St. Patrick's Day has me thinking about all things green: Eire, money, envy, ecology. Slate magazine has an interesting piece about the environmental impact of beer cans versus bottles. In summary, aluminum's disadvantages due to bauxite mining appear to be offset by its advantages of higher levels of recycling and lower transportation costs due to its lightness. Refillable (rather than just recyclable) glass bottles would be a big step in the right direction, however.
This leads me to the Green's Discovery, a gluten-free beer made in Belgium by a British brewer and imported by Merchant du Vin. I bought this to review for The Session, but then realized it's all-natural but not organic. The label assures:
Green's Beers DO NOT contain any of the following: Gluten, Barley, Wheat, Crustaceans, Eggs, Fish, Peanuts, Soybeans, Milk, Lactose, Nuts, Celery, Mustard, Sesame seeds, Sulfur dioxide, nor Sulfites.
It's hard to have high hopes for a beer that has to tell you that it doesn't contain crustaceans or mustard. Needless to say, if your friend says he's bringing over Belgian beer and shows up with this, you'd be a bit disappointed.
Actually, more than just a bit. This looks decent -- hazy amber with a very long-lasting, craggy head -- but tastes awful. It has kind of a multi-grain apple cider thing going on. It's acidic to the point where I need an antacid later on. The millet, rice, buckwheat and sorghum of which it is made dominate any hops and leave an off taste. After a while, I can't bear to inhale, let along ingest. Also, the body is way too fizzy.
Most dismaying of all, Green's Discovery runs $5.99 per 500 ml bottle. Worst. Purchase. Ever. I won't presume to tell sufferers of celiac disease what they should drink, but this experience makes me think of vegetarians who eat meat-free variants of "real" food (e.g., tofu hot dogs). There are plenty of great vegetarian dishes out there, and for those intolerant to gluten, there's always bourbon. [Update: as pointed out in comments, Bourbon is not gluten free.]