It was therefore a matter of concern to me to find gluten free beers that I could drink.
To date I have tried Estrella Damm Daura, Green's Gluten Free Beers, Nick Stafford's Hambleton Ales GFL and GFA, and St Peter's G-Free beer, all of which I have been pleased with.
I was therefore very interested when I was contacted by Lucy from Instinctive PR about one of her clients, a Belgium craft beer maker who produced two gluten free beers. Lucy was interested to hear my verdict of the beers and kindly offered to send me some samples.
Daas Beers are apparently the only brewer in Belgium to carry both the UK Soil Association Organic certification and the Belgian Certsys certification. They are based in the Belgium province of Hainaut which has a reputation for fine hand crafted beers.
From September their two gluten free beers have been available to buy in the UK. They are stocked by Waitrose and Ocado and apparently also by some health food shops - somewhat unusual I would think for a beer!
I read up about the beer before the samples arrived and found out that secondary fermentation occurs inside the bottle to mature and carbonate the beer naturally in a similar way (apparently) to the production of Champagne. Beer made using a process similar to making champagne sounded intriguing!
The samples arrived and I must admit my original intention had been to cook with them however the day they arrived had been a particularly long and difficult one and my husband and I decided that instead we would do a serious taste test and just drink them!
|Daas Ambre Gluten Free Beer|
First we opened the Daas Ambre, listed as a "traditional rich and complex Belgian amber ale".
The beer poured well and had a really great malty aroma. I mean it as a compliment to say that it tasted like any other "ordinary" ale! It reminded me strongly of another beer I'd had before, a gluten beer, but I couldn't remember which one (and sadly cannot run a taste test to find it anymore!). There was nothing "free from" about the taste of the Daas Ambre.
It was quite smooth tasting, managing to be both sweet and dry at the same time and a good hop taste. It was the sort of beer I could happily (given half the chance) work through a pack of without any trouble at all.
In addition to being gluten free the Daas Ambre is also suitable for vegans. The ingredients are listed as Water, Malted Barley, Hops and Yeast with the hops and barley being organic.
|Daas Blond Gluten Free Beer|
Next we opened the Daas Blond.
This beer received a "Commended" in the Soil Association Organic Food Awards in 2009 and is a golden "larger" style beer.
My husband and I have very different palates and it was interesting that whilst the Ambre was my favourite, he preferred the Blond (typical woman I go for the strong dark silent type and he, being a typical bloke, goes for the blond lol).
Whilst the Amber reminded me of any good ale, the Blond had a totally unique flavour. That was the appeal for my husband but as I never used to like lagers it wasn't my preference.
Don't get me wrong, it is still a great beer! It had a sweet, almost honey taste with a slightly spicy finish. It is also vegan (as well as gluten free) and also 6.5% ABV with the same ingredients listed as the Ambre.
Both the beers showed that "free from" beers can rightly take their place alongside their gluten filled counterparts. They were strong, complex and pleasurable to drink - something that is a huge relief to a poor ale loving coeliac like me!
For more information about Daas Beers visit their website http://www.daasbeer.com/.
Ocado and Waitrose stock Daas Blond, with it retailing at £2.54 for a 330ml bottle (£.7.70 per litre). It is also available from a number of health and organic online shops.
Thanks once again to Lucy for the chance to try these new beers - and if anyone else out there would like me to taste their gluten free beers *ahem* please feel free to contact me ;-)