Thursday, August 20, 2015

Another Run at Gluten Free Beer

I've been waffling about penning this post for weeks. Part of me feels like it'll just come across shilling for BMC while the other part of me, the part of me that started the post all that time ago, feels there is still some merit to it. The latter half has won so here we go.

On a random Tuesday night in June I went to a macro beer dinner as the +1 of a friend. Yes, you read that correctly. I accepted free beer and food from the evil empire. In return I got three good things: 1) A fun evening with beer friends 2) Great food and an introduction to a new-to-me restaurant in a part of town I don't frequent 3) A gluten-free beer that isn't bad if you are GF.

The dinner was part of the promotion of Coors Peak Copper Lager, a beer that is currently only available in the Seattle and Portland metro areas. The beer is naturally gluten free, being brewed with brown rice, brown rice malt and pure pea protein. As an adjunct brewer Coors is no doubt well versed in the use of rice to make beer so I not that surprised that they've done a darn decent job with this. Or maybe it's the pure pea protein (if anyone has a lead on more information on that let me know).

Gluten content is a big deal these days and Coors ensures the glutenlessness of Copper Lager by doing their own internal testing and having the FARRP Lab at the University of Nebraska test every batch of packaged beer. Apparently those tests consistently show that Coors Peak gluten protein level falls far below the FDA regulated 20ppm, coming in at 5ppm. Interestingly enough, it's also GMO free.

But the taste, what about the taste, right? I haven't done a blind testing, mostly because I'm lazy, but I'd reckon that if I were handed two glasses of copper lager - one with gluten and one without - I wouldn't be able to tell the difference. And while it's still an amber beer, this IPA drinker probably wouldn't mind throwing a few back. I wouldn't go so far as to say that I'd take it over Groundbreaker's gluten free beers (they use hazelnuts instead of grain), mostly because they DO make IPAs, but it's a far sight better than the few other gluten free or gluten-reduced beers I've tried.

I don't know if there are enough celiac disease sufferers still looking for a beer they can drink to make this a nationally viable product line. Perhaps the product will just quietly go away instead of having its market expanded. Or perhaps it'll gain some traction for the simple fact that it tastes better than most BMC products, gluten-filled or gluten free. If you've tried it I'd be interested to hear what you thought.

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