Ground Breaker Brewing Dark Ale

Ground Breaker Brewing Dark Ale

The Dark Ale That Started It All

The Ground Breaker Brewing Dark Ale is a pretty special brew for me. Why, you ask? Because it’s the first gluten free beer I ever found that tasted GOOD. This was many years ago now. Way back when Ground Breaker Brewing was still known as Harvester Brewing Company. (The brewery were forced to undergo a name change in the early days.)

Ground Breaker was the first dedicated gluten free brewery to open its doors, which means that this gluten free Dark Ale was the first of its commercial kind. The recipe has undergone changes since those early days, and it’s been winning Great American Beer Festival medals since 2014.

When I originally reviewed this beer it was bottled in 22 ounce bombers, but the Dark Ale has now been transitioned to cans, along with the rest of the Ground Breaker lineup. The Ground Breaker Dark Ale is brewed on sorghum, chestnuts, lentils, and malted rice. This recipe has changed a lot since the beginning. I think the malted rice is a new(er) addition.

It’s been a long time since I had that original Dark Ale, so it’s hard to compare over the years, but I will say that it was Ground Breaker who commercially convinced the world that sorghum could in fact make good tasting beer. 

Check out the speed pour for this Ground Breaker flagship below, or if you want to watch the full version (real time with sound) head over to our Patreon pour. Reminder: All Patreon content posted in June and July is FREE for all to enjoy.

The Taste Test

Gluten Free Dark Ale

The new and improved Ground Breaker Dark Ale pours with a coffee brown color that reveals a lot of cherry red when held up to a light source. The clarity is pretty strong too.

I poured it pretty rough down the middle and it produced a great head, but it also formed an easy head when I topped it off later on. The head lingers and leaves some remnants of itself behind, which gives the beer a frothy dark ale look even after sitting for awhile. Thirst building…

The aroma is pretty mellow for me today, but still offers gentle roasty wafts of chocolate covered fruit…maybe cherries?

My first unfiltered reaction…“Damn, this beer is even better than I remembered it.” But considering the recent recipe upgrades, it probably IS even better than it used to be. It’s absolutely no surprise they’ve won (a lot) of medals with this Dark Ale. 

This beer has a medium body and an incredibly balanced palate. The sorghum is well supported and doesn’t give itself away. The lentils and chestnuts impart an earthy nutty quality, and the carbonation sits at a solid medium which compliments the beer well. 

gluten free dark ale

The tasting experience is led by texture and flavors of dark fruit. Middle of the palate reveals a smooth medium body, which is followed up by some hoppy bitterness. The hops linger on the tongue after the swallow, and there’s a dry impression left on the palate. 

Overall, I would say this is both an attractive and delicious beer. Ground Breaker has clearly put in the time perfecting this Dark Ale recipe, and I think they’ve done a great job. 

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Gluten free since 2011. An unapologetically passionate dancer of many paths. Lover of thunderstorms, golden retrievers, and AMAZING craft beer. Bitter and hoppy is my jam. ★

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