Ground Breaker Dark Ale

My Thoughts on the Ground Breaker Dark Ale

But first, a bit about my palate…


Ground Breaker Dark Ale gluten free beer reviewsGrowing up, my taste buds fermented in a love for all things beer. Stemming from Wisconsin roots, it’s an accustomed practice to grill everything with beer while enjoying a refreshing cold one on the side. Upon moving to Oregon, I helped open a brew house and cidery and soon after became a member of the Central Oregon Beer Angels. One could call me a beer enthusiast. I’d call it a love for all things beers; love of the fermentation process in general.


I’m not strictly gluten-free but I prefer to be when at all possible. Wheat does a number on my body and if I have a regular beer, I’ll be paying for it the next day. That’s why I’m more than stoked to be a part of this search for delicious gluten free options. Especially as more and more of us are trying–and becoming aware of the benefits of living gluten free.


My tastes vary with the seasons, but there are few beers I don’t enjoy. The one beer I stay away from at all costs is a Weiss or wheat brew (obviously). I love a refreshing kolsch or saison in the summer time. Come winter, the darker and stronger, the better. My tastes vary drastically, but if I had to list my favorites, here are the top four:

  • Casks – any type, I’m in. Unfiltered, Unpasteurized, raw barrel aged flavor. The Real Ale.
  • Nitros- again any and all. I love the usual Stouts/Porters, but finding rare gems on nitro such as a black IPA is something I strive for.
  • Sours – The dryer, the sourer, the better. Not big on sweet or super fruity beers.
  • Strong Dark Belgians – One of my favorite beers that speaks to my roots. The name says it all.

Alright, now that you know my palate, let’s look at the most recent beer up for review.


Ground Breaker Dark Ale: The Stats

  • Ground Breaker Dark Ale gluten free beers reviews35 IBU
  • 4.5% ABV
  • Brewed with dark roasted chestnuts and lentils.
  • Based in Portland, OR.

As Lindsi and I looked through the glass cooler doors at the (sadly) small selection of gluten free beers available, this dark ale caught my palate’s eye. Upon further review, I learned this beer was made with lentils instead of oats. I was highly impressed with the brew master’s creativity and intrigued to give it a taste.


First off, what I love about this company (other than that it’s local) is that it’s a completely Gluten Free Dedicated Brewery. YEAH!  For all my highly sensitive friends, you can once again enjoy a delicious local micro-brew.


First impression upon popping the top was the intoxicatingly rich espresso like aroma. Upon first taste, I was pleasantly surprised. It’s very similar to a glutenous dark. (What a treat for the person who is deprived of this taste most of us take for granted.) Dark in color and medium in body, this pronounced roasted flavor is easy to drink with a taste that eventually notes mild chocolate undertones. This delish dark finishes with a slight tinge of lentil earthiness and light malty after taste. My pallet’s one request when drinking this beer is for fuller body. Darks, in my mind, are meant to be strong and bold in flavor and body.


All in all, it was tasty enough that I bought a second bottle the day after to ensure I gave this rare find in the gluten free world a proper review. For someone who enjoys an easy drinking dark, this would be for you. Gluten Free has come a long way. Ground Breaker did a great job with this dark ale. Such a good job in fact, they won the GABF (Great American Beer Festival) Gold Medal for Gluten Free Beers in 2014.


“Ground Breaker Brewing is pleased to announce we took home the gold medal for gluten-free beer at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival with our Dark Ale. Dark Ale was the first beer to feature a new recipe including roasted lentils in place of oats. Taking top honors at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) reinforced our excitement in this latest round of recipe advancements.

2014 was the third year Ground Breaker participated in GABF. In 2012, shortly after opening, we took home the bronze medal for our Pale Ale. In 2013 we took home the gold medal with our IPA No. 1.”


Usually after drinking a few beers (even if they are gluten reduced, such as Omission) I will still feel it the next day. With Ground Breaker, I didn’t notice the lethargic feeling. 100% Gluten Free sure does have its perks and I’m more than excited to dive in to the rest of the flavors they have available and see how they compare.


Lindsi’s Notes on the Ground Breaker Dark Ale:

Mmm…reminds me of my espresso stout drinkin’ days. I’m going to come back to this one in the fall. I love the strong coffee notes and the balanced medium body. It makes it heavy in flavor, but not heavy in your stomach.

This week, Lindsi reviewed the Ground Breaker IPA No. 5. Don’t forget to give it a read!


Ground Breaker Brewing

Approach to Gluten Free Beer

Sushi and Ground Breaker Dark Ale gluten free beer reviewsOur approach to making great gluten-free beer is a simple one: don’t start with what you don’t want. We start with ingredients that are naturally gluten-free and craft them into great beers in our brewery. We don’t and never will use barley, wheat, or rye and then attempt to chemically or enzymatically remove the gluten.


Company Description of the Dark Ale

Our Dark Ale is the third beer rounding out our current lineup. It uses a very dark, near espresso-like roast of our chestnuts. The extra dark chestnuts lend a roasty flavor and aroma with notes of chocolate and dark fruits. The hops take a supporting role in this beer allowing the roastiness to come forward in the palette.



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Katrina Chaudoir

Katrina: Kah-TREE-naKids. Dogs. Art. Revolution. Live to Fly. Mountains. Adrenaline. Midwest Thunderstorms. Spontaneous Adventures. Ocean Shore Sunsets. Photography. Live Music. Vagabonding. Nature. STOP, 360.Currently: married to the open road. Eventually: build cabin on off grid mountain side, with backyard chairlift and homemade fermentations brewing. I guess one could call me a witch. I love to fly. I love to brew. Fitting that my name means Goddess of the Dead.

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