Looking for the best gluten free beer? Go to Jersey City.
Departed Soles Brewing, the company known for its commemorative beers to honor the Cinderella runs in the NCAA Tournament of FDU and Princeton in 2023 and Saint Peter’s in 2022, recently was honored for having the best gluten free beer in the country.
Departed Soles’ “A Dark Night,” a Cascadian Dark Ale, or Black India Pale Ale, brewed with 100% Gluten Free Ingredients, was nominated by a panel of experts in a recent USA Today poll.
After a month of voting by consumers, A Dark Night rose to the top, beaming like a bat signal in the sky to the gluten intolerant craving a unique craft beer that boasts not only the flavor and body of a craft beer brewed with traditional ingredients, but that unique New Jersey flare.
Brian Kulbacki, the owner and head brewer of Departed Soles, said the honor – and the beer – have special meaning for him.
“In late October, we remembered the life of my late best friend, Chris Ward, who suffered from a gluten intolerance and set me down this path of brewing,” he said. “We’ve been laughed at, called names, and kicked out of bars when we talk about the importance of this product. In what is a dark time of the year to us, it means the world to me that our dark beer received this award.”
This is not the first time that the Jersey City brewery’s Black IPA has been recognized as being tops in its category. As one of the brewery’s first gluten free offerings upon its opening in 2015, A Dark Night quickly won at the 2016 World Beer Cup, followed by another recognition at the Best of Craft Beer Awards.
Kulbacki said gluten free brewing presents its own unique set of challenges – “from unique ingredient flavors to mashing techniques, challenging fermentation profiles to product placement,” he said.
“A Dark Night is a sorghum-extract based beer, which skips the mashing process and we hop copiously with Cascade and Citra to create an enjoyable dark-colored beer, that doesn’t skimp on bitterness, but balances pine and resin with a citrus flavor that any hop head can enjoy.”
Want to try it?
Departed Soles Brewery, located at 150 Bay Street in Jersey City, is open 7 days a week. Guests can try pints as well as flights of more than a dozen beers. Four gluten free options always are available.
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Departed Soles – which brewers both traditional #DefinitelyNotGlutenFree craft beer and over a dozen options with 100% certified gluten free ingredients – utilizes a proprietary cleaning process on its brewhouse to maintain the safety of the dietary restricted consumer, Kulbacki said.
It also has dedicated gluten free fermentation space and vessels, along with canning equipment. To further protect the consumer, Departed Soles contrasts its packaging, using 12-ounce cans for beers brewed without gluten, and 16-ounce cans for those with gluten; each can design also utilizes a different brewery logo and information panel to drive the differentiation home.
Departed Soles has also been recognized for its gluten free offerings with medals at the Best of Craft Beer Awards, Can-Can Awards, and the esteemed Great American Beer Festival. Its traditional offerings have also been recognized at events such as the Atlantic City Beer and Music Festival.