I have been traveling up to Oregon to go fishing from time to time. It was in June of 2013 that I first found, what was then called, Harvester Beers. It was a gift from the gods for someone who enjoyed beer but could not consume beers that contain gluten.
I am not an expert, I can not pick out all of the ingredients and tell you what to eat which each particular brew. I can tell you I like beer and I like to eat. I used to enjoy New Belgium Fat Tire, Rogue Dead Guy, Sierra Nevada and Stone Levitation. So you can see I was not into light or non-hoppy beers.
As far as GF beers go, I have tried New Planet, Glutenberg, Epic's Glutenator, Bard's, Redbridge, New Grist, Dogfish, and Green's (I have been reluctant to try any of the "gluten removed" beers). I don't think you can comment on something unless you know how it compares to the competition. Well, hands down GroundBreaker is on top by a large margin.
For those of you that do not know, GroundBreaker is located in Portland, Oregon. Attached to the brewery is a GF Gastropub. You can go in and eat anything (its all GF) and drink anything (all the beer is GF). I love going in and ordering a flight - just because I can. The food is delicious - one of my favorite soups was a roasted butternut squash with quinoa and kale in a pork broth. Their appetizers and daily flatbread pizzas are delicious.
Paxton was nice enough to send me a sample of some of the new GroundBreaker Beers to try. I so wish they were distributed in San Diego. For now I carry home as many as I can fit in my luggage whenever I travel to Portland.
First let me tell you about IBU or International Bitterness Units scale is a measure of Bitterness. Most American IPAs have an IBU between 40-70. And if you didn't know ABV is alcohol by volume.
The first one I tried was IPA no.4. This is made with roasted chestnuts and roasted lentils. It's listed at 90 IBU and 6.8% ABV. They state that it is "packed full of bitterness, flavor and aroma." I would strongly agree. As soon as I opened it it smelled delicious - I got a strong aroma of the hops. Upon pouring it there was a nice head and darker golden color to the beer. They make it with Newport and Crystal hops and you can definitely taste the hops. By the time I finished this one I was craving another. Although IPA no.2 used to be my favorite, IPA no.4 has taken the lead as my favorite GF beer.
Next on the list was IPA no.5. At 60 IBU and 5.6% ABV it will make the IPA lovers happy. They make this one with chestnuts and lentils too, but add candi sugar, Crystal hops and Santiam hops. I really enjoyed this one. It may not be as hoppy as no.4 but it is all IPA. If you are an IPA fan like I am, you have to try this one.
How about their Pale Ale? This was one of the first Harvesters I had ever tried. Although I am more of an IPA fan the Pale is delicious. It is listed as 30 IBU and 5.8% ABV. This is lighter and crispier. After a hot day in the sun this is more refreshing than the hoppier IPAs.
Their Dark Ale weighs in at 35 IBU and 4.5% ABV. I really enjoy the flavor but a whole pint is a bit much for my tastes, so its makes a great pint to share with friends. I especially like dropping a scoop of GF mocha chip ice cream into a scotch glass and filling it to the brim with the Dark Ale. Consider it a daddy' root beer float.
Their experimental ales have always been amazing. They had a coffee pale ale that was amazing with chocolate desserts and another tum yum with lemongrass and coconut. I had the oppurtunity to try two new ones: Squash Ale and St. Denny Ale.
The Squash Ale is 30 IBU and 5.7% ABV. They make is with squash, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg and coriander. If you could bottle the fall season this would be it. The spices are not overpowering. I was making some roasted chicken and polenta for dinner. I was going to steam some broccoli and instead of using water I added a bit of the beer to the pan. The broccoli was delicious and in steaming it I could taste the nutmeg and coriander in the vegetables. I can see this perfectly complementing a plate of mashed parsnips, a roasted pork loin candied with some brown sugar topped with some pickled red onions.
And lastly the St. Denny Experimental Ale. This has 25 IBU and 6.5% ABV. You need to go to their site and read their press release. This is a great story about a local home brew expert and his influence in the creation of this Ale. This was a really nice ale. It was dark with an amber hue. A nice beer aroma without alot of hoppy bitterness. I really enjoyed this - you should try one.
As always I am a huge fan of GroundBreaker gluten free beers. I used to enjoy beer until I had to go GF. And although there are many GF beers on the market the GroundBreaker brews are the ones I really enjoy and look forward too the most. What is even more impressive is that my non-GF friends who have tasted GrounBreaker have all really enjoyed each of their brews and many were surprised to find out it was a GF beer.
So find yourself a GroundBreaker or plan a trip to Portland so you can visit their Gastropub - when was the last time you could order anything on the menu at the pub and a flight of GF beers.
The Un-Gluten Guy
P.s. For those of you that want order some for yourself or if you feel so inclined to send me a gift - GroundBreaker Beer is always a good option. They have handed over online ordering to Bring on the Beer.