I’m not a huge winter beer drinker, but when the hot weather arrives and we decamp to the garden to enjoy those warm, sultry evenings, a glass of the golden nectar goes down a treat. So when the good folks at Celia Beer contacted me recently and asked if I would like to try their Gluten Free Hand Crafted Czech Lager, I agreed without hesitation and eagerly awaited for the postman!
It is amazing (in a good way) how many gluten free beers have appeared on the market in the last five years. When we first became a gluten free household in 2011, there was nothing available (although I will be honest, I wasn’t actually out there searching….). Now it seems your bog-standard supermarket will stock at least one and often 5 or 6 to choose from.
Although I have seen the Celia light Organic Lager on the shelves, this has been my first taste…. When the box arrived though, I was particularly excited to see a bottle of Celia Dark Lager, which in gluten free world, is more of a rarity…
I chose a particularly lovely evening to enjoy it…… sat on our newly finished patio, with home made sausage rolls and savoury nibbles…… A perfect combination! As I opened the dark bottle and took in the hoppy aroma, my anticipation was heightened…. The clear, dark, red-hued liquid filling my glass was as inviting to the eyes as it was to the nose…… Taking my first sip, I was not disappointed. This beer is smooth…… really smooth…… and it tastes amazing….. A slightly bitter nuttiness with a back-hit of malty sweetness.
The Organic Light Lager is also rather (too) easy to drink….. again very very smooth, this crystal clear amber glassful, tastes as good as any lager I remember…..
So what makes Celia lager interesting and where does it hail from?
A Czech beer, Celia lagers are hand-crafted at the Zatecky brewery in the historic Czech town of Zatec. Beer has been brewed here using the local Saaz hops (the only protected variety in the world) since 1004….. That’s long before we had any known requirement for gluten-freedom.
Celia gluten free lager is traditionally batch brewed in the cellars of a 14th Century castle over a period of 2 months +, which includes a 14 day open vat fermentation process, and (for the light lager) is truly organic, and also vegan-friendly, using only water from the local foothills, organic hops and organic barley malt.
Barley malt? What??? But that contains gluten right? Apparently not at unsafe levels in this beer! The lovely guys at Celia did years of research on our behalf….. during which they identified an enzyme that magically bonds with the gluten during the lagering process and enables its removal through an innovative silicone filtration system. That means that Celia gluten free lagers maintain their status as true beers but also, by the time they reach the bottle, contain less than 5 parts per million gluten levels…… and that has awarded them Crossed-Grain quality.
One of the things I really like about this lager though, is that it is not excessively gassy. That’s a good thing! In GFHQ, we don’t like unnaturally fizzy beer….. The technique used to brew Celia gluten free lager uses only natural carbonation as a result of the open fermentation process, so there is no nasty artificial addition of carbon dioxide. That makes for a smooth beer with a light taste.
The Celia Dark Lager is not organic, but I forgive them or that! Even Mr GF (who usually gives lager a wide-berth, being a bitter drinker), said it tasted really good….. not that he got more than a sip to try…. It was mine…. all mine! It certainly didn’t last long in the glass…… I enjoyed every mouthful….. Although having been out searching for more since, I have struggled to lay my hands on another Dark bottle…. If you see any, let me know!
I am sharing my Celia hand-crafted gluten free Lager experience with the following :
Brilliant Blog posts with Honest Mum
With thanks to Celia Premium Czech Lager for sending me samples of their Premium Light Organic and Dark lagers to trial. I received no payment for this post and was not required to write a review. All views expressed here are my own.
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