Thursday, October 30, 2014Mostly Cloudy 7°C
Eat & Drink

Toronto gets its first gluten-free brewery

Posted by Staff / December 21, 2011

Gluten Free Beer TorontoAfter four years of trial and error, Snowman Brewing, Toronto's first exclusively gluten free Brewery is set to commercially launch Thursday night at Kensington Market's already gluten-free-friendly Burger Bar. Founded by Kevin Snow and Hirsch Goodman, (Snow+Man) Snowman fills a void the two men saw in Toronto's beer scene. "We realized a demand for not just a gluten free beer, but a great beer that happens to be gluten free." There are currently only a handful of gluten free beer options available at the LCBO and Beer Store, and only one of them (Nickel Brook) is made in Ontario.

Snowman brewed their first batch for public consumption in rented tanks at the Black Oak Brewery in Etobicoke, but they aim to find a more permanent home. For now, however, they're content to show off their 4.7% ABV Ale while they experiment with different styles of gluten free beer. To date they've brewed at least six different styles of beer, ranging light to dark from pilsner to maple stout to Belgian quadruple. To get their recipe right, the two men "made a list of all the potential gluten free grains that were out there, and then just started mixing and matching," while reading all they could about brewing techniques. "We had quite a few batches that went right down the drain," says Snow "But with every test, we were one step closer to perfecting our recipes."

As recently as this summer, Snow and Goodman were experimenting with home-brewing techniques, including creating a malter from an old filing cabinet, "based on NASA technology," they joke. As demand for their product grew from word-of-mouth and excellent reviews, they decided to take the step to commercial brewing. This year Snowman won first place in both the strong ale and the brown ales categories at the All About Ales awards, the yearly awards given to amateur brewers by the Canadian Amateur Brewers Association. In each case their gluten-free brews were rated higher than glutinous competition.

There are many beer drinkers who would scoff at the idea of gluten-free beer, especially darker varieties, owning a full-bodied and earthy taste, but Snowman hopes to challenge that thinking. "The best we can do," says Snow, "is to provide a beer that gluten tolerant and intolerant alike can sit down, share, and enjoy together."

Writing by Gabe Pulver.

Photo (of a generic looking pint) by P. Frost on Flickr

Discussion

37 Comments

Aylmer / December 21, 2011 at 04:31 pm
user-pic
I for one am definitely looking forward to the Gluten Free Beer. In an health conscious era, it's key to include this to your weekly diet.
George Lois / December 21, 2011 at 04:34 pm
user-pic
Looks like they took out the proper design as well. (Fix your branding)
Laura / December 21, 2011 at 04:34 pm
user-pic
Amazing. I know these guys - they are going to change the beer game. Looking forward to their success.
Cheese / December 21, 2011 at 04:58 pm
user-pic
Can't wait to try the tampons
Rajiv / December 21, 2011 at 05:06 pm
user-pic
Can't wait to FINALLY enjoy a gluten-free beer that actually tastes good!
Cheese Dick replying to a comment from Cheese / December 21, 2011 at 05:07 pm
user-pic
that's not cool Cheese. Some people are celiac and can't have gluten so this is a nice option to have, if it tastes good.
meh / December 21, 2011 at 05:13 pm
user-pic
fuck yeah! awesome news!
Beerguy / December 21, 2011 at 08:47 pm
user-pic
Misleading title. Black Oak is the brewery.

Congratulations Snowman! I do look forward to trying the brew.
Matt / December 21, 2011 at 11:02 pm
user-pic
Unless you actually have celiac disease (as fewer than one-half of one percent of the population do) than there's ZERO health benefit to gluten-free anything. It's just another nonsensical health fad that people have bought into, which has sadly spread to too many bakeries and cafes that now sell weak-tasting crap.

