Nickel Brook Gluten Free

Reviewed by on June 19, 2014 in Gluten-Free Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Better Bitters Brewing Co.

  • Origin: Burlington, ON, CA

  • Rated On: June 18, 2014

  • Best Before: Packaged on Aug 29, 2013

  • ABV: 5.8%

  • Ideal Temperature: cool to cellar temperature

  • Style: American Pale Ale

  • Rating: POOR

The Review

Better Bitters is a craft brewery from suburban Toronto, and they brand their offerings under the ‘Nickel Brook’ name.  ‘Gluten Free’ is their, well, I don’t really have to say it, but it is made with sorghum, pear juice, and demerara sugar, and apparently given the classic Pale Ale hop treatment.

This 473ml can of beer (or ‘alcoholic beverage’, as per the label) pours a clear, pale golden yellow colour, with a half finger of thinly foamy, and mostly just fizzy dirty white head, which wisps away in no time flat, leaving zilch in the way of lace in the vicinity of the glass.

It smells of a warm drupe fruitiness, musty, somewhat toasted graininess, watery black pepper, a bit of rotting vegetables, hippie perfume, and leafy, generally weedy ‘pale-ale’ hops. The taste is astringent, rather metallic pseudo-grain, flat overripe pear flesh, damned-near sneeze-inducing table pepper, way past their best veggies from the bottom drawer, and seemingly out of place plucky leafy, earthy hops.  The bubbles are a bit spritzy, and swirling, which in this particular case, does me no favours, the body a clammy, clenching medium-light weight – don’t even ask about any supposed smoothness. It finishes warm and abusive – overcooked pears and rye-wannabe edgy grain the lingering notes of infamy.

Gaaah. When the most notable thing I get up front, in the middle, and at the end, is a clinging, well, sense of the undead, it’s just too hard to justify subtle descriptions of any woe-begotten underlying essences. This is messed up, uneven, and thankfully really not a beer – at least they warned me about that ahead of time, but I didn’t listen. No way I’m finishing this can, and I cannot justify recommending this in place of the actually palatable celiac-friendly offerings now available out there.

Brady White



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