Friday, March 12, 2010

Happiest Hour: The Kettlehouse goes gluten-free

Posted By on Fri, Mar 12, 2010 at 3:30 PM

In this week's Happiest Hour, the Kettlehouse gives beer-loving and long-suffering "Celiacs" a reason to dust off their growlers with its new Seeley Axe White.

Breaking beer news bulletin: The good people at Missoula’s Kettlehouse Brewing Co. have brewed an experimental “gluten-reduced” beer called Seeley Axe White. It’s very likely gluten-free, but the brewery is reluctant to call it that until it can be tested for gluten proteins.

My growler back in action.
  • My growler back in action.

Why I care: Because three years ago I discovered I have Celiac Disease, an inherited autoimmune disease in which the lining of the small intestine is damaged from eating gluten proteins found in wheat, barley and rye. That meant my Kettlehouse growler was relegated to a spare change collector, and my love of beer spoiled by gastrointestinal symptoms displeasing enough to make me swear off even my beloved Cold Smoke. Beer became my forbidden fruit.

What’s Seeley Axe White? Seeley Axe—get it? We gluten-intolerants are called “Celiacs”—is a beer brewed with the gluten-free grain sorghum and, in the tradition of Belgian white beers, bitter orange peel and coriander.

How’s it taste? Like beer, which is to say, amazing. As its name implies (but as its ingredients belie), it tastes a bit like a wheat hefeweizen, but it also has a pale ale-like hoppiness lacking in every other gluten-free beer I’ve tried.

Will it stick around? Kettlehouse owner Tim O’Leary says reviews have been very positive so far, and that it could be a “sleeper hit.” “We’re testing it in our taprooms, and if it seems commercially viable, at least in Missoula, we’ll figure out what we have to do to continue making it…,” he says. “What we’re trying to do is get a recipe dialed in that we can offer if there are any bars around that want to have it on tap.”

Where to get it: The Kettlehouse’s taproom at 602 Myrtle Street. It’s not currently available at the Northside location, but that could change.

—Matthew Frank

Happiest Hour is a new column that celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, e-mail

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