Why gluten free beer doesn't always follow trends
With the Great Australasian Beer Spectapular (GABS) Festival fast approaching, Australia’s craft beer community is busy creating the hottest beer styles for 2022. And while TWØBAYS revels in that rhetoric, we also know that there are many years' worth of trends for our brewers, and Australia’s gluten free beer drinkers, to catch up on.
The gluten free beer drinker has only enjoyed the release of 10 or so different styles (compared to around 100 styles that contain gluten), so there’s plenty of exciting experiences to look forward to.
This is also part of the reason it took us three years to release a mid-strength, while many other Australian breweries were creating lower alcohol beers. Of course, a mid-strength beer is nothing new, especially in this country, but new techniques, ingredients and appetite for adventure have provided a platform for flavoursome lower alcohol craft beers in the 3.5% range over the last decade.
With hop-forward Pale Ales, punchy Session IPAs, Goses, Berliner Weisses and fruit beers, 2018-2020 was considered by some to be the ‘golden age for craft beer mid-strength’, before the world became increasingly conscious of what we consume and broader market trends started exploring ‘better for you’ and ‘No and Low’ (zero alcohol up to around 1.5% abv).
"In late 2018, we opened TWØBAYS into a craft beer world that was pushing both high and low alcohol extremes, while exploring wilder and whackier flavours and ingredients,” says TWØBAYS CEO and Founder Richard Jeffares.
“But what I really missed after my Coeliac diagnosis in 2015 was a refreshing XPA, or an IPA with a little more bite. I spent three years with a limited choice of gluten free beers that I could drink, and I know some people were waiting a lot longer than I was, so I was craving a well-crafted, slightly hoppy beer.
“When TWØBAYS first opened, I didn't want our team to worry about brewing to alcohol volume – we wanted to brew to style, so that the gluten free community had the chance to try some of the key trends of the last two decades that some had missed out on. There are so many awesome flavours, aromas and mouth-feels to explore (gluten free-style) without having to follow other craft beer trends. It’s balancing that journey of exploration with being able to drink similar style beers to your friends and family who don’t have to stick to a gluten free diet”
Richard knew that TWØBAYS wouldn’t take off if the brew team just created beers to his taste, and our focus has been trying to make sure that the gluten free drinker can try the types of beer their friends are drinking – whether that’s classic Aussie Draught beers or a great mid-strength craft beer.
Why TWØBAYS released a Session Ale in late 2021
Our passion for exploring styles that were new to the Australian gluten free beer market meant we did not release a mid-strength in cans until 2021, but it was incredibly important to us to develop a recipe that stood tall on its own as a flavoursome mid-strength with a good body – not just a watered-down version of our Pale Ale. We’d been trialling mid-strength beers at the Taproom since opening and we were receiving plenty of requests to share a lower alcohol core range beer with the rest of the country. “Ultimately, we want to offer a beer for every occasion,” says Jeffares.
“And that includes a lower alcohol beer that the gluten free community could enjoy all year round. It is also a fantastic starting point to explore the rest of our range.”
How is TWØBAYS Session Ale different?
At 3.5% ABV, our Session Ale sits comfortably in mid-strength territory, at an alcohol volume allowing the responsible enjoyment of a few, whatever the season or occasion. It’s brewed as a full-flavoured Pale Ale, but has a completely different recipe to our core range Pale Ale; not just as a watered-down version. Our brew team has been developing the recipe since the beginning, combining northern and southern hemisphere hops for full flavour and a crisp, refreshing finish.
“It’s an easy-drinking gluten free beer,” says head brewer Kristian.
“Its subtle flavours with hints of delicate grain, and a finely balanced hop mix, makes for a beer that is not overpowering; the perfect beer to start on – whether you’re new to gluten free craft beer or not.”
Brewed with a blend of Goldfinch, Vienna and Cara millet, Mosaic hops from the US west coast provide the berry medley aroma and the pine and stone fruit flavours, while Nelson Sauvin hops from New Zealand bring the smooth bittering characteristics, with grape flavours.
Traditionally, a mid-strength beer would be a lighter colour than its higher alcohol content siblings, but the predominant grain in our Session Ale is Goldfinch millet malt, which makes for a deeper hue than the other Pale Ales in the core range; Pale Ale, XPA and IPA.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Light n Refreshing
Lovin it, great to enjoy a couple of frothies with reduced alcohol...tastes great! 👍🏼👏🍺 Ruth D.
️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Session Ale
Same quality as other 2Bays products. Lower alcohol leaves room for more. Peter K.
️️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Easy drinking
Great Beer for when you know you might have a few!
My weekday go to beer! Heather M.
️️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Great Session Ale
The Session Ale was a wonderful addition. A mid strength beer that still brings awesome flavour was everything I hoped for and more! Cheers Twobays once again you have delivered a brilliant new beer! Jeanette M.
️️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Great full taste, refreshing mid-strength beer
Nice to have a good mid-strength option in gluten-free beer. Even better to have one that is a genuine pleasure to drink. Nathan S.
️️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Good honest craft beer, with no compromise on flavour
Good honest craft beer, with no compromise on flavour. Mid strength but full flavoured. I wished I’d bought more. Sam T.