My favorites of CBC were Carolina Pale Ale, and ... well, I could list them all but that would make me too sad. Basically anything they offered was my favorite. CBC is located in Holly Springs and has distribution to a ton of grocery stores and restaurants/bars in the Triangle. They also offer a brewery tour each Saturday at 1pm. I had been many times and wish I could go again some day. As soon as I was diagnosed and discovered I could no longer drink normal beer, I contacted CBC to see if they would ever consider brewing a GF beer. They politely declined at the time but I intend to keep on them about this. I encourage all of you to do the same as well! You can email them using the following address - CarolinaBrewing@aol.com.
Naturally from there, I decided I would try all the GF brands of beer out there, assuming they would all be horrible. I discovered that there were just a handful with distribution in the Triangle. My first adventure was to Whole Foods, the GF grocery mecca. They offer, and I have tried, the following 3 GF beers.
- Anheuser Busch's RedBridge
- Bard's Tale Beer's Dragon's Gold
- Lake Front Brewery's New Grist Ale
RedBridge has now become my new favorite beer! It seems to have the best distribution of the GF beers I have tried (not only locally but nationally). So far, I have found it at Whole Foods, Kroger and Lowe's Foods priced somewhere around $8 per six pack (yikes). It is also showing up in other places like Taz's downtown market (see my earlier post about this) and The Flying Saucer Bar and Restaurant in Downtown Raleigh (more to come on this). I have offered RedBridge to my family members and friends for their honest opinion and they all have said it is pretty good beer. When you are GF and can only drink/eat one thing, your brain can trick you into thinking it's good. That is why I always offer new GF products to others who will give me an honest opinion just to make sure my brain isn't tricking me. RedBridge passes this test each time.
My next favorite would be Dragon's Gold. A darker beer with great taste. I think I would have it more often if I could find it in more places. I have only seen it and New Grist Ale at Whole Foods. In last place is New Grist Ale (not horrible but somebody has to finish last). While drinkable if the only GF choice around, I prefer the other 2 choices much more.
Here are the websites for each beer where you can read more about them, contact the brewers to say thanks (highly recommended) and check their local distribution.
One side effect of drinking GF beer is that you are pretty much limited to six packs of bottles. No cans, no cases or 12 packs, no 22oz bottles, and no kegs. I checked with an inside source about why RedBridge isn't available in kegs and it seemed that demand was not high enough and/or the dedicated facility at AB was only for bottling (bummer).
FYI - I have had good luck with requesting RedBridge at grocery stores that do not currently stock it. If you can find a beer manager and ask them to carry it, they usually get it in for you in a few weeks. It never hurts to ask, right?
Also, I am still waiting to be contacted by someone in the Food and Beverage department at the RBC Center. See my previous post about the Carolina Hurricanes being GF friendly here. I will let you know what I find out but one of my goals is for them to carry RedBridge.