In just a few days, I will be on my way to the 36th Great American Beer Festival [GABF] in Denver, Colorado. This will be my second brewventure to GABF! Last year, I planned on visiting gluten-free and gluten-reduced breweries outside of GABF. However, the festival itself was so incredibly overwhelming (even for a New Yorker like myself) that I was only about to taste what was available during festival sessions. With over 3,000 beers last year, only a handful were gluten-free/gluten-reduced that were present at the festival, and even then, it was extremely tiresome and frustrating to find more than one or two. Luckily, I had the pleasure of meeting with the brewers of Holidaily Brewing Co., Shine Brewing Co. and Brewery Rickoli.
This year, GABF will showcase over 3,900 beers from more than 800 breweries around the United States. GABF also created a new app, where you can take a “gluten-free/low gluten” beer tour around the festival. This will make the lives of Celiacs much easier to navigate! Here are a few breweries I hope to visit at the festival and around Colorado.
1. Great Frontier Brewing Co. (available at GABF)
Great Frontier Brewing Co. is an award winning brewery that I was looking to try last year, but was unable to locate them at the festival. Great Frontier offers gluten-free, gluten-reduced, and traditional beers. Fortunately the brewery will be present at GABF once again, although it hasn’t been clear whether or not their gluten-reduced/free beers will be available. “Blonde Annie” (gluten-free) was an award winning beer in 2011 and on my top two beers that I look forward to try either at the festival or at the brewery. The second beer I hope to get my hands on is the gluten-reduced “High Country” Cream Ale. I’ve always been a sucker for cream ales and I’m constantly teased being surrounded by “Oh Bee-Have” Honey Cream Ale at 1940’s Brewery, where I work. Let’s see how successful I am with trying them both!
2. Holidaily Brewing Co. (available at GABF)
I have been a fan of Holidaily Brewing Co. from the moment I heard Founder Karen Hertz’s story. After overcoming melanoma and thyroid cancer, Karen was advised to live a gluten-free lifestyle. Her story hits close to home as someone who is constantly battling a health roller coaster. I had the honor of meeting her last year and trying “Favorite Blonde,” 5% and “Fat Randy’s IPA” 7.3%, both available in cans. Holidaily’s beer menu is a Celiac’s paradise featuring two Red Ales, two Blondes, Stout, Saison, IPA, DIPA and so much more. I made Karen a promise that I’d visit her at the brewery and I plan on sticking by it this time around!
3. Field House Brewing Co.
Located in Colorado Springs, Field House Brewing Co. features 14 beers, including 3 dedicated gluten-free beers: “GF Stout,” “Forman Red,” “Milletology IPA.” Field House is the first brewery to open up in Downtown Colorado Springs in over 21 years and a 15 minute drive away from Garden of the Gods (also on my list)!
4. Station 26 Brewing Co.
Station 26 Brewing Co. is an award-winning brewery that offers nine beers, ranging from Cream Ales, IPAs, Gose, and Stout. Of the nine beers, four are gluten-reduced beers: “Colorado Cream” 5.2% ABV, “Tangerine Cream” 5.2% ABV, “Lemondrop Wheat” 4.5% ABV, and Scott’s Imperial Pumpkin 8.1%. Six of their beers are available in cans, including the gluten-reduced ones. Although I wish I could get a flight to include each of their eclectic beers, I’m excited to see that they pushed the boundaries of Celiacs’ mundane tastebuds.
5. Stem Cider – Cidergrass
While Stem Cider is a cider house and not a brewery, it should be on your list of places to visit in Denver! Last year, I attended Cidergrass, which was filled with six bluegrass bands and over a dozen ciders. Their ciders were on the dry side and opened my palate to exotic tastes like lavender, hibiscus juniper and cider slushies. This year, I will be attending again to try Stem’s “Coffee Cider” 6.8% ABV. Tickets for this festival are $15 and will benefit the Colorado Mountain Club and their mission to help Coloradans safely enjoy recreating in the mountains of Colorado.