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Three Things People with Celiac Wish you Knew

“Celiac wife + Seattle + beer-drinking husband = Ghostfish” — Yelp reviewer Chris C., Spokane, WA, Feb. 2020 

Celiac Awareness Month is winding down, but the cause is always close to our hearts. We’ve featured articles that answer common questions about gluten-free beer and living a gluten-free lifestyle. Recently we asked Ghostfish fans to respond to the question: “What do you wish more people knew about being gluten-free?”

We loved reading all the responses but these three issues related to cross-contamination, by far, were what most people found frustrating.

Cross-contamination is real but how does it affect celiacs?
If you touch a raw chicken breast and then pick up a bread roll without washing your hands in between, you’ve potentially carried over any bacteria found on the uncooked meat to the bread. The risk is real and profound; we’ve all heard horror stories of food poisoning associated with bacteria from raw chicken which can carry Campylobacter bacteria, Salmonella, and Clostridium perfringens bacteria.

Now imagine how a kitchen that isn’t gluten-free can be detrimental to people with celiac disease. At Ghostfish,  gluten-free means everything is gluten-free from the ingredients and surfaces, to the  equipment and utensils. 

Just one innocent speck of the gluten protein inhibits the celia in the intestines from absorbing nutrients. Take it from us, it hurts a lot! 

Common cross-contamination scenarios:

  • Gluten-free foods (like fries) that are deep-fried in a fryer that is also used to fry breaded chicken, wings, cheese curds, jalapeno poppers (etc.), will retain gluten proteins and are harmful.
  • When pasta is used in the same hot water to boil gluten noodles as they do gluten-free noodles. 
  • Handmade pizza dough has airborne flour and on every surface of a kitchen so no matter how conscientious a restaurant is, cross-contamination is likely.
  • “A little bit will hurt me and no I can’t just pick it out.” Once a breaded item has been in contact with other ingredients on a plate, it’s contaminated and harmful. 

Food on-the-go
“Not being able to grab food when I’m out of the house – so much prep, planning and let downs. Also menus that say “gluten-free” but they cross-contaminate.”

Traveling anywhere with celiac disease can be one of the most challenging aspects of living with the disease. Cruising down the freeway on a road trip? If you have celiac, you better have a big cooler! No Mcdonald’s stop for us! There’s a lot of research and planning that’s involved with traveling out of our known zone (i.e. out of state or to a foreign country).

Inconveniencing friends and family
“I wish more people understood that some of us need to follow a gluten-free diet all the time, no cheating, for our health, as it’s the only therapy for our [celiac] disease.”

From a friend’s kitchen where you may have to decline food, to workplace break rooms that are liberally contaminated by gluten, to the awkwardness of being on a date and having to explain why you’re not eating because those gluten-free onion rings are deep-fried in the same cooker as the fish ‘n chips; celiac disease affects emotional health and has a big social impact.

Moving forward, it’s important to remember that a celiac diagnosis isn’t the end of eating good food, it’s the beginning. To prove it we’ve included a couple of recipes in this newsletter for our mouth-watering potato salad and brats that everyone can enjoy! 

Until next time, cheers!

Can beer be wheat-free?

Drinking beer through straws was commonplace in Sumeria, Mesopotamia, and Egypt.

Wheat-free beers contrary to popular belief, are not new. During the Babylonian empire, gluten free grains, also known as ancient grains, primarily consisted of millet and buckwheat. The switch to barley and wheat occurred due to the desire to produce higher alcohol by volume (ABV) beverages using fewer resources. The higher ABV is possible because the sugars found in barley and wheat are easier for yeast to digest. 

The notion that gluten is a primary component of beer is a common misperception. While gluten free beer may not be a new concept, in many ways it has become a lost art.

Ghostfish Brewery is at the forefront of resurrecting this lost art—we love beer! We want everyone to have the ability to enjoy trendy and traditional beers, regardless of gluten intolerance. That is why we procure grains that are 100% gluten-free and source ingredients from these malthouses:

Grouse Malthouse (CO)

Eckert Malting Company (CA)

Skagit Valley Malting (WA)

Colorado Malting Company (CO)

In honor of Celiac Awareness Month, we’ll feature an article every week that answers common questions we hear about gluten free beer and living a gluten free lifestyle. Last week we talked about buckwheat, a fabulously versatile gluten free ingredient many people know little about. Check back next week for further adventures in living gluten free. Until next time, cheers!

