D.L. Geary is launching a new beer in which almost all, if not all, of the gluten has been removed.
The party for Ixnay will be held as part of the Portland Greendrinks event at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at The Asylum in Portland, but it has already shown up at the Little Tap House and should start appearing in stores this month.
“The idea of a gluten-free beer has intrigued me,” company founder David Geary told me when I visited the brewery last month. “The gluten-free market has grown exponentially.”
Ixnay will be made with malted barley just like most other beers, only the gluten will be removed.
“A lot of gluten-free beers are made with sorghum, which are gluten-free but don’t taste like beer,” Geary said. “We are removing the gluten. There is an enzyme used to eliminate chill haze in beer (when a beer gets cloudy at low temperatures), but a side benefit is that it hydrolyzes gluten.”
Geary said the federal Food and Drug Administration says beers created under this process can’t be called gluten free, but the labels may say they are beers with gluten removed.
“The standard to meet for this is 20 parts (of gluten) per million, and two batches that have been tested have come in at less than 10 parts per million.”
Geary said the results do not mean that there are 10 parts per million of gluten in the beer, but for the analyzer to detect any gluten there have to be at least 10 parts per million in the product.
Geary poured me a glass of Ixnay during my visit, and it tasted good, with a very light pale-ale flavor, and a good amount of hops. What the beer lacks is body
“Body is essentially a gluten protein,” Geary said. “But as a result, it is very crisp and light in character, and people might respond to that.”
The beer is 4.7 percent ABV, and with its light flavor would be a great beer for summer, whether you have a gluten intolerance or not.
“I have never had more fun in marketing a product,” Geary said. “We are going after a market that right now is not drinking any beer at all. We aren’t in competition with anyone.”
This is the first gluten-free beer (I can say it, even if the label can’t) brewed in Maine, although the people with gluten intolerance have had an option in hard ciders, which are gluten-free but don’t taste like beer.
RISING TIDE BREWING Company in Portland has begun selling its four core beers in 12-ounce bottles, and the shift is going well.
The year-round offerings – Ishmael copper ale, Daymark pale ale with rye and Zephyr IPA – hit the market a couple of weeks ago, while Spinnaker, a hefeweizen that is the company’s summer seasonal, was expected to go on sale a bit later.
Heather Sanborn, the company’s co-owner, told me when I met her at the launch party for Allagash’s Saison that selling beer in 12-ounce bottles expands their market greatly.
So far the beer is in Market Basket, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and 15 Hannaford stores as well as beer and wine stores across Maine.
She said the 12-ounce bottles will be priced from $8 to $11 per four-pack, depending on the store and the type or beer.
“Transitioning to a smaller bottle size is key to enabling us to continue our rapid growth without sending our beer farther from home,” Sanborn said on the company website. “We want to focus on our local markets where we can keep the beer as fresh as possible.”
Rising Tide will still sell 22-ounce bombers and 375 milliliter cork-and-cage bottles of its limited-release beers.
Tom Atwell is a freelance writer living in Cape Elizabeth. He can be contacted at 767-2297 or at: