Monday, May 11, 2009

Deschutes Brewery Has New Gluten-free Golden ESB on Tap

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!


Andrea H said...

Dude, super exciting! Thanks for the heads up! I've been reading your blog for a couple months since I found out I was gluten intolerant in January, and love it. I knew Deschuttes had a gluten free beer last year, and have been waiting for them to come out with something else so I can stop by (beer is the one thing that I really, really miss). Some folks at work and I were just talking on Friday about the fact that they started labeling gluten free menu items, and I've been drooling to go but wanted to pair food with beverage! Now we can!


Gina said...

Beer is definitely the thing that I miss most. This is a pretty great beer - easy to drink, but more complex than other gluten-free varieties that I've had. Let me know what you think of it after you stop by and try it. Thanks for reading!

Lauren Denneson said...

Hello Gina - first, I'm totally stoked that Deschutes finally got their GF beer on tap (I had been calling and bugging them since August of last year!) and even more excited they have a new one and will keep GF beer on tap all year! Second (and the real reason I am commenting), I'm really glad I found your site and wanted to 'introduce' myself because I'm in Portland too :)

Miss Aimee said...

love your blog! just found it.

Cheryl said...

THAT is AWESOME! I hope my step father can find that here on the east coast!

Gina said...

Cheryl - I forgot to mention that Deschutes will be serving this beer exclusively on tap in the breweries. They won't be bottling any of it. I think you'll be able to buy kegs of it, but they are calling it a "Pub Exclusive." We'll see where this goes - I understand they are working on developing new recipes. Maybe someday they will get production to the point where they can bottle, but until then it's a good excuse to visit Portland!

Gluten said...

This is the best new gluten-free beer! I might buy a keg of this if I can. I love how full-bodied it is, and it lacks the chemical or metallic aftertaste that other sorghum beers have. Wonderful!