Boo to gluten free.
Bryan / December 21, 2011 at 11:27 pm
user-pic
Actually there are a shitload of people (much >1% ) who benefit from gluten free products even without celiac disease... people with a wheat allergy.. people who would benefit from a grain with a higher nutritive value... i.e any human being...but especially one who has digestive difficulties. The larger question is... why on earth would you campaign against it? seriously?
siiigh / December 21, 2011 at 11:28 pm
user-pic
awww matt I'm sorry you are so ignorant...
Bass Clarinet replying to a comment from Bryan / December 22, 2011 at 08:17 am
user-pic
Because every fad celiac makes it their friggin' crusade to disrupt the dining experiences of those of us with stomachs of cast iron.



Paul / December 22, 2011 at 09:12 am
user-pic
Imagine a world in which every mention of chocolate had people piping up to complain that carob substitutes aren't being discussed. That is what reading food & drink articles on BlogTO has become with regard to gluten.

I sympathize with celiac sufferers and others with digestive issues, but personally I would love to make it through 2012 without ever hearing the phrase 'gluten free' again.

This is an irrational and privileged position that I do not have any power or real desire to enforce, but annoyance is what it is.
Jen / December 22, 2011 at 09:36 am
user-pic
This is such great news! I can't eat gluten or it will make me very sick, and the gluten-free beer varieties are pretty slim. Can't wait to try this beer!
JD / December 22, 2011 at 09:47 am
user-pic
Gluten is the new lactose.
GFB replying to a comment from Paul / December 22, 2011 at 10:25 am
user-pic
I think you guys are missing the point, this beer isn't about just putting another GF product on the market as a fad. If it's as good as they say, and you can't tell the difference between this beer and the regular stuff, then its a good product that just happens to be GF.
Ben replying to a comment from Beerguy / December 22, 2011 at 10:54 am
user-pic
I don't think the title "Toronto gets its first gluten-free brewing company which is actually using Black Oak's facilities to brew their beer" has the same ring to it!
Parda / December 22, 2011 at 11:07 am
user-pic
Having tried what's out there, I look forward to another gluten-free beer that actually tastes good. The first one I ever tried that tasted great was Schnitzer Bräu German-Hirse-Premium, Germany's #1 selling gluten-free beer since 2006. You can get it in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. It's coming to Toronto in early 2012. It's organic too!
stacey / December 22, 2011 at 11:17 am
user-pic
for those of you who seemed annoyed at yet another gluten-free product/article/reference I envy you. To be able to go into a restaurant and order anything off the menu; to be able to go into a grocery store and just pick anything up off the shelf; to go to a house party and actually go hungry bc you know you can eat whatever is served...trust me, that is NOT the life of someone who can't eat gluten. I applaud these guys for offering a GF beer....because I gotta say, of all the food & bev items I have had to give up, a cold beer on a hot summer day is really one of the things I miss the most. A glass of wine just doesn't cut it sometimes. I can't wait to try this beer. Anyone who thinks it's easy going GF obviously hasn't really tried. It is hard, damn hard, and (for me atleast) certainly not a fad. I can't imagine anyone choosing to do this if they didn't have to.
Kathryn / December 22, 2011 at 11:46 am
user-pic
As someone who struggles with severe celiac disease and it's myriad of symptoms, I find it offencive and hurtful to read several of the above comments. Celiac is a very serious and life threatening disease. It is much more complex then simply not being able to eat gluten, and is not a choice or a fad. Even a small amount of gluten (in a sauce or dressings) can wreck havoc on the system of a celiac. For those of you in the dark, please take the time to educte yourselves about celiac disease before posted such biting comments. On a 2nd note: Yay for a New Beer (that doesn't contain gluten) and tastes good!
Hoptomology / December 22, 2011 at 12:05 pm
user-pic
Wow, I'm impressed with the awards, way to go!
I'm curious to give these a try...
Beer replying to a comment from Ben / December 22, 2011 at 12:56 pm
user-pic
Lots of breweries engage in "contract brewing", where they don't own the facilities themselves, but rent space/tanks, and use the equipment when the brewery is in their down time. Just a more cost effective way to produce beer.
Nicholas replying to a comment from stacey / December 22, 2011 at 01:11 pm
user-pic
My middle brother is full on Celiac!(Can't even use normal shampoo) Hes a teen and really struggling! He cheats himself off his diet and spends the night in agony after sipping a beer. He gets super frustrated and hates going anywhere because he just wants to eat and drink normally! He has been drinking some dark glutten free beer but hates it. My Dad who is also Celiac wont drink any glutten free beer and tries to sneak Coors Lights when they are avalible. It will be nice for Celiacs to finally have a beer that tastes as good as they imagen beer to taste.
Ben replying to a comment from Beer / December 22, 2011 at 01:18 pm
user-pic
Yes, I know. In fact, I even wrote about it a little bit, here: http://www.blogto.com/eat_drink/2011/12/kensington_brewing_company_gets_ready_to_bottle_its_ale/

