I dont suffer from celiac disease or gluten intolerance, but the first thing I did when I got the major players behind Widmer Bros. Brewing Co.s Omission gluten-free beers on the phone was thank them.
At least once a week, someone asks me to recommend a gluten-free beer, and I had nothing worth suggesting. Until now.
Omission is the first gluten-free beer Ive sampled that tastes like real beer. Thats because it is beer, brewed with malted barley, yeast, hops and water.
Gluten is a protein found in many grains. Omission uses a proprietary process that begins with low-protein barley and employs a brewing enzyme that further breaks down the protein, reducing it to a point where the beer is considered gluten-free.
Most gluten-free beers use sorghum, rice, fruit, honey or tapioca in place of barley. Malted barley is the backbone of beers color and flavor, and its absence is noticeable.
Few people know more about gluten-free beer than Terry Michaelson and Joe Casey. Michaelson, the chief executive of Oregons Craft Brew Alliance, was diagnosed with celiac disease 12 years ago. Casey, brewmaster at Widmer Bros., began formulating gluten-free beer recipes after his wife was diagnosed with the disease in 2006.
I wanted to make sure if we did something, we delivered on the flavor that other beer consumers were experiencing and enjoying, Michaelson says.
Omission, which sells for about $10 a six-pack and is available at Total Wine & More, will stick with pale ale and lager for now, but Michaelson says the line could expand.
We want to continue to give people with gluten sensitivity the option to try different craft styles, which hasnt really been an option for them. The great thing about Omission is, you dont have to be a celiac to enjoy it.