Best Gluten Free Beers

Burning Brothers Roasted Coffee Ale

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Gluten Free Roasted Coffee Ale From Minnesota

Brewed by Burning Brothers Brewing

Today’s review is for the Roasted Coffee Ale brewed by Burning Brothers in St. Paul, Minnesota. This beer is brewed with gluten free ingredients in a dedicated gluten free facility, so it is safe for even the most sensitive of Celiacs.

The last time I sampled the Burning Brothers flagship lineup, I remember the Roasted Coffee Strong Ale being my favorite of the bunch, mainly due to its unique flavor qualities. I don’t know about you, but I don’t come across many dedicated gluten free coffee strong ales. Let me know if I’m missing one!

Burning Brothers Brewing Roasted Coffee Ale

Like their others, this Coffee Ale is packaged in 16 ounce cans and is built on a base of sorghum. This particular style clocks in at a 7.5% ABV. As I sit here preparing to do the beer pour, I’m noticing that the can no longer identifies this beer as a Roasted Coffee Strong Ale. It seems they’ve dropped the “strong” element from the label. The ABV seems to be about the same as the older version though, so maybe it’s just a branding change.

Here’s the fresh beer pour video of the Burning Brothers Coffee Strong Ale…

The Taste Test

2021 Roasted Coffee Strong Ale

This Coffee Ale pours with a darker-than-milk-chocolate brown color that transforms into a deep and vibrant red when held up to the light. The best part about the pour is its thirst-inducing head. It’s fantastic and LASTS. Even a full 10 minutes later, I’m unable to see any surface beer through the foam. :)

Maybe I’m just riding this milk chocolate analogy comparison a little too far, but my first impression of the smell was that its a bit like the Hershey chocolate factory in Pennsylvania. So random, I know. I haven’t even stepped foot in that place for 25 years. I don’t know. But that’s what it triggered in my memory. 

There’s also a bit of coffee on the nose, as you might have predicted, but it’s very mild. That really ramps up in the flavor of the first sip though. My first sip reminds me why I liked this beer so much the first time. It’s the perfect blend of sweet and dry, smooth and bitter, toasty and clean.

The texture is the first quality to hit the palate. It’s (seemingly ideal) carbonation level gives you a sharp and zippy first impression, which is quickly warmed and matched by the cozy roasted coffee flavors that follow. It finishes with some gentle bitterness from the hops (less bitter than you might expect) and a silky smooth chocolate-like coating throughout the mouth and throat. 

Burning Brothers Brewing Roasted Coffee Ale

This Roasted Coffee Ale doesn’t reveal much alcohol in the tasting experience. It’s a very well-balanced and complex ale that’s quickly reminding me why it was my previous favorite. 
Keep scrolling to read about the older release of this beer, or check out another Burning Brothers Brewing review:

The Taste Test

2017 Roasted Coffee Strong Ale

I am happy to bring you another staple from the Burning Brothers Brewing lineup. This week we’ll be reviewing the Burning Brothers Roasted Coffee Strong Ale. My first question…what exactly is a strong ale?

I googled it. The answers I found seemed to indicate it was an ale with a high ABV that didn’t fit into any other standard categories. Not a very precise answer, so I’m open to learning more if any of you can provide a better understanding.

Anyway, let’s get back to the beer. This is our second review of Burning Brothers Brewing. A few weeks back we sampled the Pyro American Pale Ale, another one of their year round offerings.

FUN FACT: The Roasted Coffee Strong Ale apparently won third place in a mainstream brewing competition, and the judges didn’t even know that it was gluten free! 

This is a single hop beer blended with cold brew coffee. They avoid heating the coffee so that the bitter oils remain undisturbed, keeping the coffee’s bitterness from dominating the brew.

The Roasted Coffee Strong Ale pours a deep and rich reddish brown. It foams beautifully. It’s actually kind of ridiculous. I poured it gently, it formed a lovely head…and now that head is going nowhere. Seriously, 5 minutes in and I swear it’s just increasing.

Gluten Free Beer Review: Burning Brothers Roasted Coffee Strong Ale

It’s aroma is enticing…in fact, I can tell from the bitter coffee notes that I am going to like this brew. I take my first sip, and the beer foam-stache is unavoidable. I look like I could be an ad for the beer version of “got milk?” The bubbles are just so thick and creamy…I can’t stop obsessing over how perfect it foams. I don’t think I’ve seen a head this nice since my glutenous beer drinking days.

The taste is an explosion of bitter and sweet. It’s a very flavorful ale, but somehow it still tastes balanced. I see now what they were referring to when they explained the use of cold brew coffee vs. hot. The flavor profile is shockingly smooth and easy-drinking.

By the way, the head is still frothy and plentiful. It’s carbonation magic!

After experiencing the flavor of this brew, I’ve got to say…Minnesota is on par with many of our west coast options. For real. (Well…Burning Brothers is at least!) This is a delicious beer. Not surprised at all that it held up against the glutenous beers in that beer competition.


P.S. Like what I do for the gluten free beer community? Consider buying me a beer for my efforts! ;)

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Bill Lutterbein
Bill Lutterbein
6 years ago

I’m wishing we had a better selection of GF beers here in the Central Valley of California. Our Local Bevmo only has about six or so and they are not the best. I was at Burning Brothers a couple of weeks ago. Tried six beers in a tasting flight and this was one of them. There was not a bad one in the six! I think it is only available in a handful of states near Minnesota.

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