Wednesday, January 16, 2013

1/16: Sprecher's Shakparo

Shakparo is a gluten-free beer. Instead of wheat or barley, the grains used are sorghum and millet. It looks like the ales and lagers that I am used to, with a bright golden color. It smells like beer too. But the taste... I'll let Sprecher tell it...

"An unfiltered, light, crisp ale with a cider or fruit profile and a dry vinous aftertaste..."

"Vinous" means "related to wine" or "wine-like," but if it meant vine-like or grass-y, then they would have described what I tasted. In every mouthful I had three distinct flavors; at first ale, then apple juice-y sweetness, and lastly the lingering taste of dry grass. The grass-y aftertaste was not pleasant, but much preferred over the overly sweet apple juice flavor. The only part of the flavor that I liked - the ale stage, was the one that lasted the briefest. 

It is a West African style of beer - a region of the world where wheat and barley don't readily grow.  It was first brewed for Milwaukee's African World Fest, but being glutten-free meant people on certain restictive diets could drink beer again.  That audience buys enough of this beer to keep Sprecher brewing it year round.

I am glad that they make beers for people with celiac disease, or other gluten issues, but since I do not have these afflictions, I do not think I will ever have another of these.  I give it a 2.  But God help me, Sprecher makes another gluten-free beer made with bananas, sorghum and millet.  It is called Mbege, and I am thinking that I should try it sometime.  Maybe I am a gluten for punishment.  (Sorry about that.)

-Jim from Milwaukee

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