Unrepentant beer drinkers, rejoice! Each week, Short Order will
select one craft or import beer and give you the lowdown on it: How
does it taste? What should you drink it with? Where can you find it?
But mostly, it's all about the love of the brew. If you have a beer
you'd like featured in Beer of the Week, let us know via a comment.
For our first edition of Beer of the Week, we're bringing you a rather unconventional brew: Lakefront Brewery's New Grist. It's a beer brewed not with wheat or barley but with sorghum, a tropical grain typical of the Southwest Pacific, and rice extract. That means New Grist is gluten-free, making it a perfect choice for those with intolerance to wheat. It's also just a damned fine, highly drinkable beer that's perfect for the approaching spring and summer months here in Florida.
Critique and more after the jump:
New Grist is classified as a "session beer," a phrase you don't
hear bandied about much these days. Basically, a session beer refers to
a brew that is low enough in alcohol content (typically under 5 percent) that
you can sit and imbibe it over long sessions. These types of beer will
also typically be highly drinkable, with a very clean finish and little
Does New Grist deliver there? Absolutely. The first thing you notice
when you crack one of these puppies open is a mildly floral aroma more
reminiscent of a cider than a beer. I got the feeling after smelling it
that I actually wouldn't like it: I'm usually not a fan of ciders,
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especially the more pungent ones that can sometimes turn sour in your
mouth. But New Grist avoids that pitfall. It's crisp without being bitey and slightly sweet without becoming saccharine. It's very light-bodied, and if you take a look at the head, you'll see the foam is airy and the carbonation level is high. It's not very aggressive in either the malt or hops department, in fact, and pretty much leaves your mouth after a few seconds.
So when would New Grist be a good choice? I'd enjoy it on a hot day from a thin glass (probably best to avoid a mugs or frosted glasses with this one) or even paired with light foods like cold pastas and salads. I had mine with a roasted vegetable burrito, which was actually more like a wrap, and it complemented it fairly well. Still, you could probably come up with a dozen other beer choices that would pair better with food, as New Grist isn't really sturdy enough to stand up to most meals.