Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Heavy Medals

This year’s Great American Beer Festival in Denver saw a record number of entries in the gluten-free beer category, with two first-time medal winners and a locally produced brew topping the list.

Though the world’s largest commercial beer competition in the world is now in its 38th year, the Gluten-Free Beer category was added only in 2007, when there were only eight entries. For the 2019 event, 59 gluten-free beers were considered by the judging panel. Here are the three award winners:

Gold: Holidaily Brewing Co. (Golden, Colorado): Boombastic Hazy IPA (7% ABV)

When most beer aficionados think of Golden, Colorado, they think of Coors. But unlike that behemoth, all of Holidaily's craft beers are gluten free. We profiled the brewery in 2016, sharing the story of founder Karen Hertz and her passion for brewing accessible gluten-free beer styles. Boombastic Hazy IPA is a hop-forward and juicy India pale ale available on tap at the brewery's taproom.

Silver: Revelation Craft Brewing Co. (Rehoboth Beach, Delaware): Co-Conspirator Apricot Sour (5.4% ABV)

Delaware may be famous being the home of Dogfish Head, but Revelation is making its mark in the First State.

Originally a collaboration beer with Ghostfish Brewing Company, Co-Conspirator Apricot Sour is brewed with buckwheat, millet, biscuit rice and flaked quinoa, with probiotic coconut water and fresh apricot purée added to enhance the flavor. Co-Conspirator has a smooth, honey-like malt character, a bright sourness, and a hint of fruity hop aroma from Palisade hops. Revelation won a bronze medal for this variety at the 2017 GABF. Another gluten-free beer, Buckberry Sour, is currently on tap at the brewery in Rehoboth Beach.

Bronze: Evasion Brewing (McMinnville, Oregon): Grandpa's Nap (11.5% ABV)

Evasion is one of the growing number of dedicated gluten-free breweries in the Pacific Northwest. Part of the brewer's Mill & Barrel Series, Grandpa's Nap is a barrel-aged millet wine. According to the tasting notes, the El Dorado hops' candied strawberry character compliments the toasted coconut and vanilla qualities the barrels impart.

The festival’s Gluten-Free Beer category includes only beers made from fermentable sugars, grains and converted carbohydrates. Gluten-reduced beers are not considered part of this grouping because their gluten levels – derived from malted barley – have been reduced by enzymes or other processes.