The days when a gluten intolerance relegated folks to a culinary wasteland are coming to a close, so says Dickson Taphouse Managing Director Ben Johnston.
It’s why, from 12 November, the Taphouse will have a dedicated gluten-free tap in partnership with masters in gluten-free beer TWØBAYS Brewing Co.
The tap will launch with much fanfare, including live music and a special gluten-free menu.
“We have 18 taps at Dickson taphouse, so we’re in a position to cater to the ACT’s coeliac crowd, which I have observed is growing in numbers,” he says.
“I think these days most people know someone with coeliac disease, an intolerance or a lifestyle preference, and it’s great to know you have a place to go to with friends and family where you can accommodate everyone’s needs.
“As far as we know, it’ll be the only dedicated gluten-free tap in the ACT.”
It’s a sentiment heartily backed by TWØBAYS founder and CEO Richard Jeffares, who missed craft beer after being diagnosed with coeliac disease in 2015.
He says Australia has an ever-expanding, six-million-strong gluten-free community – and it’s not made up entirely of people with coeliac disease.
“The latest data from the Australian Medical Journal indicates up to 25 per cent of the population avoid gluten at some point in their lives,” he says.
“Some choose to avoid gluten as a lifestyle decision because they simply feel better off it.”
Gluten is inherent in the grains used in the brewing process such as barley, wheat and rye.
TWØBAYS uses gluten-free grains such as millet, rice or buckwheat, malted in dedicated gluten-free malt houses.
They’re brewed in gluten-free facilities with purpose-built equipment to eliminate the risk of contamination.
Richard says the process requires a bit more love but results in a beer with a “lighter mouthfeel” and all the structure and hop profile of a “normal” craft beer.
“Gluten-free grains are smaller than barley, so they’re harder to handle and don’t get the natural enzymes barley gets in the malting process,” he says.
“In other words, gluten-free grains are to beer what a pinot noir grape is to wine – we start with a difficult little grain, but if handled correctly, you get an excellent, very special beverage.”
Growing market aside, Ben says he has noticed a shift in how people view gluten-free options.
“We’ve been operating the Old Canberra Inn for almost eight years now and more and more people are ordering TWØBAYS because it’s actually just a really good beer.
“Instead of being something people settle for, people know there’s a high-quality product available now.
“The beer stands on its own merit – it just happens to be gluten-free.”
The TWØBAYS tap will rotate through the brewery’s seasonal releases as well as the extensive craft beer range.
While all TWØBAYS beers will be available in cans, Ben recommends it freshly poured.
“In my mind, it’s the ultimate way to drink beer – beer is never quite as good as it is fresh off the tap.”
TWØBAYS will be available on tap from 4 pm on 12 November at Dickson Taphouse.
Also launching will be exciting new gluten-free food options, including the house speciality – homemade pasta.
“Homemade pasta is a key offering at Dickson Taphouse, and we didn’t want coeliacs to miss out, so our chef has been working hard at it, and that will launch along with a range of gluten-free food items,” Ben says.
Launch night festivities will include music from Chris Harlem Blues Band, kicking off at 6 pm.
Visit Dickson Taphouse for more information.