But wait, buckwheat is wheat-free?

Yes it’s true! Buckwheat is celiac safe.

In honor of Celiac Awareness Month, we’re exploring buckwheat. The Japanese have cultivated buckwheat for ages and in the U.S. it’s gaining traction. The versatility and health benefits of this rhubarb relative are making it a popular alternative to grain-based beer. The kernels are an excellent replacement for traditional wheat or barley for brewing as buckwheat provides the proteins, starches, and enzymes needed to give beer body, mouthfeel, and head retention. Read about nutritional facts of buckwheat from a 2015 article on The Celiac Scene >>

The rich soil and growing conditions in Skagit Valley, Washington are ideal for buckwheat crops. Over three years ago, in a strategic partnership with Washington State University’s The Breadlab and Ghostfish, Skagit Valley Malting modified one of their malting machines to process 100% gluten free buckwheat for gluten free businesses. The buckwheat sold by SVM undergoes continuous strict batch testing from a third party to ensure safety. 

The specific buckwheat grown in Skagit Valley and malted by Skagit Valley Malting (SVM) releases earthy, nutty, herbal, and tea characteristics that add complexity to our brews. Though Ghostfish is one of the primary customers of Skagit Valley Malting’s gluten free buckwheat, more traditional breweries are finding the benefits of using it. Read Kendall Jones’ Washington Beer Blog article, “Adding to the haze, buckwheat is not just for gluten free brewers anymore”.

Buckwheat is nearly 40% of the grain bill for Ghostfish’s summer seasonal release, Gosefish Hibiscus Cranberry Gose (goz-uh). This recipe provides a solid base of pale malt buckwheat, malted millet, malted rice, and quinoa that lends characteristics typical of a German-style sour ale. For more about tasting notes, food pairings, and more about Ghostfish, follow this link  >>

Ghostfish beer leaves nothing behind but gluten. All our beers are pulled from various 100% gluten free grains to achieve desired results, including buckwheat, rice, millet, gluten-free oats, and quinoa. We’re using untraditional ingredients to emulate a style enjoyed by craft drinkers worldwide—ours just happens to be gluten free.

GHOSTFISH BREWING TAKES HOME 3 MEDALS AT THE 10th ANNUAL NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL BEER COMPETITION

We are proud to announce medal winnings from the 10th annual New York International Beer Competition (NYIBC).

  • A light-bodied beer with a dry finish, Kick Step IPA wins a silver medal. This winning is the first medal for the beer. 
  • Watchstander Stout won a bronze medal. This winning adds to its gold medal from the 215 Great American Beer Festival. 
  • And, fan-favorite, Peak Buster Double IPA’s NYIBC bronze win complements its winnings of bronze at the Best of Craft Beer Awards in 2019 and gold win at the 2017 Great International Beer, Cider, Mead, & Sake competition.

This year’s NYIBC was entirely virtual with over 800 entries from breweries around the world, competing in nearly 40 categories. Judges included top beer buyers and industry trade professionals

News of the winnings comes on the heals of our announcements last week of expanding wholesale distribution to Montana and California. Now, Ghostfish beers can be found in 17 US states, including the great New York State, 2 Canadian provinces, and the United Kingdom. 

GHOSTFISH BREWING COMPANY MAKES MONTANA DEBUT

From the rugged Rocky Mountains to lush open plains, Montana is defined by hard work and a never-stop-exploring attitude that resonates with the foundation of Ghostfish Brewing Company. “To this day, we don’t take no for an answer. On a daily basis, we continue to push the boundaries of what gluten free beer is,” said Brian Thiel, Managing Owner and co-Founder of Ghostfish Brewing Company. “Of all the states in the US, those living in Montana have been the most vocal and persistent in getting Ghostfish there. And, I’m excited to finally get to answer an astounding YES to fans across the state. We’re thrilled to partner with George’s Distributing to bring Ghostfish beer throughout all four corners of the state.”

On March 22, 2021, George’s Distributing begins offering Ghostfish’s seven flagships beers: Grapefruit IPA, Vanishing Point Pale Ale, Shrouded Summit Belgian White Ale, Kick Step IPA, Meteor Shower Blonde Ale, Peak Buster Double IPA, and Watchstander Stout, along with Seasonal beer release, It Came From the Haze Hazy IPA #6 to retailers throughout Montana.

