On January 27, 2019, the members of Zero Tolerance Gluten-Free Homebrew Club came together at Ground Breaker Brewing to mark their first anniversary. There was much to celebrate. In its inaugural year as the world’s first and only dedicated gluten-free homebrew club, Zero Tolerance has grown to more than 400 members across five continents, represented gluten-free beer at Homebrew Con in Portland, and seen members found a commercial gluten-free brewery (Bob Keifer and Domoníc Nieves, Divine Science).
The party was notable for having what was likely the greatest gathering of gluten-free beer ever assembled. In all, 70 different gluten-free beers were available to sample. Eleven dedicated gluten-free breweries supplied 57 different beers to the festivities, while homebrewers from the US and Canada added 13 more to the total. The goal was to make as many different beers available as possible. Most club members are gluten-free due to medical necessity, which limits their beer choices severely. The purpose of the gathering was to celebrate the club’s anniversary while showing people that a disease like celiac or non-celiac gluten intolerance isn’t the end of beer, but rather a gateway to great gluten-free beer.
Other highlights of the evening included the announcement of the Gluten Free Homebrewing Recipe Drive Contest. Ben Fowler, winner of the Brewer’s Choice prize will see his recipe, a sorghum-based beer inspired by Fresh Squeezed IPA, brewed commercially at Bierly Brewing. JP Bierly of Bierly Brewing said about his choice, “Ben’s recipe stood out to me right away as a serious contender for the Brewer’s Choice prize. The way that he uses the different fermentables to complement each other and emphasize their strengths makes this a great recipe that our customers will enjoy.”
Gift certificates for $50 at glutenfreehomebrewing.com were awarded to Justin Matthews on a random draw and to Judge’s Choice winner Matt Sourwine for his Imperial Nut Brown Cinnamon Roll Ale.
At the meeting, the club announced the founding of its homebrew equipment lending library thanks to a generous donation of three stainless steel Mini Brew Bucket fermenters and an insulated mash tun courtesy of Aurochs Brewing in Pittsburgh, Pa. Club members will have access to this equipment for the purpose of brewing beers containing only gluten-free ingredients (no barley, wheat, or rye). The lending library will play an important role in the club’s stated goal of encouraging more first-time brewers to take up the hobby in 2019.
Earlier in the day, club members rallied with Ground Breaker Brewing founder James Neumeister to brew an imperial stout on the brewery’s pilot system for the club’s barrel project. The beer will be served at the club’s second anniversary party in January 2020, at which time its successor will be brewed.
[RECIPE: Dad’s Red Ale (gluten-free beer recipe)]
The Zero Tolerance Homebrew Club meets on the last Sunday of every month at Ground Breaker Brewing at 2 p.m., and all meetings are accessible to members via web conference on Zoom. If you are interested in joining Zero Tolerance, please find them on Facebook or at zerotolerancebrewing.com.
Learn more about gluten-free brewing from Zero Tolerance member Joe Morris in his article “Zero Tolerance: Brewing Truly Gluten-Free Beer” in the March/April 2019 issue of Zymurgy magazine.