Gluten-free beer starts a brewing rebellion

Photo: iStock

Photo: iStock

Next time you crack a beer think about how just three ingredients have produced the aromas, flavour, texture and bitterness unique to that particular brew.

It’s amazing just how much flavour and style can be extracted from four simple ingredients – malt or wheat, hops and yeast.

Different brewing techniques, developed over centuries, have refined flavours and defined regions around the world using just those ingredients.

The craft beer scene has seen canny brewers take these simple ingredients in a bold new direction and dial up their flavours with hoppy IPAs – it’s one time where a more is more approach works best – and complex dark beers.

Ballarat brewers Rebellion Brewing have added a twist to thousands of years brewing tradition by using different ingredients to produce gluten-free beers under the O’Brien label.

The brewing process releases gluten proteins from malted barley and wheat, so O’Brien uses sorghum or millet malt in their place.

Using specialised machinery to mill the grain and brew the beer helps avoid any contamination from Rebellion’s regular brews.

Of course, there’s no point breaking with brewing history if the beers aren’t any good. I’m happy to report they’re all delicious.

 

O’Brien Light Lager

  • (2.7%) – $61.90 a case
  • 90/100

1-obrien-light-lager-glass-002

 

The world’s first gluten-free light beer, this has more complexity than most lights. There’s a gentle caramel undertone to its banana and tangerine aromas, while a subtle bitterness is delivered with a creamy texture.

 

O’Brien Premium Lager

  • (4.5%) – $67.95 a case
  • 90/100

2-obrien-premium-lager-glass-002

 

A pale amber colour, O’Brien’s lager has a floral bouquet. It’s crisp and refreshing, with a line of citrus and dusty malt characters finish with a bitterness that’s firm but not overpowering.

 

O’Brien Pale Ale

  • (4.5%) – $67.95 a case
  • 91/100

3-obrien-pale-ale-glass-002

 

Pine and tropical fruit aromas lead into refreshing malt, citrus and caramel flavours. The bitterness is dialled up a little higher than the lager but there’s drinkability that is often missing in many pale ales.

 

O’Brien Belgian Ale

  • (6%) – $86.90 a case
  • 92/100

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Made using sorghum, millet and Belgian candi (correct spelling) sugar. Citrus, spice and all things nice – orange zest, coriander and tropical fruits lead to a creamy texture, a similar array of intense flavours and a gentle, moreish finish.

 

O’Brien India Pale Ale

  • (6%) – $86.90 a case
  • 91/100

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This is labelled as a spring release. Floral citrus aromas have more in common with riesling than beer, but one sip leaves you under no illusions – this is full-throttle IPA. It’s bold and bitter, with a refreshing, fruity finish.

 

O’Brien Brown Ale

  • (4.5%) – $67.95 a case
  • 93/100

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A dark ale that smells of peaches, citrus and caramel? Yep, and this has summer refreshment written all over it. Just because it’s dark doesn’t mean it’s heavy and should be consigned to cold winter nights. This is as light as a lager, just as fruity and has the added complexity of layered malt elements. Delicious.

 

O’Brien Black Lager

  • (5.3%) – $86.90 a case
  • 91/100

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Coffee and dark chocolate-coated toffees define this brew – from its subtle aromas to rich, creamy flavours. There’s a lot of flavour packed into a 330ml bottle, and it flows seamlessly along the palate before finishing with a bitter flourish. I’d suggest not drinking this too cold.

 

O’Brien Chocolate Orange Porter

  • (6.8%) – $98.90 a case
  • 92/100

 

A boozy equivalent of a Terry’s Chocolate Orange, this is made with orange zest and cacao. It’s full of bittersweet chocolate, coffee and subtle orange flavours. It’s heavy on the hops, which work as a counterweight to the sweet chocolate flavours.

@obrienbeer Pale Ale now on tap at @ec_brunswick #glutenfree #glutenfreebeer #obrienbeer #obrienbeerontap #glutenfreebeerontap

A photo posted by O'Brien Beer (@obrienbeer) on

 

 

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