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.

# # #

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: Thursday, April 1, 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 – 8:00 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.

Gluten Dude to Release New App for the Gluten Free Community

Extra! Extra! Gluten Dude is at it again! The main man behind the popular blog is launching an app and we were lucky enough to catch Gluten Dude for a virtual Q&A. Read on to find out more about what we can look forward to when you download the Gluten Dude app!

Ghostfish: What made you want to create the app?

Gluten Dude: The purpose of my app is simple: to better the lives of those living with celiac disease and anyone else who must eat gluten-free; to create a close-knit community where people in the gluten-free community come to discover, to learn, to share, and to connect, all to make their lives easier, better and healthier.

Living a 100% gluten-free life certainly has its challenges: physically, mentally, and socially. Using the Gluten Dude app will help to alleviate some of those challenges. 

Ghostfish: Tell us about some of the challenges the Gluten Dude app will assist us with. 

Gluten Dude: Eating out is one of the more challenging and stressful parts of having celiac disease. One crumb is all it takes to set off the autoimmune response. Everything that is fun and spontaneous about eating out can be overshadowed by the anxiety of whether you can get through your meal unscathed. [The app will provide a] directory of 100% gluten-free restaurants, restaurants that are gluten-free friendly, recommended by the community, and personally vetted by Gluten Dude, all in an effort to guarantee you a safe meal. Each restaurant includes images, a description, reviews, ratings, directions, etc. Some restaurants even include a video and their menu. The user will be able to search by their current location or another location. The app currently covers the US, Canada, Paris, Italy, London, Spain, Germany, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Australia, with more locations coming. Eating without fear. What a concept.

The internet is littered with falsehoods, outright lies, and dangerous information regarding celiac disease and eating gluten-free. People are looking for answers to their problems, quickly and accurately, and they are not sure where to turn or who to trust, putting their health in jeopardy. [On the app, you’ll find a] forum run by the most trusted voices in the celiac community. There are a number of topics where you’ll be able to chime in with questions, answers, and advice. The forum sticks to the facts, allowing people to get the answers they need…and deserve.  The forum includes Ask the Physician, Ask the Dietitian, Ask the Chef, and more, where you’ll be able to get direct answers from experts in the industry.

Ghostfish: We hear that your app will help folks find gluten free beer, we’re obviously pretty stoked about this feature. Can you tell us about it? 

Gluten Dude: Beer, sadly, is not gluten-free. The most popular “gluten-free” beers on the market today are actually “gluten-removed” and are not safe for those with celiac disease. There are a handful of amazing 100% gluten-free beers out there nowadays, but because their distribution is limited, they can be really difficult to find. I can’t tell you how many stores I personally have walked into fingers crossed, only to come out empty-handed. The Gluten Dude app shows the stores, bars, and restaurants where people can purchase gluten-free beer. The user will be able to search by any location and each location will show which specific gluten-free beers each establishment carries. Cheers!

Ghostfish: What will be the primary differences between this app and others on the market?

Gluten Dude: What other apps on the market??? Just kidding. While there is nothing that offers the celiac/GF communities as much as the Gluten Dude app will (restaurants, beer, forum, videos, chat, etc.), there are one or two apps that focus on locating gluten-free restaurants. The main one has been out for some time now. Kudos to them for standing the test of time. The main difference is that my app will initially focus on only 100% GF restaurants. You will not find fast-food restaurants and any other restaurants that cannot keep the community safe.

Ghostfish: What was the most challenging aspect of creating this app?

Gluten Dude: Coronavirus!! I’m sort of joking, but not really. We kicked off development in late winter, just before the virus struck. The development team I hired all had to go virtual, which definitely slowed things up a bit.

Locating and vetting all of the GF restaurants was quite a challenge as well. For each suggested restaurant, I first had to make sure they were completely gluten free; sometimes easier said than done. Then for the ones that made the list, I had to gather the address, phone number, and URL, as well as putting together a nice one-paragraph description and a great photo. Doing this for over 1,500 restaurants…well…you can imagine.

While I’ve enjoyed the process, I will say that it’s been a challenge and a half to get it done. But it will be worth the wait.

Ghostfish: What were you pleasantly surprised by when creating the app?

GD: Hmmm…that’s a good question. I love the responses I’ve been getting from the app testers. From those in the celiac/GF community to the restaurants who will be on the app, pretty much everyone has shared my excitement. It really is a win-win for everyone.

The Gluten Dude app is available now, learn more here >> https://glutendude.app/.