New Belgium Glutiny Golden Ale and Pale Ale

Drink Reviews New Belgium
New Belgium Glutiny Golden Ale and Pale Ale

I don’t have Celiac disease or even an allergy to gluten, so I can only imagine how difficult it must be to live with that sort of condition. For instance, I imagine it’s really difficult to feel tough when you’re ordering a gluten free beer. Luckily, New Belgium understands these sort of daily trials for the gluten-intolerant and has released a duo of gluten reduced beers with a skull and crossbones on the label. Because if you’re gonna remove the gluten from your beer, you better make the label look bad-ass.

As of January, Glutiny Golden Ale and Glutiny Pale Ale are part of New Belgium’s year-round line up. The brewery experimented with going strictly gluten free by brewing with grains like quinoa, but wasn’t happy with the results, so they opted for removing the gluten from barley with an enzyme that breaks the gluten down. Science.

But how do they taste? I’ll be honest, it’s tough to review a gluten reduced beer without using the term “…for a gluten reduced beer.” As in, “it’s pretty good for a gluten reduced beer.” And New Belgium’s first foray into a world without gluten is a bit of a mixed bag. One beer is good for a gluten reduced beer, while the other is just pretty damn good. Period.

Let’s start with the Golden Ale, which pours true to its name—golden yellow with a thin head. There’s not much to the nose, but that probably has more to do with golden ales in general than this specific beer.

There’s nothing wrong with Golden Ale at first. It holds true to the golden ale style—crisp, clean and easy drinking. At the beginning of the sip, you’d think you were just drinking a straight up golden ale, maybe without the round malt bill you typically find in that particular style. But then there’s an off flavor, something yeasty, kind of like a home brew experiment gone a little wrong. I tried brewing beer in college with one of those super cheap brewing kits complete with plastic bottles. The results tasted…unfinished. That’s the off flavor I’m getting here. It’s not bad. I’d drink it in a pinch, but would I seek this beer out? Only if I was allergic to gluten (more on that later).

Rating: 71

Brewery: New Belgium
Style: Gluten reduced golden ale
ABV: 5.2%
Availability: Year round, 12-ounce bottles

Glutiny Pale Ale is a different story altogether. Thankfully, hops can cover up all manner of sins. This beer smells like a solid pale (all citrus) and pours orange with a healthy head. It tastes a little thin, as if it’s lacking a substantial malt bill, coming across like that first crop of session IPAs that were all hop zest and not much else. That yeasty, unfinished quality that turned me off of the Glutiny Golden Ale is still there, but it’s miniscule and fleeting, getting washed away by the hops on the backend of sip.

Gluten reduced or not, this is a decent pale ale.

But would I seek this beer out? Probably not. But that’s only because the pool of incredible pale ales is so deep. And I don’t order the vegetarian plate at a restaurant either. That doesn’t mean a plate full of vegetables isn’t good. It’s just that pork chops are better.

So then the question becomes, is it fair to judge these gluten reduced and gluten free beers on the same playing field as a beer that’s held together with all that beautiful gluten. I have reservations comparing this pale ale to something like Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale, but if the goal is to make a gluten free beer that tastes as good as a gluten rich beer, then we have to use the same scale when judging them. Right?

But if I was comparing this particular beer only to other gluten free and reduced beers that I’ve had the pleasure of drinking, it would be at the top of the crop. It’s easily one of the best gluten reduced beers I’ve had so far. So if you’re one of the growing legion of gluten-intolerant individuals, you can take solace in the fact that there is a new, really good, widely distributed gluten-reduced beer on the market.

Rating: 78

Brewery: New Belgium
Style: Gluten reduced pale ale
ABV: 6%
Availability: Year round, 12-ounce bottles

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