The Deschutes Brewery is now going to have gluten-free beer on tap year-round!
I heard about the brewery developing some new gluten-free beers a few days ago and went to the brewery to verify. My server, Jen, was extraordinarily helpful. Not only did she verify that they would be serving gluten-free beer year-round, but they also are working on various recipes. I had been in several months ago to try the Gluten-free Golden Ale, which I had really enjoyed. It was bitter and hoppy. The recipe included sorghum, brown rice and roasted chestnuts. At right is a picture of my friend Ben from Gluten-free PDX with that very ale.
I asked Jen about gluten-free options on the menu, because at first glance there didn't seem to be a lot of clear choices. She clued me in to the fact that they have things that can be made gluten-free indicated with a little symbol of a head of wheat crossed out. Vegetarian options are noted with a green leaf.
When she came back with our beers, Jen set mine down in front of me and said, "This is the gluten-free beer." She set my friend's beer in front of him and walked off to give us a few more minutes to look at the menu.
I took one sip of the beer and thought, "Oh, no! She gave me the wrong beer!" This beer did not taste gluten-free. It only took a few seconds for me to realize that the mistake was mine. I had the right beer, but this new gluten-free beer was even better than the previous one, and by a long shot. It's a new brew called the Gluten-free Golden ESB, and it may be my new favorite gluten-free beer. It is a bit darker gold in color than their previous GF Golden Ale. It was somewhat less bitter, and also managed to avoid the harsh chemical overtones that sorghum usually lends to a beer. They don't have it posted on their website yet, but the recipe involved sorghum, molasses and brewer's gold hops, among other ingredients.
Jen came back to take our order. I asked her several questions about the menu, and she had immediate and knowledgeable answers. She really knew a lot about the food and the beer she was serving. I was really impressed. She mentioned that the fries are only sometimes cooked in a dedicated fryer, but they do not have a flour coating. She offered to double-check with the kitchen to see if they were using a separate fryer that night. I ordered the Elk burger with no bun, which ended up being good but not mind-blowing. They served it with plenty of butter-leaf lettuce for wrapping if desired. Jen told me they are working on making their own gluten-free bread for the sandwiches and burgers, and may be offering that soon.
I know I'll be going to Deschutes more often, and I'll be checking back about their other menu options and upcoming beers. The Pearl District location is not too far from where I work, so I may be responsible for consuming a fair portion of this batch of beautiful gluten-free beer. Get there soon or I may drink it all!