Also, as a guy married to someone with Celiac, let me tell you I'm happy to be able to buy drinks for her that I'll actually want, too. Let the Gluten-Free nay-sayers shun it if they want, more Snowman Pail Ale for the rest of us.
WantingRealBeer / December 22, 2011 at 04:07 pm
user-pic
Incidence of celiac in North America is estimated as anywhere from 1 in 150 to 1 in 80. And that prevalence is rising. In the past 50 years it’s gone from 1 in 500 to the aforementioned estimate (Mayo Clinic study, pretty awesome). Before someone makes a post where s/he looks like an ignorant ass? Try using the almighty Google so as not to get completely embarrassed by people who actually… know something about the topic being discussed.

That said, the comments on this post definitely highlight a lot of the frustration I've had as someone with celiac. People don't take my disorder seriously because the only gluten-free people they've encountered are the ones who are doing it for some vague "health reason" that is, at its core, usually bullshit.

By the way, there's no such thing as a "Fad celiac," dipshit. To get diagnosed with celiac, you need a barrage of medical tests. It's a disease you have the rest of your life. There is no cure. There are some people who can’t adhere to the diet, and they suffer the pretty ugly consequences. As mentioned above, even an infinitesimally tiny amount of gluten can send your system reeling. You lose the ability to absorb key nutrients from food. You lose energy. Your skin is terrible. You get violently ill. You lose hair. Later in life, you develop rare intestinal cancers and lymphomas.

And on top of that, most gluten free beer is not good. And the stuff that’s okay? It’s all kind of the same. Pretty light, often kind of fruity. Now, there is a lot of good cider, whiskey, gin, wine, etc. out there, but sometimes you just want to kick back with friends and drink a beer. I really hope this new range of gluten-free beers will be available in the US! There’s definitely an audience for it. My trusty beer-enthusiast friend from Canada is gonna keep me posted on progress for this beer. I’m so stoked!!!
Pearl / December 23, 2011 at 06:49 am
user-pic
I have a cast iron stomach. But at 45 years of age I was diagnosed with osteoporosis. Took two years to figure out it was celiac disease. I never had stomach issues and could eat anything. If you don't have celiac disease, or gluten intolerance, I hope you never get it, but don't assume you are immune for life. I for one am so thankful every time a new GF product becomes available or a restaurant server actually knows what celiac is. Cheers to Snowman! Can't wait!!
only in toronto blog comments / December 23, 2011 at 11:04 am
user-pic
could something as harmless as gluten free beer elicit such a tangential argument. Nobody cares if you don't believe it has merit, it's different and has ZERO RISK when compared to gluten-containing beer. So, maybe go do that and stfu.

