Friday, March 8, 2013

A year of Craft Beer, Vol. 68, Sprecher Brewing Company Shakparo Gluten Free Fire-Brewed African-Style Ale

Gluten Free Week continues with this long titled beer!  Beer Advocate has it labeled as an American Amber.  It seems that every gluten free beer on there is in a different category.  I guess that it is good that they are actually considering it beer!  I like that, but it's not an amber ale.  Just in color.
I was loving this 16 oz. bottle until I opened it and found out it was screw top.  Boooooo!  It's a cool bottle and a nice label otherwise.  It's a pretty affordable beer though, so that is good.

The beer poured a mostly clear light brown/amber in color with a full one finger head that immediately dissipated to non-existant pretty quick.  This seems to be the norm for gluten free's.

I immediately smelled sour upon opening, it wasn't strong, but released all of a sudden.  As I drink it, that has mellowed but still apparent.  Indeed it does have an apple note to it but there is also a faint caramel  aroma associated with it.

I don't know what they mean by "Fire Roasted" in the description of the beer,  perhaps that pertains to the millet adjunct used to flavor the beer.  The beer starts off mildly cider-like and as it moves across your tongue it moves into caramel apple with, indeed, a very mildly apparent fire roasted flavor and then a slightly dry mega mild hoppy finish with black pepper notes at the very end.  Lots of beers have this in common.  There is also a lingering mildly grassy and yeasty taste.  It's really good and mildly complex and warming with alcohol when drinking on an empty stomach.  It's not easy picking out these flavours, but they are there.  It's just a little thin.  The roasted flavor is quite noticeable between sips.  It's F@CKING GOOD! 

Mouthfeel and Body are kind of like those difficult terms to describe like "Ethereal" or even "Surreal" and it takes a while to really discern them.  When people mention them don't get discouraged and just try and see what they mean by trying that beer as well.  You can think of it as sweet and syrupy or thin like lemonade in one respect, but it encompasses a wide range of how it makes your mouth feel.  Sometimes it is as simple as that.  This beer is thin for a beer like an ale like bass ale, but more full than say a coors light.  So I call it thin to moderate.  Something syrupy might be like a Belgian Tripel or something like a La Fin Du Monde (if you haven't tried that, you are missing out).  Mouthfeel also describes how the carbonation of the beer feels on your tongue or whether or not the carbonation carries flavors and smells along with it as the bubbles burst.  This beer is only mildly carbonated which is nice.  Sometimes higher carbonated Gluten Free beers will taste like champagne on the tongue and in your nose.  

As Gluten free beers go, this is one of the best that I have had so far.  The roasted flavor really tips this beer over the edge and I feel that this is going to be, or has been, an award winning beer.  I highly recommend it!  It's only downfall is it's lack of head and lightly thin body and I have to give average scores for those.  How the "sorghum problem" was handled in this beer is excellent and definitely world class!  CHEERS!

Hey, don't just sit there and drink that HAMMS, f@ck that!  Try different sh!t!  Spread your wings, this is a sessionable beer that is perfect for at home or on the beach between sessions.  Drink it.  Love it.  Life.


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