How about gluten-free craft beer, is that a thing?
Gluten-free beer has come a long way over the years so I turned to Tara Luxmore Certified Cicerone® and one half of the Beer Sisters to get an expert’s opinion about navigating the exciting world of gluten-free beer.
How does the gluten-free beer profile differ from regular beer?
In the past, gluten-free beers have tasted more fruity and soda-like with a thinner body.
But, with the growing interest in gluten-free products, brewers have been experimenting with different techniques. Everything from various grain mixes to stripping almost all of the gluten out of barley [for non-celiac consumers], resulting in some well-rounded, great tasting beers.
Do you have a favourite gluten-free beer?
I’m a fan of Quebec-based Glutenberg. They’ve been working at it since 2011, and continue to win awards for their excellent beers.
Is there a hidden gem that doesn’t get enough attention?
I also really dig the gluten-free Saison from The Exchange Brewery in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
They specialize in Belgian-style brews and only make one gluten-free beer, but they do it well. It is made with buckwheat. It’s nutty, earthy with herbal hops and some sweetness. A great go-to table beer that works well with most food.
You can find it in their bottle shop and at their online store.
Is it harder to pair gluten-free beer with food?
Pairing is all about finding the right match. So, with a well-made beer, you can always find food that goes well.
Plus, beer’s bubbles make it perfect for pairing as it is a palate cleanser.
Is there a rule of thumb when pairing gluten-free beer with food (i.e. white wine with fish)?
My advice for anyone interested in pairing beer and food is to taste and drink widely.
Try different styles with different dishes, and figure out what you like. How you taste and experience flavour is unique to you, so spend some time doing your homework!
Homework sounds fun but do you have a few pairing recommendations to start with?
Paula’s 3 Top Foodservice Tips for Serving Gluten-Free Beer
1. Dedicated lines are safer than shared ones.
2. Double clean serving glasses to ensure there is no residual non-gluten-free beer on the glass.
3. Use only clean bar towels to dry glasses used for gluten-free beer.
My recent favourite is the Glutenberg Red but summer is around the corner and I’m eager to use Tara’s suggestions and dig into my own homework!
About the Beer Sisters:
Crystal and Tara Luxmore are real-life sisters, entrepreneurs, and beer experts. Crystal is an Advanced Cicerone® and Tara is a Certified Cicerone®. They are also both Certified Beer Judges and Prud’homme Beer Sommeliers.
As writers, their work has appeared in Food & Drink, Toronto Life, Quench Magazine and the Globe and Mail.
The sisters have appeared as beer experts on TV and radio. They lead guided tastings and events with beer at the centre for clients in Canada and the U.S.