O’Brien gluten-free beers

Rebellion Brewing belongs to a couple of beer drinking coeliac sufferers – John O’Brien and Andrew Laver. Dissatisfied with the quality of gluten-free beers (all imports at the time) they decided to make their own. In 2005 they launched O’Brien Gluten Free Premium Lager, brewed under contract at the Bintara Brewery, Rutherglen. Two years later they established their own brewery in Ballarat.

They now make four gluten-free beers from malted millet and sorghum. We lined the four brews up at Schloss Shanahan this week and liked what we found.

Like all low-alcohol beers, O’Brien Gluten Free Light Lager (2.7 per cent alcohol, $23.45 330ml 6-pack) lacks body, but it’s fresh and dry with a pleasant, light, herbal, hoppy character – a well crafted, refreshing brew for life’s almost sober moments.

Medium bodied Gluten Free Brown Ale ($330ml 6-pack $24.95) offers a salami-like, smoked grain aroma and flavour on a smooth, malty, dry, mildly bitter palate.

O’Brien Gluten Free Premium Lager 330ml 6-pack $24.95
This is a decent brew by any measure, made principally, in the original recipe, from sorghum with a smidge of buckwheat. The colour’s a pale lemon/gold, the aroma and flavour sit in the mainstream lager spectrum and the finish is emphatically and lingeringly bitter.

O’Brien Gluten Free Pale Ale 330ml 6-pack $24.95
The aroma of the light golden coloured pale ale combines fresh, delicate, floral hops with a light fruitiness and malt. The same combination flows through to the well-balanced, mild palate – smooth, fruity maltiness deliciously cut through with delicate hops and finishing with a satisfying bitterness.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2012
First published 15 August 2012 in the The Canberra Times