Since my diagnosis of coeliac disease back in 2015, one thing that has come on in leaps and bounds, which is gluten free beer. I remember Daurra Damm being the only one available, and thinking that I’d never be able to enjoy beer like I used to again. Since then, I’ve forgotten what a great beer tastes like, but am slowly getting back into it, with the help of quite a few beer brands having a token gluten free offering.
For those who don’t know, Bellfield Brewery create award-winning gluten free beer in small batches, and are based in Edinburgh. They use traditional brewing methods, mixed with non-traditional ingredients. They opened their Tap room in 2019, so that people could enjoy their beer in a relaxing space, fresh from their brewery next door. As well as being a space for drinking and chatting, it’s a great space for the comedy events and quiz nights that they host.
They also offer brewery tours every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so you can see exactly how the magic happens, and how much effort they put in with each batch.
So, as a curious coeliac, that’s what I did. I booked us a brewery tour to find out more.
You get to hear about the history of Bellfield, the process they use to make their gluten free beer, and learn about the ingredients they use. You also get to taste four of their beers, and learn about why they were created.
What makes Bellfield different to some gluten free beers is that they don’t treat the beer with a gluten-removing enzyme, or use completely gluten free grains. They select lower gluten grains, and have created their brewing method to remove the gluten at each stage of the process, whilst still keeping the great flavour that classic beers and ales have.
What I like about Bellfield is that a lot of thought and passion has been put into the taste and quality of their beer, almost like regular breweries do.
They also lab test each batch twice for gluten, whereas some breweries only test once every six months.
Bellfield’s results always come back as ‘gluten absent’ which means the gluten content is under 10ppm of gluten. In the EU, a product has to be under 20ppm to be labelled gluten free and carry the Coeliac UK crossed grain symbol. So it’s impressive that Bellfield always manage to get this consistent result.
I remember my first taste of their beer being the Bohemian Pilsner, which is a lovely light gluten free lager to start off with if you’re new to it all. During the tasting, we went through four beers and each one was explained in depth, but easy enough to understand if you’re not that into it. But as a ‘newbie’ after 5 years of not having proper beer, I can tell you that I learnt a lot from this tasting, like how I now have a favourite gluten free beer in the form of their Session Ale.
I wish I had planned our trip better, as we had to leave for a comedy show straight after the brewery tour and tasting. I would have enjoyed staying a bit longer, so on our next trip to Edinburgh, I’ll definitely be returning, maybe to one of their comedy events, or to try whatever next is to come for the brewery.
I wouldn’t be writing this if I didn’t enjoy it, so I would definitely recommend this place to any beer fan, gluten free or not.
You can find out more here on their website, or even drop them a quick message on their twitter page.
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All prices and information was correct at the time of publishing, February 2020.