I have to admit this first: I didn’t expect to like Coors Peak.
When I thought I could eat gluten, I was a bit of a beer snob. A pint of Guinness, pulled over the course of 20 minutes at a pub in Dublin, thick and creamy, as filling as a loaf of bread — that was my idea of a beer. Then again, I could never understand why anyone liked beer, since it left me red-faced, stomach hurting, and a little woozy. And then I was diagnosed with celiac and I understood.
I’ve tried quite a few gluten-free beers, and I’ve liked some of them for different reasons. Some I didn’t like at all. But for some reason, I sort of thought I wouldn’t like this one.
However, when I saw that Joshua Henderson from Skillet in Seattle, one of my favorite chefs in our city, was doing a dinner based on flavor pairings with Coors Peak, I started paying attention. Maybe it was better than I thought?
(Henderson has a few recipes on the Coors Peak website now. This skillet-braised pork belly on a cornmeal waffle? Oh shush. And, it would be easy to make the waffle gluten-free with our gluten-free flour.)
When Coors sent us some of the beer, to see if they could be one of the sponsors of this site, I invited a good friend to try it with me. Our friend Clint is a certified beer snob. He enjoys beers in a way few people I know do: in moderation and with great devotion. He has definite opinions. And he can eat all the gluten he wants. I figured if Clint liked this beer, we had something here.
Clint and I both took sips of cold Coors Peak, paused, took another sip, and then looked at each other. “You know, it’s not bad,” he said. I was surprised by it too. He took another sip. And then another. And then we both admitted it: “I really like this beer.”
Here’s why I really like this beer: it has very much its own taste. This is not a sorghum-based beer trying to imitate a full-bodied beer made with barley malt. Instead, Coors Peak is made with brown rice, pea protein, and malted brown rice. Frankly, I didn’t even know it was possible to malt brown rice. The final beer is crisp and bright, ever-so-slightly-sweet, and deeply refreshing.
Clint finished his entire beer, happily. So did I.
Danny and I both think this might be the perfect gluten-free beer for making beer battered fish and chips. In fact, we might be making that this week.
Next week is Memorial Day weekend. That’s the start of summer, folks. You know those long hot summer afternoons, when you’re surrounded by family and everything is slow, and you just want a cold beer on the back deck? For me, this is that beer.
Right now, Coors Peak is only available in the Seattle and Portland areas. But I imagine it will spread out to the rest of the country eventually. And given the reach of the company, that means a good, relatively inexpensive gluten-free beer could be available near you soon.
That’s why we’re happy to have Coors Peak as our latest sponsor.
(Check out their Facebook page for updates and more recipes from Joshua Henderson and other chefs.)