Gluten Free Beer Choice for International Lager Day!
In the year that we released another gluten free lager; Mandarin Rice Lager – and brewed our first Oktoberfest gluten free beer ‘OktoberGFest’ Munich Helles – the style took out 2022 Indies Beer of the Year, in the shape of Sydney-based White Bay Brewery's Lager.
And we are extremely proud to offer two gluten free lagers on International Lager Day – 10 December – TWØBAYS Core Lager and GFB Draught.
There is no doubt that Lager is enjoying an extended renaissance, and rightly so. The omnipresent style has long worn the crown for world's most popular beer, but there was a time it was left behind in the wake of craft beer's crest. Now it has returned with a vengeance; in both the craft beer world and the gluten free beer world.
The style challenges a brewer’s technical prowess more than any beer due to its ‘naked’ nature, showcasing process and ingredients with nowhere to hide imperfections, such as yeast stress or over-bittering. Originating from the German word “lagern” meaning “to store”, lagers were traditionally made and stored in caves and underground cellars in barrels.
"Off flavours can be masked in hoppier beers, but not this style," says TWØBAYS Brewer Grant Audrins.
"And it’s not uncommon for 'barley' breweries across the world to use gluten free grains in lagers and pilsners for that light effect. US breweries often use corn, Asian breweries often use rice, and African breweries frequently brew with sorghum and millet. The lighter grains suit the modern lager style, balancing maltiness, hopiness and bitterness.”
What is TWØBAYS Lager like?
Lager was the fourth beer to join the TWØBAYS core range in April 2021; we wanted to create an offering for those after an alternative to hoppier ales, although it does boast beautifully subtle hop aromatics to balance a lovely malt sweetness and classic crispness.
“We wanted to brew a true craft Lager,” says CEO and Founder Richard Jeffares.
“At 4.5% abv, this beer presents another entry point to the world of gluten free craft beer – especially for those who are not accustomed to the hop flavours and aromas of an ale style beer.”
“It feels that this is the natural fit for a core range dominated by hoppy ales," says Head Brewer Kristian Martin.
"The Lager really cuts through with a clean palate. We know that lots of consumers prefer a Lager style of beer, and we wanted to make sure we had a great one for them to explore.”
“Pale and Vienna Millet are delicate grains, which allows us to play with subtle hops – in this case Saphir and Premiant, presenting clean tangerine aromas and a sharp, refreshing finish synonymous with the Lager style.”
And what about TWØBAYS GFB?
Prior to the release of GFB in September 2021, TWØBAYS had been solely focused on pushing the boundaries of craft beer so that gluten free beer drinkers could enjoy the full craft experience like anybody else.
While we knew Aussies love exploring the world of gluten free craft beer, we also knew that a craft Lager would not be for everyone. Some people just want an easy-drinking classic Aussie beer taste too, so we launched our new brand called GFB – simply ‘just great beer’.
It’s designed to have that classic Aussie taste, rather than something that is heavily hopped, or carries big malt flavours – or something that is more experimental with ingredients, mouthfeel and aroma.
Unlike our TWØBAYS beers, which are brewed using millet, buckwheat and rice malts, GFB uses sorghum and rice malts to create that easy-drinking flavour profile. The key difference is in those raw ingredients and the volume of hops used.
The ingredients also make the beer lighter in colour and drier in mouthfeel.
What's the difference between Lager and Draught?
The first beer in the GFB range is a clean, crisp and refreshing full-strength Draught. We called it a ‘Draught’ to differentiate it from our Lager, but what's the difference? In truth ‘Draught’ on a can is a bit of an oxymoron as the word derives from the fact that the beer is exclusively tap-drawn from kegs. The name 'Draught' is often used as an alternative to Lager – especially for the ‘standard’ beers you would expect at any great Australian pub or hotel.
Do TWØBAYS Lager and GFB Draught taste different?
GFB Draught and TWØBAYS Lager might use the same German Lager yeast and the same Saphir hops, but the brew team use less hops in GFB and they don’t accentuate the bitterness as much as they do in the craft Lager, which makes GFB closer to a Carlton Draught than a Victoria Bitter.
“GFB is a light-bodied lager – what we call a ‘draught’ in Australia," says Grant.
"It’s lower in ABV with a lighter malt profile, made up of 33% rice malt for its easy-drinking characteristics. With low bitterness, it’s the perfect summer sipper. Magnum is a clean, bittering hop, Saphia goes late in the boil, bring subtle, citrusy, earthy, spicey hop aromas.”
“Lager has a millet-based grain bill with a smaller proportion of malted rice. Saphia is modern and farmer-friendly version of a tradition german lager hop. The modern spin provides a slightly fruitier complexity and spicy character that suits the style and matches the yeast and malt character.”
“GFB is closer to a Czech pilsner than the Lager which is very much a German-style Vienna Lager.”
How is a lager brewed?
The basic difference between Ale and Lager is how they are fermented. Ales are fermented with top-fermenting yeast at warm temperatures (15-25ºC) and lagers are fermented with bottom-fermenting yeast at cold temperatures (5-10ºC).
The maturation period for a Lager is commonly at least a week longer than an ale (sometimes much more), this is because the lager yeast ferments slower, producing finer, more delicate, generally more refreshing flavour characteristics.
There are more than 20 different styles of Lager (some of which we may explore in future Taproom beers and nationwide releases!
- Bohemian Pilsner
- German Licht
- Munchener Helles
- Vienna Lager
- Rice Lager
- Helles Bock
- American Lager