This week’s beer is a fascinating Pale from my recent Beer52 order – fascinating for a couple of reasons:
1) They don’t own their own brewery; instead opting to brew beer at other brewers locations and referring to themselves as a “gypsy brewery”.
2) The beer is gluten free.
All-in-all the concept of Nomad brewers making tasty gluten-free beer sounds promising…
To Øl (Danish for Two Beers) is the result of a partnership between Tobias Emil Jensen and Tore Gynther, who came to the conclusion that most Danish beer was unimaginative and stale because the focus was always on heritage and not taste. In their own words: “as if a stale lager has ever become less nauseous because it has been brewed for over 100 years!?”.
Cutting a long story short, the pair agreed that the only way to ensure quality was to make the beer themselves to a high standard set of values, which they list as follows:
Never make compromises with the taste.
Don’t follow fashion or certain styles.
Always have an open mind.
You get the picture: To Øl are a high-quality, “gypsy brewery” making uncompromised beers – on the move.
The gluten-free thing also caught my attention; In part because I have family members with mild intolerances, but also because my perception of gluten-free products to this date is one of compromise in standards and taste. If you’ve ever tried gluten-free bread from your local store you’ll have a pretty good idea what I’m talking about. For this reason, I’ve steered of trying any gluten-free beer – until now.
There are two methods used to produce gluten free beer: 1) Use a naturally gluten-free grain such as buckwheat, sorghum or rice. (Ponto recently reviewed a beer produced in this way named Groundbreaker). 2) Extract the gluten from the malts and produce the beer in a Gluten Free environment.
While the first option produces great, if a little different results, the second option is the best way of producing beers that taste closer to the real thing. Drinkers should be aware, however, that while extracting the gluten removes most if it traces still remain. Therefore, consumption of a large amount could still cause issues.
Anyhow. Enough chatter – time to drink beer.
To Øl Reparationsbajer – American Pale Ale
Reparationsbajer (Danish for recovery beer, by the way) pours a very much unfiltered and cloudy orange color. I can already smell the hop aroma, without even putting my nose anywhere near it – always a promising start.
On the nose, I’m hit with a beautiful pineapple fragrance with additional lemon and lime coming from the American and New Zealand hop combo. Strangely, and this might sound a bit odd, but it smells similar to a soft drink from the UK called lilt. In other words, the aromatics are very tropical.
Moving swiftly to the first sip, there is medium, frothy mouthfeel with plenty of caramel sweetness as it wraps around the tongue. The malt body described is reinforced by an assertive hop presence one would expect from an American pale ale, with flavours of marmalade, grapefruit, and spice.
To finish up, I’m treated with a dry, lingering bitter finish. All-in-all, I can’t believe this is gluten free! Here’s to the To Øl nomadic spirit and their uncompromising standards; long may their brewing adventures continue.
Lovely example of how gluten-free can work. The lemon and lime from the hop profile really is delightful.
Fairly cloudy; if lack of clarity in your beer puts you off, this one isn’t for you.
TA Brews rating 4/5