Beer Notes

Boise beer notes: Gluten-free IPA, local seasonals and fresh hops

mdeeds@idahostatesman.comSeptember 27, 2013 

Faced with a bottle of gluten-free Omission IPA, the first reaction from craft-beer over-enthusiasts might be akin to an epiphany: "So it's the gluten! THAT's why my gut's always messed up the morning after I drink a gallon or two of craft beer!"

(Come on, man, we all know it's the yeast. Ahem.)

In all seriousness, gluten-free beers have earned a somewhat deserved reputation as a less than optimal taste experience. So theoretically, a bitter IPA seems like a decent idea if for no other reason than to crank up the hops in an attempt to cover up the sorghum-or-whatever nastiness associated with gluten-free swill.

Here's the surprise, though: Omission IPA may not strike you as the hoppiest IPA on the planet - especially if you drink a Boise IPA such as Sockeye's Dagger Falls - and it actually doesn't need to.

Widmer Brothers Brewing isn't using sorghum or rice or any of the typically terrifying gluten-free beer ingredient choices. Instead, the Portland brewery crafts its IPA with water, barley, yeast and hops, then adds an enzyme that nukes the gluten down to an acceptable level - below the Codex standard of 20 parts per million.

Omission IPA, which rates an IBU (International Bitterness Unit) of 65 and ABV (alcohol by volume) of 6.7 percent, is basically a citrus-tinged, Northwest-style IPA all the way - a relatively balanced and restrained one.

Will it become your IPA of choice if you're a gluten-friendly imbiber? Probably not. But you definitely won't turn one down at a backyard barbecue. And for gluten-intolerant drinkers, it's definitely an IPA to seek out.

Omission IPA just landed in Boise stores recently; you'll find a six-pack at Whole Foods, for example, for $9.99. Omission also makes gluten-free Lager and Pale Ale.

IDAHO SEASONALS, FRESH-HOPPED BEERS

• Autumn is here, which means savory seasonals are popping up at local breweries.

Oktoberfest Bier, the Ram's most popular seasonal, began pouring this week at both the Boise and Meridian restaurants. The malty, full-bodied Oktoberfest won a Gold Medal at the 2013 North American Beer Awards.

Crooked Fence Brewing is pouring its tasty Evil Harvest, laced with pumpkin, cinnamon sticks and nutmeg (but nicely subtle with the Jack-o'-Lantern ingredient.)

And Payette Brewing Co. has unleashed its potent Slaughterhouse India Red Ale.

• Now is the time of year when brewers drive out to hops fields then hustle back to the brewery to concoct earthy, aromatic fresh-hopped beers.

Crooked Fence has its Smash Ale on tap now; Payette is pouring two fresh-hop pale ales: So Fresh and So Clean, and Wet and Wilder.

SOCKEYE GOES PINK

Sockeye Brewing's proudly hoppy Dagger Falls IPA might be bitter -but it's also sweet.

In an effort to raise breast cancer awareness, six-packs of Sockeye Brewing's Dagger Falls IPA will be available in pink cans during October.

Sockeye and Stein Distributing each will make a donation of 50 cents per case on 2,000 cases of the pink brew. Donations also will come from Albertsons, Boise Co-op, Whole Foods, Brewforia, Brewer's Haven and Bier:Thirty, meaning that each sixer generates a total of $1.50 in benefit money. Proceeds from the fundraising will go to St. Luke's Mountain States Tumor Institute and Saint Alphonsus Cancer Care Center for treatment and care of local cancer victims.

A "Cans for Care Kick Off" with food trucks and live music will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. Oct. 5 at Sockeye's new brewery - and soon second pub - at 12542 Fairview Ave. in Boise.

Michael Deeds: 377-6407, Twitter: @IDS_Deeds

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