/homebrewer
Hickmom / December 23, 2011 at 04:42 pm
user-pic
I am so excited to try a gluten free beer that tastes like a beer!!! The past 2 summers since I found out I am Celiac I have tried other gf beers and none of them taste like the real thing!
Thank you for making this beer!!!
And for all of you who are so ignorant to post suchlike sad excuses for a responses about something positive, I hope u may never have to deal with everything we do on a daily basis! Everything u take in your life for granted are challenges we face everyday! From brushing our teeth to washing our hair to the food we eat and what we drink! Your ignorance is apparent and disgusts me that in this day of age you feel it appropriate to even admit it! Shame on you!
Celiac, lactose intolerant, several food allergies, sensitives and fibro...
If we want to get excited about a beer we will!!!
SillyYak / January 6, 2012 at 03:11 pm
user-pic
I sure hope they sanitized those rented tanks to remove all traces of gluten before brewing the gluten-free beer. Cross contamination sucks.....
walrus / March 5, 2012 at 12:43 am
user-pic
I remember trying a roasted dandelion drink under the pretense that it was a coffee substitute.. no dice. Years later, I tried it without that expectation. As it's own entity, I think it's great. It's just not coffee.
I will not be expecting a fermented malted barley drink when I drink their brews. Whether one calls it beer or not (German purity law be damned, for all I care,) it's not going to taste just like a barley based beer, because it isn't that.
This said, I'm really excited to try what they make. I've tried a few gluten free beers, and while drinkable, they've all had a fruity or sourish taste. It's been years since I've had a dark beer (not by choice.) I'm just glad to hear that they're experimenting with a wide range of things and that they're actually putting work into their recipes.
I'm expecting great things. I'm so glad to hear of this. I just don't think it's fair to expect it to taste like something it's not. Here's to gluten free beers, not that taste like glutenous beer, but that are exceptionally delicious in their own right.
Ciffushesia / August 10, 2012 at 06:12 am
user-pic
Ever given that the public grew to become knowledgeable about the potential risks of smoking cigarettes a number of a long time back, many individuals have discovered quitting the tobacco routine hard. Corporations have been innovating and manufacturing cigarette smoking cessation solutions for a few years now. From nicotine patches to gum, nicotine addicts have been making use of them to stop their behavior.

[url=http://www.electroniccigshop.com/kits/ ]cheap smokeless cigarettes where to buy [/url] (often known as e-cigarettes and electrical cigarettes)are classified as the most recent solution within the market. These are made to feel and appear like real cigarettes, even right down to emitting artificial smoke nonetheless they do not essentially contain any tobacco. Consumers inhale nicotine vapour which seems like smoke with out any of your carcinogens uncovered in tobacco smoke that happen to be destructive towards the smoker and others close to him.

The Electric cigarette is made up of a nicotine cartridge containing liquid nicotine. Whenever a person inhales, a very small battery driven atomizer turns a little quantity of liquid nicotine into vapour. Inhaling nicotine vapour offers the consumer a nicotine strike in seconds somewhat than minutes with patches or gum. If the person inhales, a little LED light in the idea in the electric cigarette glows orange to simulate a true cigarette.

The nicotine cartridges on their own can be found in various strengths. A lot of the most important brand names, like the Gamucci e-cigarette have full energy, fifty percent power and minimum energy. It is designed for folks who wish to stop smoking. As they get accustomed to working with the electronic cigarette, they could gradually reduce the energy they use till they quit.

The most crucial rewards e cigs have above nicotine patches or gum is for starters, consumers have the nicotine hit a great deal quicker and second of all, mainly because a major cause why people who smoke fall short to quit suing patches and gum is given that they nonetheless pass up the act of inhaling smoke from a cylindrical item. The e-cigarette emulates that even down to the smoke.

The electronic cigarette is additionally useful from the economic standpoint. A established of five nicotine cartridges prices about £8 and it is equivalent to five hundred cigarettes. Even though the first investment of an e-cigarette kit of £50 may well appear to be steep in the beginning, buyers help you save funds eventually.

As with lots of well known products and solutions, there are already a large number of affordable Chinese imitations flooding the industry. They are really usually 50 percent the cost of a branded electronic cigarette and look like the true matter at the same time. It is inadvisable to implement these as they haven't been issue into the very same rigorous screening the official e-cigs have and might potentially be very dangerous to the user's health.

