Five gluten-free beers go head to head as we search for refreshment.

It’s that time of year, when grills come out of storage and baseball occupies a few hours of the airwaves almost every day; when boats are launched and tents are pitched. A chilled beer goes great with it all, so what’s a gluten-free summer lover to do? We’ve found five different beers so far and here is our un-scientific analysis. When it comes to describing flavor, we are no experts, but here is our best shot. If you know of any other GF beers, please send us the name and where you bought it, and we’ll add it to the list. Also keep in mind that ciders (apple, pear) are generally gluten-free, too, and come in a much wider variety from sweet to dry.

Bard’s: The Original Sorghum Malt Beer
$9.99 plus deposit for six bottles at Whole Foods. Also available at some local beverage marts.
This is an easy-drinking beer, but has more flavor than a Bud Light or Miller Light. It almost has a small touch of sweetness, but still generally has just a generic “good beer” flavor — not weak or watery, but not heavy or hoppy. The bottle caps encourage you to “Discuss it over a Bard’s” with things like “Do ducks laugh?” written on the underside. Overall a decent beer from Utica, New York.

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Estrella Damm DAURA: Premium Quality Lager Beer
$7.99 plus deposit for four bottles at Whole Foods.
DAURA gets the imitators award for tasting a lot like Corona. It is light and crisp with a touch of citrus and would be really great for a hot day. If you’re into putting a lime in your beer, DAURA would gladly accept and compliment it. It is expensive (comes in a four pack, not six) but would be worth it to add some variety to the beer rotation. One of our favorites, DAURA is imported from Spain. (It should be noted that Daura is not 100% gluten-free, but has been filtered down to 6 parts per million gluten. We don’t really know how much 6ppm amounts to in the grand scheme, but Whole Foods labels it as gluten-free…)

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New Grist Beer: Made from sorghum and rice extract
$8.99 plus deposit for six bottles at Whole Foods.
Although sporting the best label, this beer is on the weaker side. We decided that if you’re looking for a Bud Light/Miller Light kind of beer, this is your guy. It’s light, doesn’t have all that much flavor, and pretty much just elicited a “blah” reaction from us. It’s not horrible but we wouldn’t bother with it again. Our least favorite of the bunch comes from Lakefront Brewery, Inc. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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Redbridge: Gluten-free sorghum beer
$7.49 to $8.99 plus deposit for six bottles at various markets.
Redbridge is the most common of the gluten-free beers (at least in our area) and is very similar to Bard’s. It doesn’t have that touch of sweetness that we found in Bard’s but is similar as far as the basic flavor and body. It is nothing fancy but has enough flavor to satisfy a beer fan looking for refreshment. From the people at Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis, Missouri.

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St. Peter’s Sorgham Beer
$4.99 plus deposit for 1 pint and 0.9 ounces at Whole Foods.
St. Peter’s has the most character and flavor of all the beers. It is lightly carbonated and comes in a cool flask-like bottle. Like all the others, it’s relatively light and smooth but this one has a bit of a hoppy bite. It’s not quite like an IPA, though. If you’re looking for something to give you the feel of a premium beer, this is the closest of the bunch. Brewed and bottled in Suffolk, United Kingdom.

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