The Gluten-Free Beer We’ve All Been Waiting For
Gluten-sensitive beer fans have been left low and dry for so long. Rumors of Japanese beers being made of rice raised our hopes (they aren’t). Big brewers promised gluten-free beer that tasted just like the real stuff (it doesn’t). Well, now the wait is over – Canada-based brewer Glutenberg is here to save the day.
Having to go gluten-free after 35 years of enjoying pizzas, waffles, and buttermilk biscuits is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Eating a cheeseburger wrapped in lettuce instead of a toasted bun seems like sacrilege more than anything else.
Gluten intolerance manifests in many ways and all of them are painful or unpleasant. After all, no one ever gets a medical condition they would describe as “amazing” or “beautiful.” It makes a gluten-free diet very necessary – and the worst part about the gluten-free life is the very noticeable elimination of beer. Wheat, barley, and rye, which just happen to be the brewer’s grain of choice, are all glutinous grains.
There is no replacement for having a cold beer at the end of a long, hot day. No one wants to crack open a hard seltzer at their backyard barbecue. No one wonders what kind of red wine goes best with a bacon cheeseburger (on a gluten-free bun, of course). And we definitely don’t meet up with the guys and have a few Mike’s Hard Lemonades every now and then. No, those are all events that call for beer.
While actual Celiac Disease is a very rare thing, gluten intolerance is much more common. The good news is that people who spent the past few years complaining about their gluten allergies blazed a trail in so many areas that gluten-free options exist for almost every possible foodstuff, with varying degrees of success.
Sure, some craft brewers have tried to brew the gluten out of their beers (it doesn’t work). And Anheuser-Busch brews a sorghum-based lager called Redbridge that tastes pretty much how you’d expect an Anheuser-Busch sorghum lager to taste. They tried, sure, but it doesn’t taste like a beer I want to have more than one of, let alone six.
Enter Julien Niquet and David Cayer, Montreal-based brewers who decided to make a gluten-free beer that not only tasted great, but was refreshing and gave the gluten-free drinker real craft beer options. Niquet was diagnosed with Celiac Disease around 2000 and was really disheartened by the beer options for the gluten-free diet. He decided to do something about it, teaming up with Cayer in brewing the first in a line of Glutenberg beers.
Their first creation was Glutenberg Blonde, a light, millet-based brew with an airy, dry 4.5% ABV finish.
From there, they made a 5.5 percent ABV American Pale Ale with millet, buckwheat, quinoa. Then their dark 5% AVB Red Ale with hints of coffee and roasted nuts, A 6% ABV golden India Pale Ale with a sweet entry, and a fruity 5% ABV White Ale. They even have seasonal offerings like double IPAs and Belgian Double Bels.
Their goal is what they call “accomplishing the improbable,” creating innovative beers that taste good and give beer lovers – all beer lovers – a memorable experience.