9 White Deer brewery was founded in 2014 by publican Don O’Leary and former marine engineer Gordon Lucey and set about brewing approachable full flavoured beers. It was when Don was diagnosed with a gluten intolerance within a year of opening the brewery, discovering how limited the craft beer offering was, that the focus for the brewery became creating great tasting gluten free beers across a range of styles. This began with the release of their first gluten free beer simply named Saor in 2015. The warm reception this received encouraged the team to continue and after a lot of hard work and experimentation they now have a full Saor range with not one but five new gluten free beers, offering greater choice for celiacs and those with gluten intolerance.
Gluten is the name for a range of proteins naturally found in many grains including barley, the primary ingredient in most beers. There are two approaches to producing a gluten free beer, either by substituting the malt in the recipe with grains that don’t contain gluten such as sorghum or rice or by removing the gluten from the beer after it has been brewed. If you If you want to make a beer that more tastes like ‘beer’ you really want to start out with malt, brewers then use enzymes to denatured the gluten in the beer. This is what 9 White Deer have done with their Stag Saor range with each batch independently tested to ensure that gluten levels are below the 20ppm threshold to be certified gluten free.
Of course, offering a range of gluten free beers is great but how do they taste? Thankfully these are great tasting beers in their own right. The IPA has a great balance of malt and hops bringing all those juicy citrus and tropical fruit notes but with restrained bitterness. The Pale Ale is softer and lighter than the IPA but still brings great fruit hop character with a soft fruity finish.
The Stout, Ireland’s first gluten free stout for that matter, is again smooth and approachable with chocolate and vanilla notes over rich malt. The Red Ale is soft and easy-drinking with smooth toffee and caramel notes while the Kolsch is light, crisp and refreshing with a gentle hop bitterness to the finish.
9 White Deer have to be applauded for creating great range of beers with something to suit all palates whether you are avoiding gluten or not. If you would like to try these beers for yourself you can pick them up this month in our Irish Craft Beer Sale at 6 for the price of 5.