Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Gluten-Free Beers

Just a few years ago, when I started my gluten-free adventure, I had very limited alcohol options when going out. I could drink wine and some liquors, but what I really wanted was good, old-fashioned beer. After all, I reside in Portland, Oregon, home to some of the most fantastic microbreweries in the U.S. It was very disappointing to be forced to drink screwdrivers all the time when what I really wanted was a dark stout.

Now, thankfully, there are quite a few more options, and three of them are made right here in Portland. Of course, in a perfect world, I'd be able to go to any bar or restaurant and be able to order a [tasty] gluten-free beer, but right now, being able to frequent a few bars and find a delicious ale that won't give me a horrible reaction is fine by me.

Note: I'm not one to describe the "notes of ash" and the "hints of amber" in my alcohol, so I'm simply going to give you the facts and let you do the tasting (and oohing and ahhing) yourself.

Harvester Brewing

I've waxed poetic about Harvester Brewing before; they are aMAZing. Theirs was the first dark beer that I had tasted in over three years. They make three types of beer at the moment:

- Dark Ale


- Red Ale


- Pale Ale

Omission Beer

Another fabulous one just on the market is Omission. These beers are made with the traditional beer ingredients (rye and barley) which are then removed to produce a final and gluten-free product. They make two types of beer at the moment, but I hope that plans are in effect to make a dark beer soon.

These beers are made by the same company who produces Widmer Brothers beer, so their distribution is phenomenal. In the mere month or so since they started selling it, I have been able to find the beer at over five different places, including a few bars and restaurants, which is nearly unheard of for gluten-free drinks.

- Pale Ale



- Lager


Deschutes

Deschutes is so-named because of a river in Oregon, and the company has two different breweries within the state; one is located in central Oregon and one is right in the heart of the luxurious Pearl District in downtown Portland. Their regular beers are everywhere; the Black Butte Porter was one of the first beers I actually liked when I turned 21, and I still mourn not getting to taste the ubiquitous holiday ale, Jubelale, every year. However, their gluten-free ale is only found on tap at the Portland pub, so unless I want to buy a growler of it and take it home to drink quickly, I'm relegated to simply drinking a pint or two of it at the restaurant.

- NW Pale Ale


My Favorite

I can't fairly say that one beer is the best out of all of them because this is a time when there are so few good choices out there that it's still a treat to take home a six-pack of brew. However, the one I turn to over and over again is Harvester Brewing's Dark Ale. Being able to drink a dark beer once again fills me with such glee that I practically jump out in song every time I take a sip. It's smooth, complex, and tasty as hell, and I always feel a little sad when I finish the bottle.

What's your favorite gluten-free beer?

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