Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Deschutes Brewery Introduces the Gluten-free Crystal Weiss Beer

Deschutes Brewery in Portland, Oregon, out-does itself again with their new gluten-free beer, the Gluten-free Crystal Weiss. Deschutes is really perfecting their gluten-free beers - each one is better than the last. Each one also seems to come closer to traditional beers, and sidesteps some of the pitfalls of the typical gluten-free beer.

The Gluten-free Crystal Weiss is very drinkable. The ingredients of maple syrup and molasses come through in the flavor and aroma. This one is very pleasant and smooth, with none of the metallic aftertaste that is the signature of other gluten-free beers die to the sorghum malt.  It has a bit of a fruit quality to it but it holds back from being actually sweet.

The aroma is what really stood out for me with this beer. Gluten-free beers often have an unusual odor. While I could smell the sorghum in this beer, the scent was surprisingly pleasant.

They don't have it posted on their website yet, but the brew is listed on their beer menu:

Gluten-free Crystal Weiss
100% Gluten-free Ale! This beer is made with sorghum, brown rice, maple syrup, and molasses for a smooth gluten-free experience. We used German noble hops, Perle for bittering and Spalter and Hersbruckens hops for aroma.

IBU's: 25 Alcohol by Vol 4.8%

I had a gluten-eating friend try a sip. His response? "It's good!" and "It almost tastes like a cider!" This was a compliment, by the way. My friend was craving a cider. He ended up getting a Black Butte Porter, one of my old favorites from the gluten days. I'll try to get someone who has more authority and opinion to try it and give a thorough review here at the Gluten-free Gourmand.

This beer will only be available in their two pub locations - one is in the Pearl District in Portland, and the original location is in Bend. But as previously reported, my server again confirmed that the Deschutes Brewery will be coming out with new gluten-free beers year-round until they settle on a few recipes they really like.

I heard a rumor that they had both the Gluten-free ESB and the Gluten-free Weiss beers on tap at the same time, but by the time I got there they were out of the ESB. I consoled myself very reasonably with two pints of the Crystal Weiss, a burger with a gluten-free bun, fries, and a double-chocolate pot de creme.

That's right: as reported here last month on the Gluten-free Gourmand, the Deschutes Brewery has been working on their very own gluten-free bun. It is now available. It won't blow your mind, but it's serviceable. The dough has an unleavened look to it, but the flavor is good.

The fries have no flour in their seasoning, but ask your server if you are worried about cross-contamination; sometimes they don't cook them in a dedicated fryer.

Items on the menu that are able to be modified to be gluten-free are noted with a little symbol. Ask your server for details - they seem to know all about it. This would be a great place to bring people for a work function, as they are able to accommodate all sorts of diets. I'm definitely going to bring my dad here the next time he visits - he'd really be into the wood carvings, and I got him hooked on Black Butte Porter years ago.

Go try it out, and let me know what you think. Cheers!


Jen said...

I have a ton of family in Portland that we visit all the time. Next time we're down there I am going!!! Thanks for your review. :)

Jen said...

BTW, your photos are great!

Vicki's Bit-o-earth said...

My DIL lives in Tigard and has gluten intollerance... I'm letting her know about this! Wonderful photos too!

Gina said...

Thanks for all the compliments on my photos! You should definitely spread the work around about this gluten-free beer at Deschutes. It makes Portland an even better place to visit!

Lauren Denneson said...

Ben and I took our parents here when they were all in town this month and it was a huge hit! I was a bit disappointed to not have the ESB on tap, but this new one is pretty good too. We got to try one of the buns as a substitute for the bread that came with a salad and your right - it's okay and suffers a bit from the "too wet in the middle" issue of many gluten free breads.

Gina said...

Lauren -

But at least there's a bun! I get a lot of teasing from friends when I go out and order a "bunless burger." At Deschutes I don't have to any more. I'm glad your group liked the brewery!

Miss A said...

ahhh. i just looove your blog!

Rachel said...

Just found your blog and I love it! GF beer is a rare and delicate jewel indeed... thanks for sharing about your awesome gf experience.

Gina said...

Thanks Rachel! Thanks for your comment. Gluten-free beer is getting easier to find in Portland. It's very encouraging!

Anonymous said...

Gina, I like the new gravator! Cute pic of you!
Jessie at Blog Schmog

Lucy said...

I had a gluten free bun there the other day that was awesome... i actually talked to the girl who bakes them about getting a few to take home. she gave me several different kinds that they are working on (if you go ask if they have the flaxseed caraway one, it was my favorite)

Gina said...

I didn't know they had different kinds of buns! I was just there today and the bun was the same as always - sesame. Thanks for the tip.

mb said...

Can you ship some east!?! Sounds great!

Gina said...

Sorry, MB, they only sell their gluten-free beer in pints, growlers, and kegs. You will have to come to Portland to try it!

KAGFG said...

This makes a former Oregonian VERY VERY happy. Can't wait to visit home!!