If you had a chance to taste one of our gluten-free beers, you know we like to play with the concept a little. Most of the gluten free beers out there are pretty mediocre, or well made but simply uninteresting. How many gluten-free pale ales do we really need? This lack of variety partially comes from a lack of variety in the raw materials. Sorghum extract is the main ingredient in most gluten free beers. There aren’t many easy ways to spice up the recipes from there, so most breweries seem to just add hops and call it a day.
I’ve been trying to move beyond this, to see what you can really achieve with gluten free raw materials. I started out by jumping straight into a style that I thought would actually compliment the few raw materials you can easily use, the saison style. This worked really well, as the flavor characteristics created by the yeast blend naturally with the sorghum extract, and I’d throw in some cane sugar and honey as well. I went one step further by experimenting with herbs and spices that I thought would further blend well with the existing flavors. I first did a lavender, vanilla, and grains of paradise gluten free saison. That’s one of my favorite recipes I’ve ever created. Next was the Norcal Winter gluten free saison with douglas fir tips, juniper berries, bay leaves, and some bright spicy hops. Continue reading