The Brewing of “A Smokeball’s Chance in Helles”

A Story of Two Breweries: Ghostfish & Outer Planet

You know what we love more than anything? Changing the perception of gluten free and pushing the limits of what people think they can do with non-traditional grains. This fuels us.

As a result, we get to collaborate with breweries in our community to share our experience from the past five years of brewing hundreds of beers with grains that don’t contain gluten. It’s exciting learn from other brewmasters, but also witness the amazement once they taste these unique brews.

At our facility back in October, our Head Brewer, Reid Ackerman, worked to brew a gluten free beer with Ariel Klein, Head Brewer at Outer Planet Brewing. Ariel was an excellent partner as she has a significant amount of experience with lager-styled beer and yeast proposa. Additionally, she was eager to learn the art of gluten free brewing. Partnering to create this beer was a fantastic learning experience and a win-win for all involved.

What did we brew, you ask? A special helles lager we’re calling “A Smokeball’s Chance in Helles” — on tap now at both breweries. 

Check out this fun video Outer Planet Brewing produced. It showcases the brewing process and the joy of the day.

Recently, we spoke with the Reid and Ariel about the process. Here’s a Q&A we hope sparks curiosity and the desire to try something new.

What is a helles beer?

Reid: Traditionally helles are very bright, mildly sweet, light hued, full bodied, bottom fermenting beer. We wanted to add a unique dimension to ours, so we included a small portion of applewood smoked red Proso millet.

Ariel: The smoked helles style is one that has intrigued me for quite a while now – I love the delicate balance of light sweet grain and a gentle smokiness. This balance is quite difficult to achieve, and we were excited to present ourselves with a real challenge! 

How did brewing day go?

Reid: Overall it was really smooth! And, considering we were unsure how the proportion of smoked malt would play with the rest of the grist, it was a very pleasant surprise that the smoke flavor was balanced and light, but still very noticeable and appreciated. 

Ariel: Perhaps the biggest challenge was attempting to get the balance of ingredients right – something which we hem and hawed about over a few frosty pints. We were lucky to have access to some fantastic smoked GF malts – though we did consider smoking our own millet (perhaps we’ll save that one for next time!).

What do you hope customers take away/experience from this beer?

Reid: For those who haven’t tried our beers before, I hope they walk away with an understanding that you can make excellent beer from alternative ingredients. Especially, when aided by some excellent people in the community.

Ariel: First and foremost, I hope that our customers enjoy the beer! Assuming we are able to accomplish that, I hope they take away the knowledge that excellent beer of any style can potentially be brewed with gluten free ingredients and enough group knowledge. I hope to hear people say “this is a fantastic smoked helles lager” rather than “this is a fantastic lager for a GF beer”.

Ghostfish Brewing Kai Dog Red

Ghostfish Releases Kai Dog Red IPA

For Immediate Release

Ghostfish Brewing Company 2942 1st Ave South
Seattle, WA 98134

Ghostfish Brewing Releases Kai Dog Red IPA
Seattle, WA – They say that a dog is a man’s best friend. One dog, in particular has become the friend of many who have visited the taproom of Ghostfish Brewing Company.

Kai Dog Red IPA, the seventh packaged beer release from Ghostfish Brewing pays tribute to Kai, the brewery’s friendly golden retriever and unofficial mascot. A brilliant red body with a playful malt personality, greeting everyone with a friendly hop-forward bark.

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Ghostfish Brewing Anniversary Russian Imperial Stout

First Anniversary Russian Imperial Stout

Almost one year ago, we opened the doors to the first and only fully gluten free craft brewery in Seattle. Our mission was to create innovative craft beers, using ancient grains like millet and buckwheat. The whole team has been hard at work for the last year and it’s about time we celebrate. We’re doing so in a lot of ways, including releasing a limited edition First Anniversary Russian Imperial Stout. Continue reading

Ghostfish Brewing Peak Buster DIPA

Ghostfish Releases Peak Buster Double IPA

For Immediate Release: 1/8/16

Ghostfish Brewing Company 2942 1st Ave South
Seattle, WA 98134

Ghostfish Brewing to Release Peak Buster Double IPA

Seattle, WA – Ghostfish Brewing announced today the release of their 5th packaged beer, Peak Buster Double IPA. This bold beer will be available in 22 oz. glass bottles year-round at the Ghostfish Brewing taproom and numerous retail locations within their distribution area. Peak Buster Double IPA is 100% gluten-free, brewed with malted millet and buckwheat, and hopped with Eureka, Centennial and Summit hops. These hops create a powerful aroma of tropical fruits (mango, passionfruit, lychee), citrus and pine.

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Ghostfish Brewing Taps

2016 Ghostfish Scavenger Hunt

Join us in our first ever Ghostfish Scavenger Hunt! During the month long competition, visit participating retailers and complete a task or answer a question. They’ll initial once you’ve completed and give you a letter. The letters can be unscrambled to answer the bonus question. Continue reading

Ghostfish Brewing Medals and Grains

Winners at Ghostfish and Ground Breaker

(Seattle, WA/Portland, OR) The U.S. is filled with lots of great craft beer cities with many new markets emerging each year. The Northwest is home to arguably two of the most prestigious craft beer cities this country has to offer, so it should come as no surprise that the two best dedicated gluten-free breweries call the Northwest home.

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Ghostfish Brewing Medals and Grains

Great American Beer Festival Winners

We are incredibly humbled and excited that two of our beers were selected for medal at the 2015 Great America Beer Festival. We want to thank and congratulate all of our fellow Washington state breweries who received medals and who have helped us in indescribable ways. This industry is truly a family and we are excited to share this award with our brewery family!  We will be announcing a party at the brewery to celebrate on October 9 – more details come soon! To purchase either of these beers, please visit our “retailers” section. Below are some official details of the festival and our brews that received an award. Continue reading