I had the best trip of my life visiting Colorado! I extended my second trip to the Great American Beer Festival [GABF] by a few days and made time for hiking, site seeing, and a beer & cider trail mapped out for Celiacs. Most of the breweries I researched offered gluten-reduced beers, however, these breweries were scattered across Colorado. So if you intend on following this beer and cider trail, I recommend you rent a car, pick up some snacks, and good tunes for the road!
Jagged Mountain Brewing Co. (Gluten-reduced) – Denver, CO
Since I stayed a few blocks away from the Colorado Convention Center in Denver (where GABF is held), Jagged Brewery was a 10 min walk away. How convenient! Jagged Brewery had about 15+ beers on tap and six special GABF releases. Of the gluten-reduced beers I sampled, I had four favorites.
Cattywampus DIPA: 9.7% ABV – I first discovered this beer at GABF, and to be honest, it led me to the brewery! I’m not a huge hophead and I do not enjoy grapefruits, so I was surprised that I fell in love with this DIPA. Cattywampus doesn’t hit you with the grapefruit aroma you typically find, but is full of juicy flavor and balanced with the hops used in this beer.
Rum Barrel-Aged Doppel Black Diamond: 9% ABV – Wow! This beer took me back to my younger partying days and reminded me of my go-to cocktail: Rum & Coke. I couldn’t do a full pint of this one, but I enjoyed every sip I took. The Black Diamond was malty, toasty and would make for the perfect beer on those cold winter nights.
Cabaret Barrel-Aged Playin’ Hooky: 5.2% – Playin’ Hooky is a tart, cherry wheat beer and according to their website, Jagged Mountain makes this beer with “puffed jasmine rice from Asia and 110 pounds of Montmorency Cherry juice concentrate (the equivalent of 325 pounds of fresh cherries).” Pretty mind-boggling! I’ve never had a beer quite like this one before, so I grabbed a crowler of this to bring home!
Stem Cider (Gluten-Reduced) – Denver, CO
Once again, I stopped at Cidergrass, a bluegrass music festival with special released ciders. I tried each one including the Coffee Cider, which they nailed! It’s safe to say there isn’t a single cider that I don’t enjoy at Stem, but I do have a favorite from this visit.
Grapefruit Citra Hopped: 6.7% ABV – As I mentioned earlier in my post, I do not like grapefruits or anything relating to the aroma or flavor. However, the Grapefruit Citra Hopped cider is dry, smooth, hoppy and a splash of grapefruit.
Station 26 Brewing Co. (Gluten-reduced) – Denver, CO
I stopped at Station 26 Brewery on a Sunday afternoon before heading out of town, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out the brewery was hosting a Blues Brunch. Music, beer, and BBQ brunch…what more could you ask for? They had a few cream ales, which were gluten-reduced, but my top choice at Station 26 goes to the gose!
Mango Habanero Gose: 5%ABV – Lately, I’ve been experimenting with spicier beers and ciders, so I was immediately drawn to this sour. It was balanced with a kick of habanero.
Holidaily Brewing Co. (Gluten-free) – Golden, CO
Holidaily is the only gluten-free brewery in Colorado, so I had to make them one of my stops. I’ve had their award-winning beer at GABF two years in a row, but I haven’t tried their entire menu. My top two favorite beers go to Favorite Blonde, available in cans (which I brought back) and Riva Stout, recently canned this week!
Favorite Blonde: 5% ABV – Favorite Blonde is my favorite gluten-free beer that I’ve had. It’s light, not too hoppy and low ABV, which makes for easy drinking.
Riva Stout: 7% – As a stout person, I found Riva Stout to be my favorite stout in the industry, and I’m so excited that it will now be available in cans! This stout is full of roasted coffee and chocolate.
Mountain Toad Brewing Co. (Gluten-reduced) – Golden, CO
Mountain Toad Brewery is a cozy brewery located in the heart of Golden, minutes away from Holidaily. It was noted publicly that they have gluten-reduced beer, but I found out through someone in the industry so I stopped in. My top choices go to their darker beers:
Apex Amber: 5.5% ABV – This Amber Ale was beautiful in color, perfectly balance between the sweet malt and hops (Centennial and Mt. Hood). It was easy drinking and quite delicious.
Butternut Brown Ale: 5.9% ABV – The Butternut Brown Ale screams autumn, without the typical sweet pumpkin flavor. It’s toasted, loaded with home-roasted butternut squash, and full-bodied. I couldn’t get enough of this one.
Ryrish Stout: 6.4% – Mountain Toad’s stout is full-bodied with a balanced blend of coffee and chocolate. It was too good to share! It’s a shame they didn’t have any available in cans, otherwise I would’ve brought this one home.