This edition of our Tuesday Contributor series is written by Irene Nissen, a local craft enthusiast who attends Napa of Beer events with her husband Mark.
About 6 months ago I made the decision to go gluten free. This was not an easy decision, considering many things, but one of the biggest was of course BEER! I did not know how I was going to give up drinking so many of my favorite brews! However, over the course of my journey to go gluten free I have discovered many places in town that serve gluten free options, including beers and ciders, and I have discovered many that I enjoy as much, if not more than my old favorites!
The first part to gluten free drinking is understanding what that actually means. Beer, as you know, is produced using water, a starch and sugar to ferment into a tasty alcoholic beverage. The starch is usually derived from malted barley and/or wheat, and most are flavored with hops to add bitterness and act as a natural preservative. Wheat and Barley are two of the three primary gluten-based grains, with the third being rye. Hops is a gluten free ingredient (YEA!!) so it can be used to add flavor in gluten free beers.
There are three primary choices for gluten free beer seekers. The first is a beer made without barley or wheat, these beers are often brewed using ingredients like millet, buckwheat, rice and/or sorghum. An example of this is Green’s Gluten Free Beer brewed in Lochristi, Belgium at DeProef Brewery. The second is a traditionally brewed beer that has had the gluten removed. An example of this is Omission Brewed by Widmer Brothers Brewing in Portland, Oregon. It is brewed with traditional beer ingredients, including malted barley, and then specially crafted to remove the gluten. The third choice is a beer alternative such as cider, or mead. There are many examples of these, with one of the most well known being Woodchuck Hard Cider.
Over the past few weeks I checked out a few of the places in the Fort Collins area offering gluten free options.
Black Bottle Brewery, here in Fort Collins, offers a few different options for gluten free beer seekers. They have a selection of gluten free beers, both brewed without barley and wheat, and brewed with to remove the gluten, as well as some ciders and sparkling meads. I enjoyed a bottle of Green’s Triple Blond Ale, and Omission’s Pale Ale. Both were well done and paired nicely with a slice of their flourless chocolate cake!
Another great place to find gluten free beer is at Pateros Creek Brewing Company in downtown Fort Collins. Their Punk Rock IPA is always a great choice for a gluten free brew, as well as they usually have a rotating gluten free beer on tap. The Punk Rock is brewed using sorghum and four different types of hops to give it lots of flavor! I enjoyed one with some of the chips from The Goodness food truck.
One of my new FAVORITE spots in town for gluten free drinking is Scrumpy’s Hard Cider Bar in downtown Fort Collins. They offer a great variety of ciders as well as meads and you can sample any ciders on tap, 6 samples for $6.00 or 9 samples for $8.00, a great deal, and a great way to sample a lot of different ciders. They also feature many ciders brewed in Colorado and will soon be adding their own cider brewed in house. I enjoyed a 6-sample tray of the Grass-hop-ah, Pearsnickety, Pome Mel, Magner’s Irish Cider, Strongbow, and Crispin Original. All of which were delicious and paired perfectly with my tasty sandwich on gluten-free bread!
Lastly, I was surprised to discover that High Hops Brewery in Windsor has started brewing a gluten free beer as well. The weekend I visited they had just tapped their 1st gluten free beer, a strawberry sorghum. It was very tasty! I was also delighted to find that Veebo’s Wood-Fired Pizza was offering a gluten free crust for the 1st time that weekend as well! It was not a gluten free crust they had made from scratch, as the cost and labor that goes into making a good gluten free crust is very high and for the current demand, not very feasible. Instead they were using a pre-baked crust made by Kinnickinnick. I was able to enjoy a delicious Hawaiian Gluten Free Pizza along with my beer and very thankful for their consciousness for their gluten free customers!
Gluten Free is becoming more and more prevalent and many restaurants and breweries in the area are offering gluten free drinking and dining options for their customers, and it is greatly appreciated! I look forward to my continued exploration of gluten free drinking and dining here in Northern Colorado and to all my fellow gluten free drinkers out there, I hope this article has enlightened you to the many options that are out there. To those of you who are not gluten free, don’t be afraid to try some gluten free drinks, as they are surprisingly delicious! If any of you have other places you enjoy drinking gluten-free I would love to hear your comments!
More about Irene:
I have lived in Fort Collins for almost 8 years now. I moved here in 2005 with my husband to attend Colorado State and after graduating in 2009 we just couldn’t bring ourselves to leave! I work as a high school librarian at Rocky Mountain High School and also WORRY on the side (Wine, Om, Read, Run and Yoga). I recently graduated from my 200-hour Yoga Teacher training and have been working to start up my own business WORRY Warrior, teaching yoga, selling essential oils and offering health coaching advise. If you are looking for some private yoga instruction, let me know! I would love to work with you on developing and growing in your practice! My husband and I are big winos, but living in Fort Collins you have to enjoy beer as well, which hasn’t been a problem! We love spending time with our Great Dane Mini, and training for ½ marathon races in our free time.