Every day that a person with gluten sensitivity can enjoy a beer should be a holiday, says Karen Hertz, founder of Holidaily Brewing Company. Now, Holidaily drinkers have even more to celebrate: The gluten-free brewery, which opened for business in Golden last January, recently began distributing 16-ounce cans of its flagship brew, the Favorite Blonde Ale, to area liquor stores and restaurants.
The Favorite Blonde gets is name from a nickname Hertz’s grandfather had for her. “I called him my favorite gray and he called me his favorite blonde,” she explains. The light, slightly earthy tasting ale, with can artwork that recalls her grandfather’s career as an optometrist, is a tribute to him.
Not only is Holidaily the first dedicated gluten-free brewery in Colorado, it’s just the fifth in the entire country. Hertz, who has survived both melanoma and thyroid cancer, spent years searching for a satisfying gluten-free beer. Once she dug into the ingredients, she discovered why it’s not good beer: Most gluten-free beer is made with sorghum syrup or rice rather than richer, more flavorful (and still gluten-free) grains such as millet or buckwheat, resulting in an off-putting taste.
Whereas many breweries may produce a single gluten-free beer, typical brewery equipment is made for processing wheat and barley and can’t handle smaller grains like millet and buckwheat. So what did Hertz do? She had custom brewing equipment made, the first of its kind in the world. She also teamed up with brewer Wayne Burns, an award-winning brewer formerly of Wynkoop Brewing, Jagged Mountain Brewery, and Mountain Sun who, while not gluten-free himself, viewed the opportunity to brew an alternative beer as “a fascinating professional challenge.” Hertz is sourcing local grains from Grouse Malting and Roasting Company in Wellington.
The payoff for both Hertz and Burns has been positive feedback (and sales!), not only from gluten-free drinkers but also from non gluten-sensitive beer lovers. “The highlight,” Hertz says, “is people who come into our bar who haven’t had a craft beer, maybe ever—or it’s been a long time. We’ve had people in full-on tears.”
Holidaily has seven gluten-free beers available at its taproom in Golden with intentions to introduce seasonals and other brews over time. So far, Holidaily distributes to Fresh Thymes Eatery in Boulder, Woody’s Wood Fired Pizza in Golden, and the Post Brewing Company in Lafayette. Hertz and Burns also hope to expand distribution into Summit County by the start of ski season.
If you’re looking for Holidaily at restaurants in Denver, hold tight. Although the brewery is adding outlets every week, it’s currently only available at two Denver liquor stores: Pearl Wine Company and Molly’s Spirits. Check the brewery’s website for updates.
801 Brickyard Circle, Golden, 303-278-2337