Gluten-free no longer means beer-free at new Calgary brewery
Founders say Heathen's Brewing is Canada's only gluten-free brewery west of Montreal
Calgarians who suffer from celiac disease or a gluten intolerance now have a way to enjoy something they may have assumed wasn't in the cards — a trip to a local craft brew house.
Heathen's Brewing, a gluten-free brewery, opened in Calgary this past weekend.
Co-founders Wes Maxwell and Jeff Silzer had a basic and understandable reason for opening the brewery.
"I had some family members that were celiac and missed drinking beer," said Maxwell.
Some of the key ingredients in beer — wheat and barley — can't be safely consumed by those with celiac disease. And while many foods come in gluten-free varieties, Silzer said beer is not always available in a palatable form.
"We worked on the flavours to make sure it tasted like it wasn't a gluten-free beer," said Silzer. The co-founder also said Heathen's is the only gluten-free brewery in Canada located west of Montreal.
The founders hope the new brewery will give people who can't risk consuming gluten somewhere to go where they can safely "enjoy a beer that they actually enjoy," as Maxwell put it.
"[They can] partake in that activity that maybe they haven't been able to do for a while after being diagnosed," said Maxwell.
For now, the beer is only available at the Heathen's Brewing tap room in the north-east of Calgary.
Canning the beer for sale at liquor stores is planned for later this summer, according to both co-founders.
With files from Justin Pennell