One of the latest breweries to enter the gluten-free beer market is brewing behemoth Coors Brewing Company with its Coors Peak. Somewhat surprising to us is that Coors Peak is a true naturally gluten-free lager. Coors is not cutting corners as some other brewers have from using Brewers Clarex, an enzyme developed by DSM Food Specialties and traditionally used to prevent chill-haze in beers that has been found to drastically break down the proteins, including gluten, in beer.
“With more drinkers pursuing a gluten-free lifestyle, we were inspired to create Coors Peak so that everyone can enjoy a great beer drinking experience,” said David Kroll, MillerCoors vice president of insights and innovations.
Coors Peak is a new, naturally gluten-free copper lager made with 100 percent all natural ingredients. The unique brewing process of malting brown rice, rather than barley, allows Coors Peak to have the depth and complexity of regular beers while still being naturally gluten free. Then hops and caramel sugar add to the copper lager’s distinctive character and brightness. Coors Peak is currently available exclusively in the Seattle, WA and Portland, OR metropolitan areas and will continue to only be in these two markets for the remainder of the year.
The Gluten Intolerance Group’s (GIG) Gluten-Free Certification Organization, a leader in the verification of quality, integrity, and purity of gluten-free products, has certified the Coors Peak facility and its processes are capable of safely brewing 100 percent all natural, naturally gluten-free beer that will not harm any one suffering from celiac disease.
This process of developing Coors Peak was no simple process fro the brewers at Coors. According to Kimberly Waldron, associate brand manager, innovation of Coors Peak, the beer began its journey back in 2010. ”Almost five years ago, our brewers set out to develop a great tasting gluten-free beer for drinkers who are unsatisfied with current options. Acknowledging that most gluten-free beers lack the depth and complexity of regular beers, our brewers took a unique approach and developed a new rice malt that transforms the rice grain, giving the beer a smooth and complex taste.”
Coors Peak was developed in Milwaukee, WI over the past five years in at 10th Street Brewery. This is a brewery that Leinenkugel Brewing purchased from G. Heileman Brewing Company twenty years ago. Here the brewers developed a recipe using rice that gives the beer its pleasant sweetness but not like the adjunct use in various industrial lagers. The resulting beer is very close to an amber beer. Unlike many of the other gluten-free sorghum based beers, Coors Peak truly tastes like a beer but much more complex than its other Coors labeled beers.
We were recently treated to a dinner that featured Coors Peak at The Fireside in Northwest Portland. Chef Jason Blair prepared a four-course meal to pair with Coors’ latest offering. The meal included Grilled Peach Salad with Coors Peak vinaigrette, Mussels finished with fennel and chili pepper, Lamb Sandwich with a mustard BBQ sauce, and Mary’s Chicken accompanied with Mexican style corn. These pairings worked quite well and allowed many of us there to be a bit impressed in the beer we were all drinking.
“Coors Peak continues the Coors tradition of driving superior taste while highlighting our commitment to quality innovation,” noted Kroll. “Our unique brewing process allows us to brew an inherently all natural gluten-free beer that is brewed separately from our other beers.”
At 4.7% ABV and 150 calories and 14 grams of carbs per 12 ounces, Coors Peak is grown, brewed and bottled 100 percent naturally gluten-free. Coors Peak is available in six and 12-pack bottles at major grocery stores and also in select bars and restaurants in the Seattle and Portland metropolitan areas.
D.J. is a Portland, Oregon based writer that spent his formative years in the Midwest. With over 20 years under his belt of drinking beer at festivals across America and the world, he has developed a strong appreciation and understanding of craft beer and the industry that surrounds it. He can be found in any of the great breweries or beer bars that make Portland the best beer city in the world. His writing can also be found in Northwest Brewing News and can be followed on Twitter at @hopapalooza.