LibraryThing is one of my favorite web 2.0 sites. As I mentioned in an earlier post, it is Flickr for bookworms. One of my missions is to always have a book that I’m actively reading – something I keep around with a bookmark in it, reading it whenever I get a chance. Turns out LibraryThing is a great way for me to keep a pulse on all of it, if nothing else than to have a visual reminder of what it is I read so that I can stoke some memory of the details for the things I’ve been learning along the way.

So lately they’ve added a few new features, and one feature I particularly like is that they added a status feature to indicate what is currently being read. Another feature I discovered recently was the ability to post a list to my weblog, as I’ll do here (sorry non-JavaScript-enabled clients:)

As you can see, not a lot of this is fiction – just technical and theoretical mumbo-jumbo for the most part. It is my hope someday to get over the technology goals I currently have, and start reading something more fun, like some more Marquez or Lorca.

Review: Green’s Gluten Free Beers

Green's Beers

Beer tasting is back. Yesterday I found Green’s Beers in stock at the local BevMo. They had three of their varieties: Quest Tripel Blonde, Discovery Amber, and Endeavour Dubbel Dark. At around $5.50 per 500ml bottle, this is not cheap stuff. But as a deprived enthusiast of the craft ale, this is worth the experiment.

Why this is huge: I used to design my after-hours business travel around looking up whatever highly-rated microbreweries and brewpubs might be in the neighborhood, sample the local taps, and write little reviews of each of ’em. I loved tasting ales across the country – it was a simple and fun hobby, and gave me something to do while having to spend time away from home.

Then I started getting sick with celiac, and when the doctor told me I had to avoid wheat, barley, and rye for life, the only thing that went through my mind was “barley… barley… holy crap!! That means no beer!!!!”

Thankfully I seem to live in a time where gluten-free ale is an emerging market.

Quest Tripel Blonde

Monday: I miss IPA the most. Tripel Blonde sounded most like the description I was looking for, so trying this one first was irresistible. The beer pours clear but then seems to cloud up a bit, with lots of carbonation, and definitley has a light blonde color to it. The aroma was slightly floral, but not too sweet. Taste is great, with plenty of mouthfeel and a nice crisp taste. Definitely a good beer. I could drink this any day. I could use a bit more hops, but I said this about just about every beer I ever tried. OK this pint of beer is listed as being 8.5% ABV, so I might have an interesting time finishing up that ActionScript project I was working on this evening.

Discovery Amber

Tuesday: This beer pours in a nice rich amber color as advertised. There is a distinct hoppy aroma and the character is very ale-like. The beer really tastes damn good actually – lots of mouthfeel similar to the Quest, but I’d venture to say this one tastes even closer to some of the pale ales and amber ales I was used to in the past. If you had to give me my choice between this and the Quest, I’d probably pick this one. In fact, this is the first beer I’ve had since going gluten-free where I felt like there were absolutely no compromises. ABV is 6%.

At this point my recommendation to Green’s is: Open up a North American plant and start distributing these like mad. The Discovery Amber would stand up against any barley-based craft ale.

Endeavor Dubbel Dark

Let me just preface this section by saying that all of the American gluten-free brews I have tried thus far do not come even close to the three beers I have just tried from Green’s. Redbridge is my favorite of the American set, and it is not bad, but these three Green’s varieties are really outstanding.

Now, the dubbel dark was everything I’d expect from a dark beer. Had a similar flavor and character to many of the dark brews I’ve tried when I toured Germany and Austria way back when. Had a dark, malty, almost nutty flavor. Delicious. I transitioned away from dark beer in favor of pale ale over the decade before my celiac diagnosis, but this beer could easily get me back into it. This reminds me of why I liked dark beer in the first place. Note: This is nowhere near a stout, nor should the name ‘dark’ imply stout. It is strictly in the double bock variety and a damn good specimen.

My advice to Green’s is: Having cheap access to Greens would be a reason for me to move to the UK. But I’m sure you guys don’t want that. I would tarniish the place and lower property values. Instead, open up manufacturing in North America, get the price down to something reasonable, and distribute these without reservation. This is the first beer label I’ve tried that really gets it right. Redbridge is great, and way cheaper, but Green’s has the quality part of the bargain hands down.