the stone age and accept people for who they are.

Anonymous said...

I really feel sorry for misinformed bigots like yourself......It would be ironic if you were among the 2+ million people that go through life undiagnosed with Celiac's......

Beer Drinker Rob said...

Dude/ette. Celiac's disease is a Gluten intolerance disease. I'm pretty sure saying the "gluten disease" is hardly uninformed or barbaric as you suggest. Take your "exceptions" somewhere else. In fact, even the Celiacs support website http://www.csaceliacs.info/history_of_celiac_disease.jsp calls it by its medical name "gluten sensitive enteropathy." So stop being so sensitive!

Grow up. Celiac is just another made up word anyway that originated from another made up word from the second century.

Would it bother you if I told you that Widmer Brothers now makes two Barley beers called "Omission" that they then remove the gluten? Go try that.