Gluten-free Beer Tasting: Bard’s v. Estrella Damm Daura

C an’t say I’ve ever done a beer tasting on BRK before. I am not much of a drinker, mostly because I am such a light-weight. One drink, I am done. Done I tell ya! When I went paleo back in February, I quickly realized that my alcoholic drinks were a no go. But with drinking so little, would it matter if I enjoyed my usual favorites, or should I drink beers that were as close to paleo as possible? This thought made me venture into trying gluten-free beers, and yes, while they contain grains- a paleo no no, they are at least gluten-free.

In this post I will be exploring Bard’s Beer and Estrella Damm Daura.

I am no expert taster by any means and always have a giggle when coffee, wine, and beer connoisseurs  can pinpoint chocolate, honey, berry, woodsy, and other flavors in their drinks.  Hey if it doesn’t come back out of my nose, make me gag, or cause me to yell “this tastes like cat pee” then we’re good.  It’s all beer to me. Until now.

While the Estrella looked quite eager once it’s cap was popped,  each beer poured a less than stellar head. I found that each beer was less bubbly than what I like in a beer.  As for taste, I can’t get all fancy talking like this reviewer of the Bard’s Beer as she tosses around words like maple, honey, licorice, and oak.  I got molasses and caramel, slightly sweet- but not bad, a tiny bit sour, and very complex multiple layers of flavor. What those flavors are, I can’t say- I am no tastebud sharpshooter, but I liked it, very much. See…

Bard’s Beer ingredients: Sorghum, yeast, hops and water.

Estrella Damm Daura ingredients:  Malt Barley (the glutens have been brewed out by a special process, down to 3ppm of gluten), hops, rice.    This post on No Gluten, No Problem was helpful.

Overall Impressions: I liked the Bard’s Beer best. I felt as though the brewers tried hard to make this a pleasant artisan style beer. It was very enjoyable on it’s own and would be fantastic paired with most meals. The Daura was lackluster, almost to the point that I wanted to turn it into a Shandy by adding Sprite. That was the only way I could figure helping the poor thing out of its misery and mine.  It was very basic tasting and straight-forward, “hello, I’m a beer and nothing more.” Meh.  Then something strange happened, as I was clearing our little tasting table of the beers, salsa and corn chips (chips not so paleo but a must with beer, and the whole downside of drinking),  I took one last sip of the warmed up Daura, and suddenly found it to have  more flavors that I had missed when it was ice cold. The Shandy idea left me. Is there something to drinking beers at their appropriate temperature?   I guess so.  Bard’s site did state to enjoy their beer between 39-45 degrees, but I could not find information on what temperature to sip the Daura. Anyone?

I will be sticking with Bard’s beer and looking forward to using it in some of my recipes as well. And when I am at loss for conversation, I’ll turn their caps over for some ideas.

Bard’s can be found at Whole Foods. Drinking, of age college kids- you’re gonna have to get a job, it’s a bit pricier than PBR.

Do you have a favorite gluten-free beer? Please share in the comments…  


  1. Posted June 4, 2012 at 8:19 AM | Permalink

    Warm beer… very British, maybe something about the Queen’s Jubilee???

  2. Posted June 4, 2012 at 8:20 AM | Permalink

    “I am no expert taster by any means and always have a giggle when coffee, wine, and beer connoisseurs can pinpoint chocolate, honey, berry, woodsy, and other flavors in their drinks.” I do to and maybe it’s because I don’t taste those things, maybe I’m jealous. I never try to break anything that goes into my mouth into component flavors, I just enjoy the total impact – maybe why I like casseroles. For wine (or other drinks), it’s a great wine if my taste buds think it is. Ripple anyone 🙂

    • Robin Sue
      Posted June 4, 2012 at 9:04 AM | Permalink

      I think that’s it, I’m jealous. I can taste things in food, but most drinks, especially wine, I’m sunk. It has to be very obvious- like gingerale! Ha! Ripple, well if it’s good enough for Fred Sanford it’s good enough for us;-)

  3. Kerry
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 9:08 AM | Permalink

    Have you tried Green’s? They have a blonde, amber and dark beer. They are by far my favorite GF beer but I haven’t tried the Bards-will look for it.

    • Robin Sue
      Posted June 4, 2012 at 9:21 AM | Permalink

      Kerry I scored all three of the Greens at a local organic grocer (and have been guarding them for dear life) plus gave and arm and leg for them, so I am waiting for a special occasion to give them a go. I’ll post that tasting as well. I also hear St Peter’s is good. Tried it yet?

  4. Starla
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 3:07 PM | Permalink

    Good to know ! Thanks for sharing, I have looked all over for the Daura beer and they don’t sell it in our area. I will quit looking for it now. I enjoy Bards and Red Bridge on occasion.
    P.S. You look amazing, crossfit and Paleo are doing great things.

    • Robin Sue
      Posted June 4, 2012 at 3:57 PM | Permalink

      Thank you Starla!
      I did have a Red Bridge out at a cafe once and liked the Bard’s even better. Almost worth bringing my own and facing a “corking” fee!

  5. Posted June 4, 2012 at 5:56 PM | Permalink

    Nothing on beer here, but wanted wanted you to know you’ve inspired me! I now have about twenty jars of food assembled in my fridge right now. Can’t wait to enjoy all those yummy salads!!

    • Robin Sue
      Posted June 4, 2012 at 8:06 PM | Permalink

      Isn’t it the best feeling ever!! Thanks for letting me know, now I’m inspired!
      Robin Sue

  6. Posted June 5, 2012 at 11:58 AM | Permalink

    I happen to like most beers – unlike my husband. We’ll go to a place that has like 100 beers on tap and he’ll order a Miller Lite – really?!

    Yep, some of those specialty beers can be a bit pricey!

  7. Borgford
    Posted August 27, 2012 at 3:39 PM | Permalink

    Ok. My husband absolutely loved the Estrella Damm Daura. He had a couple. Next day he had a lot of symtoms, Is it a safe amount of gluten for everyone?
    Never had a reaction with Bards, New grist or New Bridge…just saying.

    • Robin Sue
      Posted August 27, 2012 at 3:59 PM | Permalink

      I think people with celiac have to be very careful. Estrella makes many claims to be safe but I think everyone is different- most of the time I wonder if there can be cross contamination. We have nut allregies in our house and have to be very careful for cross contamination on many products.
      Here is a link to another post with many comments about GF beer.

      We loved the Bards better anyway!

  8. Kerry
    Posted May 1, 2014 at 12:49 PM | Permalink

    Estrella is not completely gluten-free! They use barley in their process and filter much of it out, but it is not gluten-free! I had very mild symptoms when I first started drinking it, and overtime I noticed every time I would have one I would get sicker and sicker. I can’t imagine that even small amounts of gluten are safe with for anyone with celiac. It’s a bummer because I think it tastes much better than Bards! But be careful – it is a “low gluten beer”.

    • Robin Sue
      Posted May 5, 2014 at 2:30 PM | Permalink

      Good to know! Thanks!

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