One of the greatest rewards of running a dedicated gluten-free brewery is hearing from customers who can't ingest gluten about how they haven't had a good beer in a really long time, said Karen Hertz, owner of Holidaily Brewing Company.
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One of the greatest rewards of running a dedicated gluten-free brewery is hearing from customers who can't ingest gluten about how they haven't had a good beer in a really long time, said Karen Hertz, owner of Holidaily Brewing Company.Although some gluten-free beers are commercially available, Holidaily is the only commercial-sized brewery in Colorado with a dedicated gluten-free brewing facility, Hertz said. It is one of five in the country.Hertz has been gluten-free for 5 1/2 years. She survived melanoma and thyroid cancers in her early 30s, and part of her treatment plan included a doctor's recommendation to eliminate gluten.The name Holidaily comes from celebrating life every day. “Every day can be a holiday,” Hertz said. It's about “making the best of every single day.”Why it's gluten-freeGluten is found in wheat, barley and rye. Gluten-free consumers must avoid grains that contain gluten because some of them—especially those diagnosed as celiac—can become ill and/or experience uncomfortable symptoms, which range from abdominal pain and chronic fatigue to headaches and depression.Many people who have gluten intolerance also avoid places where they may be at risk of cross-contamination. “Even small amounts of gluten can be dangerous to those on a gluten-free diet,” Hertz said.Gluten-free can be categorized in three ways, Hertz said.Gluten-reduced products still contain some gluten: Gluten-free products are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to be labeled as gluten-free, but are produced in places that also serve products with gluten. Although most places take special precautions, there is still the risk of cross-contamination with gluten-free. Some food and beverage companies have facilities where only gluten-free items are produced, and these facilities qualify as dedicated gluten-free facilities. Holidaily is dedicated gluten-free.How it's doneHolidaily brews with a 10-barrel system made specifically for producing gluten-free beer. One reason a lot of places don't offer gluten-free beer is because the grains are very small, which makes it difficult to brew on a traditional system, Hertz said. Holidaily uses two kinds of gluten-free grains called millet and buckwheat. In addition, Holidaily likes to promote local, and the grains used come from Grouse Malting and Roasting Co., which is based in Wellington.People who are not gluten-free also provide good feedback on the taste of the beer, Hertz said.The brewery currently offers three beers on tap. Favorite Blonde is light with a subtle hop character and mellow malt flavor. Fat Randy's IPA is an Indian pale ale that includes citrus fruits with a toasty malt flavor. Riva Stout incorporates rich flavors of coffee and dark chocolate.The most popular among customers is probably Favorite Blonde, Hertz said, which also has a special story behind it. Hertz used to call her grandfather her “favorite gray,” and he, in turn, would call her his “favorite blonde.” “It's in honor of him,” Hertz said, “and it's a blonde beer, so it worked out perfectly.”What's to comeHolidaily celebrated its grand opening on Feb. 4. Right now, hours are 4-8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Hours may expand in the future.The brewery also works with food trucks. Some of them are gluten-free, Hertz said, but all have gluten-free options.Favorite Blonde will be canned in about a month, and will soon be available retail. The labeling on the can has an eye chart, also meant to honor Hertz's grandfather since he was a small-town optometrist in Pennsylvania.Holidaily will be developing new kinds of beer available in the tap, and the building's patio is expected to be open in the spring or summer.“The heart of it is a simple concept,” Hertz said. “It's simply providing a good beer to people.”
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