“Georges Distributing is beyond excited to be partnering with Ghostfish Brewing Company.  We work diligently to bring the best of the best to craft beer consumers in the Big Sky State,” said Jason Combs, Beer and Cider Brand Manager at George’s Distributing. “Ghostfish Brewing is an incredible brand focused on this common goal. Not only can we offer great craft beer produced from the brewing team there, we bring the leader in the gluten free craft beer industry to all thirsty consumers. To partner with a brewery that offers their craft not only as a gluten free beer but as quality craft beer for all consumers is a wonderful thing! Georges Distributing truly values the opportunity to bring the vision of Ghostfish Brewing to Montana!”

GHOSTFISH BREWING COMPANY MAKES CALIFORNIA DEBUT

PRESS RELEASE

A dream six years in the making, Ghostfish Brewing Company makes its California debut this week. From the Golden Gate Bridge to Hollywood Boulevard to Mission Beach, Ghostfish, the largest volume producer of 100% dedicated gluten free beer in the United States, partners with California Beverage Company to deliver three of its most popular beers to residents throughout the golden state through BevMo! stores. 

“We’ve had our eyes on California for quite some time, but needed to be strategic about our entry. We’re thrilled to continue our trek down the West Coast so more people can enjoy Ghostfish beer,” said Brian Thiel, Managing Owner and co-Founder of Ghostfish Brewing Company. “There’s synergy with adventure-seeking Californians and what we created at Ghostfish: a pioneering spirit that’s existed since the beginning.”

Beginning March 17, 2021 Californians will find three of Ghostfish Brewing’s most popular brews Grapefruit IPA, Peak Buster Double IPA, and Watchstander Stout at BevMo! Locations throughout the state.

“We are delighted to welcome Ghostfish Brewing to BevMo locations throughout California. Ghostfish beers have been a favorite of BevMo customers in Washington, for a while, and we can’t wait to share these delicious brews with our California shoppers, as well,” said Ryan Cram, the Area Manager – North Bay. “If you live in California, and you’re a craft beer fan, you’re in for a treat the next time you visit your local BevMo.”

WHEN
Beginning March 17, 2021

WHERE
Exclusively sold at BevMo! stores throughout California
Find a store near you >>

ABOUT Ghostfish Brewing Company
Prior to 2015, the beer industry was dominated by barley-based beverages, dangerous to consume for individuals with Celiac disease or living with a gluten intolerance. With loved ones unable to enjoy a relaxing brew, Ghostfish founders set out to disrupt the decades-old industry. 

By pushing boundaries and not taking “no” as an answer, the team set forth on a mission to lead the beer industry in flavor, quality, and innovation. Working with artisan malters on the cutting edge of the craft, Ghostfish is one of the first breweries in the world to brew with a full-spectrum of malted gluten free grains.

Now, Ghostfish beers can be found in 17 US states, 2 Canadian provinces, and the U.K. The company brews all its beers for distribution in the historic industrial district of Seattle, Washington.

Adjacent to its production facility is a public Taproom where guests can experience limited release draft beers next to flagship favorites and indulge in pub classics from a menu of 100% gluten free food.

What are you drinking? It’s gotta be a Ghostfish!

ABOUT BevMo!
BevMo! is the leading alcoholic beverage specialty retailer in the western United States, with 161 stores located throughout California, Arizona and Washington. BevMo! provides a uniquely friendly and welcoming environment for competitively priced alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. The retailer also has a wide assortment of complementary products such as specialty foods and snacks, cigars, glassware and related bar and wine accessories. Its friendly and product-knowledgeable team members assist both enthusiasts and first-time buyers of wine, spirits and beer. BevMo!’s philosophy is simple: we help find the “perfect drink for every glass.” For more information, visit www.bevmo.com.

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Brewing Big with Homebrewer Cale Baldwin

The tale of this week’s limited release on draft:
Henry’s Vienna Lager ABV 5.3% | 32 IBU

“My goal is to show people that great lagers can be produced using gluten free ingredients,” says homebrewer Cale Baldwin, host of the Zero Tolerance Gluten Free Homebrewers Group, a monthly virtual club. When Cale set out looking for a gluten free lager, he was left disappointed by what he found in the grocery store aisles and that led him to create his own.

