Thursday, November 11, 2010

Deschutes Brewery

Once again my blogging has gotten away from me as I've gotten busy trying to figure out life in the big city.  But as you can see I've been enjoying myself. 

Portland keeps giving me more and more reasons to love it.  And now I can added great locally brewed gluten free beer to that list.  Anyone who in a former life was a beer lover and now is trying to make due in this new gluten free existence with the crap they try to trick us into believing is beer will understand how big of a deal this is.

Most gluten free beer is made from sorghum, a crazy amount of hops and a tad of rice.  It tastes like burnt slightly alcoholic artificial maple syrup.   If you squint and tap your heels together while drinking one of these abominations one can actually pretend it's beer.  I have a pretty stellar imagination but even I can't pretend to be satisfied with these icky gluten free brews.  Thankfully wine is more my thing but the fella has been enjoying a bunch of the local microbrews in my presence so I was getting a tad jealous.   So when someone mentioned a brew pub with gluten free options I was so there!

Deschutes Brewery in Northwest Portland was worth the journey and the long wait for a table.  They have an ample gluten free menu with a handful of vegetarian options and always have one gluten free beer on tap.  You heard me...on tap!  

This is unheard of, finally a brewery is doing the gluten free thing right.  Not only that but the gluten free beer is produced in dedicated tanks and such so there is no cross contamination.  And when ordering the gluten free ale, the bar tender immediately puts a red band around the glass so everyone is 100% sure that no gluteny beer is going in that glass.  This was the first bar of my life where I felt safe, they knew what they were doing and obviously took pains to not make their gluten free patrons ill.  Yay Portland!

The gluten free beer apparently changes seasonally so during our visit I enjoyed their ale.  It is a blend of sorghum, brown rice, roasted chestnuts and Cascade hops.  But there was none of that overly bitter syrupy thing to this beer.  This was well balanced, slightly sweet, a hint nutty and just enough bitter to round things out.  It smelled and tasted like beer!  I didn't have to pretend to enjoy this in order to trick myself into having a beer experience, I genuinely loved this stuff.

The fella had the big evil gluteny stout which smelled amazing, like an expensive cigar enjoyed in a room where chocolate, coffee and bacon are all being cooked at the same time.  He said it was among the best stouts he's ever had.  And even after having that huge heavy beer, he tried a sip of mine and agreed it tasted like the real thing.  So we both left happy.  Whenever the fella and I can find a place we both can eat at, it is a huge accomplishment because it doesn't happen often.

Next time the urge for a beer strikes I know where I will be headed.  Thank you Deschutes for making a great gluten free beer!