Ground Breaker No. 5: The Stats
- 60 IBU
- dry hopped with crystal and sanity hops
- Made from sorghum, organic lentils, organic tapioca maltodextrin, chestnuts, cane sugar, belgian style candy syrup, & hops.
The Tradition Begins…
This review is the first one published since my latest and greatest idea: Gluten Free Beer Dates With Friends! Last night my roommate Katrina and I made a trip to Newport Market, one of our local natural food stores, to search for last night’s test subjects. I was surprised to find that while they were stocked with an extensive variety of ciders, their gluten free beer options were very limited. Besides the standard selection of Omission beers, they carried only one other gluten free beer brand: Ground Breaker. (Formally known as Harvester Brewing. They were forced to change their name after a California wine company alleged trademark confusion.)
There were 4 different styles of Ground Breaker on the shelf:
- Pale Ale
- IPA No. 5
- Luella Belgian Ale
- Dark Ale
I opted for my classic preference, the IPA, while my roommate scooped up a dark ale. We grabbed a bit of sushi and headed home to try the beers!
My Thoughts on the Ground Breaker IPA No. 5
I find it funny that the first two reviews I published on this blog were of two completely different breweries…that both happen to be located in Portland, OR. I can only assume that it’s just because the Pacific Northwest really has their shit together when it comes to keeping us gluten free people drinking! ;)
When I first tried the Ground Breaker beers, they were still called Harvester Brewing beers, and I wasn’t all that impressed. However, that was several years ago, so I decided to give them and their shiny new name another shot. They’ve definitely improved. Over the past few years of operation, it’s clear to me that they’ve had a bit more time and experience working with sorghum (a popular grain substitute used in gluten free beer). The flavor of the sorghum is masked much better than it used to be in their brews, and for that I am grateful.
For an IPA, it seems a bit mild to me. But this is coming from a person who loves an IPA that kicks you right in the face, metaphorically speaking. ;) That being said though, it’s still pleasant and very drinkable, something you may gravitate towards on hot summer days. It’s vibrant golden color just screams “Drink me in the hammock!”
When it hits your mouth, it tastes sweet and fresh. The essence of the Crystal and Sanity hops swirl around your mouth, creating a cool and refreshing breeze in your throat. The nutty tones of the chestnuts stand out on your palette, while you enjoy the (slightly too) mild splash of bitterness. The IPA’s medium body makes it very drinkable, especially if you plan to have a few. Unlike many IPA’s the bitter taste fades quickly and the brew leaves your mouth feeling somewhat sweet and clear. So clear, in fact, that it’s almost slightly watery at the finish. I tend to like an IPA whose taste lingers in my mouth a bit more.
What I like most about this beer is the slight earthiness the brew has, which I assume comes from the organic lentils it’s brewed with. (I had never thought of using lentils to brew beer, but it’s genius.) The other thing I liked was that because it is brewed in a dedicated gluten free facility, I know it’s 100% gluten free. This is huge for me. My favorite “gluten free” beer right now isn’t gluten free at all…it’s gluten reduced with the enzyme Brewers Clarex. This means that after a few, I start to feel not so great. That tiny amount of gluten (below 20 ppm) residing in those bottles starts to add up after a few…for Celiacs like me anyway. It doesn’t make me really sick, but if I have more than two, it does make me feel…worse, in general. That is not the case for me when I drink 100% gluten free beers, like this one, so in that respect, this beer gets a big thumbs up!
Katrina’s Notes on My IPA No. 5:
Don’t forget to read Katrina’s review on the Ground Breaker Dark Ale!
At 60 IBU’s, this mild IPA would make a great beer for a warm summer day. The citrus-like notes combined with a clean finish are quite a pleasant gluten free surprise. A delightfully refreshing brew even non-IPA lovers could enjoy. It wasn’t full bodied erupting with flavorful bitterness, but it was a tasty and enjoyable experience. I have tried this beer in the past and it has come a long way. I will certainly be drinking this again in the future.