Over several brews, he tweaked a Vienna Lager recipe to his liking on his homebrew system. “Over the summer I interviewed Ghostfish Head Brewer Reid Ackerman for an interview series and he mentioned that it would be fun to work on a brew together,” recalled Cale. “I was in!”

The process began with scaling the recipe. “A standard amount for a homebrew is 5-gallons,” explained Cale. “The pilot system at Ghostfish is significantly larger than that.” Reid assisted Cale in scaling the recipe to meet the desired style and flavor profile. “Also, every brewing system is different, so it takes some tribal knowledge to understand how equipment will function on brew day,” mentioned Cale. “I was thankful for Reid and his intricate knowledge of the pilot system.”

Since brew day, the beer has been “lagering”, which can take a while. Lagers are processed on a cool fermentation followed by maturation in cold storage. Now, the timer has gone off and it’s ready for the Taproom! 

But wait, there’s more. In this story, we’ve mentioned Cale and Reid, but who the h*** is Henry? You’ll need to stop by the Taproom to find out! 

Let us pour you a pint of this full-bodied malt-forward lager featuring warm flavors from a hand-selected grain bill of malted millet, rice, and buckwheat; accented with Mt. Hood and Saphir hops. ABV 5.3%  |  IBU 32

Release day is Tuesday, February 2nd – Ground Hogs Day!

Inosculation Wild Ale

Hardy Kiwi Berries from Red Cedar River Farm – Poulsbo, WA

Wow, do we have a treat for you! Gluten free kiwi beer! We found these local hardy kiwis and had to give them a try. This tiny fruit is packed with rich vitamins and antioxidants and is at the center of Inosculation Wild Ale, our newest limited release, available on draft in the Taproom now.

Hardy Kiwi Berries

The kiwi berry, also commonly known as hardy kiwi, is about the size of a grape and even more sweet than the large kiwis you’re used to. The outer skin on the kiwi berry is thin and completely edible. “A farmer friend of mine mentioned the fruit, and I listened to a naturalist podcast that had a segment on the hardy kiwi that was really inspiring. I was curious how it would perform/how viable this fruit would be for brewing purposes,” said Ghostfish Head Brewer Reid Ackerman. We learned that hardy kiwi berries flourish in the Pacific Northwest and sourced ours from Red Cedar Farm in Poulsbo, WA. On this beautiful 25-acre farm, the hardy kiwi grows on a vine and needs periods of winter chill to successfully cultivate.

Our distinctive Inosculation Wild Ale embodies classic farmhouse saison characteristics like cracked pepper, meyer lemon, banana, and dried mango; you won’t want to miss this one! Fermented with native yeasts and Saphir hops, it has a vague tartness and full mouthfeel.

Inosculation Wild Ale

During the brewing process, the batch was split with one part aging in a wine barrel while another part fermented with wort from Shrouded Summit Belgian White Ale, one of our signature Flagship beers. Blending the two parts at the end of the process, we are left with a wonderfully unique and complex brew.

The name, Inosculation Wild Ale, is a nod to this blending process. Inosculation refers to the phenomenon of two trees growing together, like a natural grafting process.

How cool is that?! This latest boundary-defying craft beer can be found at our Seattle Taproom and available in crowlers, growlers, and kegs. Or, join us for a pint while seated at one of our open-air and outdoor tables. In compliance with COVID-19 SafeStart requirements, we are open 7-days a week from noon – 8:00 p.m. Visit the Taproom page for more information >>

Inosculation Wild Ale on draft

Covid-19 Updates

Update: Monday, June 14, 2021

The indoor dining ban has been lifted! We have opened up a few more tables to operate at 50% capacity and look forward to serving you soon. 

The Taproom hours are:

Sunday 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Monday – Thursday NOON – 9:00 p.m.
Friday & Saturday NOON – 10:00 p.m.

As we have throughout this pandemic, we will continue to diligently follow the guidelines set up by the CDC and governor’s office to maintain an environment that is as safe as possible for our employees and customers. 

Guests will be required to:

  • wear a mask at all times when not seated at their table actively eating and drinking.
  • maintain 6-ft distance between themselves and other guests/employees by following the guided steps and directional arrows to navigate the Taproom safely.
  • Though the state has said up to 10 people may gather, our largest table seats six people. Due to space restraints, groups larger than 6 may experience a longer wait-time.

