I had a dream. No really, one night years ago I dreamt of producing a gluten-free beer. I do not have Celiac Disease but I did spend the previous summer on an extremely limited diet and empathized greatly with everyone who had to abstain from their favorite goodies due to allergies, intolerance, and the like. At that point in time I was 21 and studying nutrition at Miami University. To be generous, my brewing knowledge was limited. Beer to me mostly meant Natty Light chugged quickly during a flip cup match. However, I had just returned from Luxembroug where I’d discovered the world of beer while working at an Irish pub serving Bofferding and exploring the rich heritage of German beer gardens, halls, and cellars galore. So I found my way to Fort Collins, Colorado aka a Mecca of micro brewing, and studied food science at CSU. The first time I brewed was on a little homebrew system in New Belgium’s cellar. We made a gluten-free peach quinoa beer…which turned out OK but it was more wine like as quite a bit of peach juice concentrate needed to be added. The quinoa beer idea was dropped the second time NBB tried to brew with it, as the sapponins were not removed prior to brewing and the beer was nasty: bitter and cloudy. My focus shifted to malting, because it was clear in order to produce a gluten-free beer possessing the same flavor profile as barley containing beer, we needed to malt gluten-free grain. Malting is a process that develops inherent enzymes yielding fermentable sugars and a multitude of flavors depending on the malting regime used. Well, small scale malting is a whole ‘nother can-of-worms, which has left me heart broken more than once. After a summer of couch surfing and literally traveling eastwards, westwards, and working in all other directions to get this project off the ground, I still find myself struggling to get access to small scale malting equipment. The good news is I’ve produced gluten-free malt(s) and three incredibly tasty batches of beer: a pale ale, amber ale, and a honey ale. Who said it couldn’t be done?! Amidst the turbulence it feels as though some of the clouds have cleared and the Millet Gods are calling me to 1.) Get support from those who will enjoy great tasting gluten-free beer 2.) Find a way to make it all economically feasible 3.) Stay the course. ?
by Grouse Malt House on