Broken Compass Brewing teams up with Holidaily Brewing Co. for gluten-free beer

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Brut Together India pale ale is a gluten-free beer brewed by Holidaily Brewing Co. in Golden in collaboration with other breweries, including Broken Compass Brewing. The beer was made for Celiac Awareness Month.
Photo by Jefferson Geiger /

In honor of Celiac Awareness Month, Golden’s Holidaily Brewing Co. collaborated with nine other breweries to make a gluten-free beer. One of those is Breckenridge’s Broken Compass Brewing, which signed up to participate so that there would be gluten-free choices at its Main Street and Continental Court taprooms.

“There’s a lot of gluten-free beers out there that aren’t necessarily the best, but the stuff Holidaily makes is spectacular,” Broken Compass owner Jason Ford said. “They do a really, really good job.”

Founded in 2015, Holidaily was started by cancer survivor Karen Hertz so that she would have access to high-quality, gluten-free beer for her health and others’. The brewery exclusively brews gluten-free beer in its certified equipment, making sure there is no cross-contamination anywhere in the facility.

Holidaily is no stranger to Summit County, having worked with Highside Brewing last year to create a chocolate brownie stout made with gluten-free brownies. Sometimes, breweries will feature only their own beer, but Holidaily distributes canned gluten-free beer to around 40 breweries in the state. Along with Broken Compass, the rest of the collab participants — each carrying Holidaily beer — include Timnath Beerwerks, Welcome Home Brewery, Joyride Brewing Co., Over Yonder Brewing Co., Peak View Brewing Co., Sparge Brewing, Elizabeth Brewing Co. and Two22 Brew.

It’s the first year Holidaily has done a collaboration for Celiac Awareness Month, and the business hopes to do it again.

“These breweries want to have a gluten-free option, but they don’t want to brew it themselves because it is a really unique process and because contamination is a big issue,” Hertz said, adding that dust from other grains could cause issues.

It was different than traditional collaborations in that other breweries couldn’t contribute personal ingredients for safety, but Holidaily Head Brewer Alan Windhausen said the flavor and style was very much decided by committee. The main goal was to showcase what a gluten-free beer can taste like.

Released in early May, Brut Together India pale ale is a 5.6% alcohol-by-volume fruited brut IPA that doesn’t include the standard wheat and barley malts. It’s instead brewed with millet and buckwheat — the same gluten-free grains that come from Grouse Malt House in Wellington used in all of Holidaily’s beers — Kveik yeast and Denali, Mosaic and Mandarina Bavaria hops. Mango puree, pineapple and oranges were also added along with an enzyme to break down the sugars and make it dry like brut Champagne.

Brewers from around Colorado work on the Brut Together India pale ale at Holidaily Brewing Co. in Golden. It was made with gluten-free millet and buckwheat as well as Denali, Mosaic and Mandarina Bavaria hops.
Photo from Holidaily Brewing Co.

Windhausen said the process to make it gluten-free was fairly straightforward once the grain was swapped. He said all of the brewers were able to walk in and be immediately familiar with the equipment since it’s very traditional despite some minor changes for the unique grains.

Those traditional brewing methods are evident in the product since I couldn’t taste anything noticeably different with Brut Together. It had a normal body and didn’t taste thin or watery. I should note that I’m no expert on gluten-free or gluten-reduced beer, having had offerings from breweries like Omission Brewing Co. and New Planet Beer once or twice mainly out of curiosity.

The cloudy appearance and fruit-forward description may lead you believe it will taste similar to a juicy, New England-style IPA, but don’t be deceived. This is a dry brut beer through and through.

It helps to think of it more like a West Coast IPA due to the piney hops. I initially found it hard to get the tropical flavors with the very dry finish. However, it could have been that my palate was simply not used to IPAs that aren’t juice bombs.

Yet the orange flavor increases as it warms, and I also got more used to the bitterness as I kept drinking. The dryness wants you to keep sipping.

I unfortunately had it on a rainy day, but I could see it as a well-balanced, summer beer. Just brace yourself for the grassy notes.

Jefferson Geiger

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