We want to make sure guests in our restaurant know we have stringent protocols in place to maintain an environment that is as safe as possible for our employees and customers. Some of those protocols include:

  • Staff symptoms check logs, clarifying their wellness before they work.
  • Deep cleaning and daily sanitation checklist detailing the protocols directed by the CDC, including a rigorous sanitation schedule of public restrooms and high-touch surfaces.
  • Using CDC and EPA approved cleaners to sanitize all areas.
  • Offering hand sanitizer and disposable masks to all guests in need. 
  • Mandatory mask-wearing for staff and guests.
  • Limiting patron capacity below the required maximum. We are operating at 25% max occupancy.
  • Provide alternative hands-free access to our products with no-contact curbside pick-up, and home delivery. 
  • Voluntary Contact Tracing Logs for guests. 
  • Maintaining a minimum of six feet between groups of customers, with guided steps and directional arrows to navigate the taproom safely.
  • Meals served in single-use and compostable containers.
  • Guests are encouraged to dispose of their waste to ensure less contact for employees.
  • Operate with open doors producing airflow throughout the building.
  • Constant sanitation throughout the brewing process.
  • We follow all GMPs (Good Manufacturing Practices).

Are you in another state and looking for Ghostfish beer?

Thank you for your support during this tumultuous year. Be safe out there friends.

Black is Beautiful Imperial Stout

The death of George Floyd, at the end of May, that sparked continued anti-racism protests all over the world hit a nerve with us; we at Ghostfish wanted to do something. Some team members are protesting, others are volunteering for various organizations; but what could we do as a team? Brew beer, that’s what! 

Head Brewer, Reid Ackerman brought a brewery initiative, Black is Beautiful, to our attention. What started as a single brew by Weathered Souls Brewing Co., based in San Antonio, Texas, spread to a worldwide brewery collaboration. With a Stout recipe as its base, over 1,170 breweries in 50 US states and 22 countries developed their own unique versions of Black is Beautiful. 

At the root of the collaboration is fundraising for and awareness of systemic injustices that people of color face daily. Here at Ghostfish, Reid chose Social Justice Fund Northwest to be the beneficiary of our donation. 

Social Justice Fund Northwest supports organizations that use community organizing to reach their goals. This develops leadership from within the communities most affected by social inequities, resulting in long-term societal transformation. For more information, visit their website.

About Ghostfish Brewery’s Black is Beautiful Imperial Stout

With a deep dark brown color and velvety chocolate-colored head, Ghostfish Brewery’s Black is Beautiful Imperial Stout is rich and balanced with notes of chocolate and raisin accented with harmonious complexities of caramel, toasty malts, and coffee. It’s full-bodied and warming with a dry finish and lingering notes of raisin and chocolate. 

Grain bill: Pale millet, pale buckwheat, caramel millet, chocolate roasted millet, light crystal millet, medium roasted millet, dark roasted millet, flaked *Purity Protocol gluten free oats.

Hops: Mt. Hood, Columbus

Q&A with Ghostfish Brewing Company’s Head Brewer Reid Ackerman

Q: Tell me about the style of beer. 
A: Imperial Stouts are traditionally an English-style beer, with roots traced to English Porters in the 1700s. The modern craft beer era revived Imperial Stouts in England and it was popularized here in the states.

Q: Any special ingredients used in this beer? 
A: There’s a wider spectrum of malt roasts and flavors than what we typically use. We have not used much caramel malts, so it’s great to see the interplay of these roast styles – pale, light crystal, caramel, chocolate, medium, and dark roasts. We also sparingly use flaked oats as they are so important to achieve the mouthfeel desired in a gluten free stout. 

Q: What do you hope customers take away from drinking this particular beer? 
A: I hope folks will consider the importance and urgency behind this initiative. Why it is so important and what/who is necessitating it. As a white person, I ask myself what are the ways I perpetuate inequality, especially in small ways. I’m asking myself what I can do to help people of color gain an equal footing not only in the brewing community but overall society. Regardless of size; incremental or sweeping, efforts towards answering these questions can be progressed through collective action, which I invite people to consider. Let’s not judge others; let’s support others. 

*Purity Protocol: set of stringent standards for oats that minimizes the chance of cross-contact from gluten-containing grains like wheat, barley, rye, and triticale.