I was fortunate enough to get my hands on the last two bottles of tflew's lager. Here are some pics and tasting notes:
Appearance: hazy golden, almost orange. Voluminous creamy & sudsy white head with prolonged head retention (≥15 minutes)
Aroma: classic pilsner. Clean malty aroma with a burst of very clean hops. A very light sweet citrus undertone is the only note that would distinguish this from a barley-based lager.
Taste: difficult to tell it's gluten-free! Initially presents with fruity esters and sweetness--approaching Belgian territory, really--with more of that light citrus note picked up in the aroma; these tastes are quickly swept away by a clean bitterness and a smooth dry malt body that is typical of the pilsner style. Hop flavor reaches a crescendo at the finish, which is dominated by an assertive lingering bitterness and clean grainy aftertaste. No diacetyl. Extremely well-developed and deep flavor profile with distinct phases, which invites deeper analysis and contemplation.
Mouthfeel: despite the tremendous head, the beer does not feel overly carbonated; the body is slightly thicker than a typical lager, perhaps a bit too thick--there is a long lingering coat to the mouth after swallowing.
Thoughts: this is a very good beer, and the closest I have probably ever tasted to a barley-based lager. This could easily be passed off as a normal beer. The most impressive feature is the clean grainy maltiness--I did not think this could be achieved with standard gluten-free ingredients, so perhaps there is something to be said for the yeast employed as well as the careful lagering process. The biggest short-coming of the beer is probably the mouthfeel; second to that, the excessive head. Both are due, I suspect, to the same source: the thick protein-rich body. This thickness makes the beer feel a little too substantial to be a refreshing quencher, even though that is what the flavor suggests it should be. However, this beer is definite proof that a gluten-free beer can indeed have plenty of body, voluminous suds, and clean grain flavor. With a few tweaks to bring the body and head down to standards, this beer could compete with barley-based lagers, and probably win! Absolutely worthy of a re-brew.
For giggles, and because I have the day off, I compared it to a New Grist, which is the closest commercial example I could think of.
tflew's is on your left, the New Grist is on your right. Comparatively, tflew's appears almost orange!
Flavor-wise, here is simply no contest, tflew's lager just mops the floor with the New Grist! It's like comparing, I dunno, Pilsner Urquell to PBR. As I sit here sipping them alternatively, I'm struck by the feeling that only one of these is actually a "beer"; the New Grist deserves at most to be called a "beer-like beverage". Proof once again that homebrew>commercial beer!
And now I want a fermentation chamber so I can try my hand at lagering...