A few weeks ago I posted a review of the brand-new Omission Gluten-free Pale Ale from Widmer. It only took a short time for me to find the beer in a number of different locations, which you can find on the Find Omission page of their website.
Since I have a gluten eater and beer lover as a resource, I will start with my boyfriend's response to the Omission Gluten-free Lager. He sipped, then said:
"What style of beer is this?"
"A lager," I replied.
"Oh, this is pretty good for a lager. I've had plenty of lagers that weren't nearly as good as this."
In this quote, I may have left out a few expletives that referenced other lagers. But there were no expletives referencing this one. You heard it from the expert: Omission Gluten-free Lager is pretty good for a lager.
In some of the other reviews I've read about Omission, bloggers have commented that they prefer the Pale Ale.
I, for one, am not one of those bloggers. I prefer the lager. I might have even preferred the lager before I went gluten-free. I've never been one of those people who got really into IPA - even though I live in Portland, and got really into beer. Stouts, mostly. For me, it's all about the roasty, malty thing. I've definitely appreciated the occasional hoppy brew, but the roasted malt flavor of stout was one of the few things I missed after going gluten-free.
This is where Omission comes in. They have preserved the malt flavor of beer by brewing with real barley. They just "omit" the gluten. They remove it afterwards. Beer drinkers who try this type of beer say that it tastes like regular beer, but there's something different about it that they can't put their finger on. I think I've just put my finger on it.
Beers go through some sort of secret process after brewing to remove the gluten. I think this process also dampens the subtlety in the flavor. The Omission Pale Ale, while nice and bitter, doesn't have any of the hoppy, delicate, nuanced nose that other IPAs might have. You can't pick out the Cascade Hops or a citrus aroma. The flavor is there, but it's all dampened down. If you don't believe me, just smell it. You don't get the "nose feel."
Did I just coin a phrase?
This nose feel scenario is why I prefer the lager to the pale ale when it comes to Omission Beer. If I'm craving a pale ale I'll find one that has really complex things going on with the aroma, and I'll deal with the metallic aftertaste. If I want to taste the barley malt, I'll go for an Omission Gluten-free Lager. That being said, I think both of these beers will be on my menu for the foreseeable future.