When I first found out I had gluten issues, I resolved to have a stiff upper lip. I could give up sourdough bread and my favorite pasta. I could even give up pie and real chocolate chip cookies, but when I found out I had to give up beer, I actually cried. Like I’ve said before, it wasn’t my finest moment, but it helps to illustrate my love of one of the world’s oldest beverages. So imagine my absolute delight when I tried Omission Handcrafted Lager on our last trip to Oregon. Brewed by Widmer Brothers Brewing in Portland, OR, their tag line is “It isn’t just what we took out, it’s what we left in.” No joke. Instead of using substitute ingredients, Omission brews with the basics: malted barley, hops, yeast and water, but the gluten is removed through a proprietary process developed by Omission. (By the way, the international standard for “gluten-free” is 20 parts per million or less, as defined by the United Nations Food & Agricultural Organization and the World Health Organization, and Omission’s levels are well below that. All batches are independently tested via the R5 Competitive ELISA test).
Six years in the making, brew master Joe Casey sought to produce an excellent gluten-free beer when his wife was diagnosed with Celiac disease. Also diagnosed with Celiac is current Widmer CEO Terry Michaelson who has worked with the company since 1994 – another case of necessity is the mother of invention.
I’ve tried both beers and I really couldn’t believe my taste buds. The lager is wonderfully tasty, with a light finish. The pale ale has a beautiful malty quality and reminds me of our much heralded local offering, Stone Pale Ale. Drinking this beer isn’t a sacrifice on any level. We found Omission at Windmill Farms, our local grocery store, but feel free to email them for location information. (Their site doesn’t yet have a list of retailers). I hate to say it, but this beer leaves all other gluten-free offerings in the dust. Give it a try and let me know how you like it. I’m still drying my eyes from tears of joy!