Millions of people are just a few miles away from a Gold Medal Gluten-free Beer
Since chestnuts are gluten-free I am often asked if they can be used to make a gluten-free beer. The answer is yes, but the brewers can't use traditional malts which contain gluten. Often they substitute sorghum which is gluten-free but requires other ingredients to mask the poor taste of sorghum. That is where Michigan's chestnut chips come to the rescue.
The search for a good gluten-free beer is over and its been over for about 8 years. In the fall of 2010, Jolly Pumpkin of Dexter, Michigan using chestnut chips won the coveted gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado.
That's right! Jolly Pumpkin's Golden Manatee Belipago India Pale Ale took home the gold medal in the "Specialty Beer" category competing against beers made with traditional gluten-containing ingredients. Incredibly, a gluten-free beer beat out beers brewed with malted barley, not just other gluten-free beers. For beer lovers, and gluten-free beer lovers that was a momentous achievement. Jolly Pumpkin and its locations in Dexter, Traverse City, Detroit, Royal Oak, and Chicago (Hyde Park) serves the beer only on tap. But you can enjoy the taste of a good beer at Jolly Pumpkin taprooms/restaurants or take home a growler for those who wish to drink a gluten-free beer over the weekend. It is best to call to make sure it is on tap.
Using the app Untappd, let's see where people are drinking gluten-free Belipago. First, it has an overall score of 3.34 out of 5.00 on Untappd. (Another popular gluten-free chestnut-based beer is rated 2.73 on Untappd so Jolly Pumpkin is definitely doing something right.) Looking at comments on Untappd, there are some people who love Belipago and some who don't. But those who like it, love it. But where are they finding and drinking Gold Manatee Belipago? Most reporting recently on Untappd have tasted their Belipago at the Dexter Taphouse, Ann Arbor Cafe and Brewery, Detroit Pizzeria, and Chicago Pizzeria and Brewery (Hyde Park). Literally, millions of people are a just a few miles away from a gold medal gluten-free beer served on tap.
For more information on the gold medal and Ron Jeffery's brewing magic go to this article by Jefferson Adams: Jolly Pumpkin's Belipago India Pale Ale Takes Gold in Denver