As electronic cigarettes become more and more well-liked, they may be ever more utilized to smoke in pubs and clubs having a using tobacco ban. E cigarettes appear to be another detail and should quickly exchange serious cigarettes in clubs.
Ciffushesia / August 10, 2012 at 08:29 am
user-pic
Actually since the general public grew to become conscious concerning the dangers of using tobacco several a long time back, many individuals have discovered quitting the tobacco routine difficult. Firms are innovating and producing smoking cessation solutions for many years now. From nicotine patches to gum, nicotine addicts happen to be using them to stop their behavior.

[url=http://www.electroniccigshop.com/kits/ ]Cheap Electronic Cigarette Starter Kits [/url] (generally known as e-cigarettes and electrical cigarettes)are classified as the newest merchandise about the market. They are really created to look and feel like actual cigarettes, even right down to emitting synthetic smoke having said that they do not actually have any tobacco. End users inhale nicotine vapour which seems like smoke without any with the carcinogens identified in tobacco smoke which can be unsafe to the smoker and some others approximately him.

The E-cigarette is made up of a nicotine cartridge that contains liquid nicotine. Every time a person inhales, a little battery powered atomizer turns a little degree of liquid nicotine into vapour. Inhaling nicotine vapour provides the user a nicotine hit in seconds somewhat than minutes with patches or gum. Once the user inhales, a small LED gentle in the tip in the ecigarette glows orange to simulate an actual cigarette.

The nicotine cartridges themselves are available in numerous strengths. The vast majority of the main brand names, such as the Gamucci ecigarette have complete strength, 50 percent energy and nominal power. This is certainly suitable for individuals who choose to stop smoking. Because they get used to applying the electronic cigarette, they'll slowly decrease the strength they use until they stop.

The principle strengths e cigarettes have around nicotine patches or gum is firstly, customers hold the nicotine strike a lot quicker and secondly, because a giant rationale why people who smoke fail to stop suing patches and gum is simply because they however overlook the act of inhaling smoke from a cylindrical item. The electric cigarette emulates that even down to the smoke.

The electronic cigarette can be useful from a money perception. A set of five nicotine cartridges expenses close to £8 and it is equivalent to 500 cigarettes. While the first investment of an e-cigarette kit of £50 may perhaps seem to be steep at the outset, buyers save funds in the end.

As with quite a few common items, there are already a great number of inexpensive Chinese imitations flooding the market. They can be typically fifty percent the price of a branded ecigarette and appear like the actual detail at the same time. It's inadvisable to utilize these as they haven't been subject to your very same rigorous screening the official electronic cigarettes have and can probably be remarkably destructive on the user's wellbeing.

As e cigs come to be a lot more common, they can be more and more employed to smoke in pubs and clubs which has a using tobacco ban. E cigs seem to be the following matter and will shortly change genuine cigarettes in clubs.
Perry / July 5, 2013 at 10:30 pm
user-pic
This is my first time pay a quick visit at here and i am truly pleassant to read all at alone place.
Lucia / July 13, 2013 at 06:07 pm
user-pic
To Matt and others who think gluten free is just a fad. The wheat you are eating now has been modified so that even pesticides won't kill it. It won't be long before everyone wants gluten free because they don't want a bloated stomach and ill health. This isn't the good old days and in regard to the food industry, there actually was a good old days.
Elisa W. Poehler / September 20, 2014 at 12:26 am
user-pic
I enjoy looking through a post that will make men and women think.

Also, thank you for allowing me to comment!
Shaina T. Kahle / September 23, 2014 at 04:24 pm
user-pic
Hi there, You have done a great job. I will definitely digg it and personally suggest to my friends.
I am confident they'll be benefited from this website.
Hermina R. Johnsey / September 27, 2014 at 06:21 am
user-pic
My brother recommended I might like this blog. He was
totally right. This post actually made my day. You can not imagine simply how much time I had
spent for this info! Thanks!

Add a Comment

Other Cities: Montreal