Thanks to the ingenuity of brewers there are many options
Since the dawn of civilization barley has been a fundamental ingredient in beer. Gluten-free (GF) beer was for millennia nothing more than a dream. But thanks to the ingenuity of brewers over the last decade there are now many GF beers available for Calgary’s gluten-conscious consumer.
• Messagère (4.7 per cent) is made from rice and buckwheat and was the first GF beer available in Alberta. For a long time it was the only player in the GF game. While other breweries were still catching up La Messagere added a red version called Rousse (five per cent).
• Green’s Discovery beers were also relatively early onto the scene with three Belgian-style GF beers. Now there is only one Amber Ale (six per cent). This beer is available in single 500 ml bottles.
• Bard’s Tale (4.7 per cent) claims to be America’s first GF beer and the only one made with 100 per cent malted sorghum. It is widely distributed and should be easy to find. It is available in six-packs of bottles.
• Estrella Damm Daura (5.4 per cent) is available in four-packs of bottles. Hailing from Spain this GF beer is in the style of a light lager and is a reasonable facsimile of regular beer.
• At the 2012 World Beer Cup awards gala only one brewery received a standing ovation from the capacity crowd. Brasseurs Sans Gluten from Quebec won all three medals in its category (GF Beer) and the respect of brewers from around the world. Four of its beers are available in Alberta: Pale Blonde Red and 8 .
• Wold Top is a British brewery and makes beers in British styles. Wold Top Against the Grain (4.5 per cent) was for a time the top rated GF beer in the world while Scarborough Fair IPA (six per cent) may be the only GF IPA available in Alberta. Both beers are available in single 500 ml bottles.
• Nickel Brook Gluten Free Pale Ale (5.8 per cent) is available in single 473 ml cans and is one of the lowest-priced GF beers available. Nickel Brook was the first GF beer to be brewed in Ontario and is made with sorghum syrup and pear juice.
• Lakefront Brewery is based in Milwaukee home of Laverne & Shirley. The characters of that late ’70s sitcom worked at a fictitious brewery but Lakefront New Grist (5.7 per cent) is very real and is GF. It is available in six-packs of bottles.
• Mongozo Premium Pilsner (5 per cent) is also GF. Available in single 330 ml bottles Mongozo’s beer is made from malted barley but then processed to have its gluten removed.
• Drummond Gluten Free Beer (5 per cent) hails from nearby Red Deer and comes in six-packs of cans.
In the interests of full disclosure effective January 2013 Don Tse invested in a beer import agency and a couple of the gluten-free beers in this article are represented by that agency. The article endeavours to include all GF beers available in Calgary.