Name of beer
What the brewer says
“Vagabond by name, vagabond by nature. This groundbreaking Pacific Coast Pale Ale will steal your heart (and your loose change).
“This is a beer that bristles with attitude and optimism. The hops explode with floral notes, quickly surrendering to a cornucopia of crazy caramel and finally melting into an abyss of citrus. A rapid salvo of orange, pine and grapefruit culminates in a steely thousand-yard bitterness. This beer is full tilt, full flavour, zero gluten.
“Enjoyed by vagabonds, nomads and wanderers the world over.
“Keep on rocking in the gluten free world.”
I ventured into the unknown today.
I don't think I've ever opted to go into the "free from" aisle of the supermarket before, but that's where I was led as we prepared for a visit from someone with a food intolerance.
In my life, nobody ever seemed to have a food intolerance until a few years ago. A peanut allergy was about as far as it went when I was young.
That's unless, of course, you consider my gran being allergic to alcohol when I was little. That's what they said, anyway. It could have been family code for "give her Shloer, we all remember the Special Brew incident".
I’m not saying such intolerances didn’t exist, I think we just understand these things more and can pinpoint what is causing illnesses or even deaths, and we can name them.
Hence, I think, the reason we seem now to hear about these things more.
Add to that history of inexperience in the field the fact that I'm the type of person for whom the answer to the question "how do we make this vegetarian meal better?" is always "add meat".
So the trip down the "free from" aisle happened and it wasn't as beige as I had feared. It had beer!
In particular, the distinctive branding of Brewdog leapt out at me on the bottle of the Scottish brewer’s Vagabond Gluten Free.
I’m far more a fan of Brewdog than I was when I first came across them a few years ago, stumbling, already a few pints in, in to one of their bars and noting the high ABVs, not really enjoying the flavours.
Now, I find myself far more informed about their beers and I tend to find them offering a good range of strengths and styles.
So, Vagabond it was.
An APA, the first thing I noticed was the smooth, not too sharp, citrus and hop mix. Particularly, the grapefruit stood out, but unlike with Brewdog’s Elvis Juice, it doesn’t smack you in the face. It’s more subtle, and it’s pleasant.
It’s different, but lightly so. I suspect that the gluten free market is still pretty narrow, compared with the broad spectrum that is the beer world generally, so it’s not a surprise to find this isn’t the most “out there” ale I’ve ever tried.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. Sometimes you want something a little different, but still comfortably familiar. Vagabond does that for me.
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I’m 42, I don’t have a beard (partly because when I try it is patchy, has gaps, with ginger and grey bits) and don’t take a clipboard to the pub. So, I’m not the stereotypical real ale fan of old, in the style that I was always told to look out for...read more