Beer News: Good science, bad beer, good names, bad names

In this episode, we discuss magic, beers the city doesn’t like, and blueberries. Or should I say, blueBEERies.

Triple Crossing – gluten = science

Today, Triple Crossing releases their Element 79 Golden Ale with the gluten…removed! How does this work, you may ask? Magic! JK, science. They use a product from White Labs (which sells the yeasts a lot of brewers use to make their beers) called Clarity Ferm. It’s proteins taken from, of all things, Black Mold, and was originally used to help clarify beer. But turns out it has another property: it reduces the gluten content of beers below the FDA standard for gluten-free (20 parts per million). From the White Labs site:

In addition to eliminating chill haze, Clarity Ferm significantly reduces the gluten content in beers made with barley and wheat. A Clarity-Ferm treated beer made from barley or wheat usually tests below 20 ppm of gluten, the current international standard for gluten free.

The best thing about this gluten removal process–other than it’ll help anti-gluten folks drink a beer without intense intestinal distress–is that it doesn’t require a process at all! You just dump the Clarity Ferm in before you start fermenting. That means the gluten-removed Element 79 can be made exactly the same way as the gluten-regular Element 79. Easier on the brewers and way better for folks who are tired of fermented gluten-free beverages made from un-American grains like “sorghum” and “millet.”

The whole thing seems kinda like magic?

Because I’m a huge nerd and endlessly fascinated by–well, to be honest, almost anything–I fell down a Google hole researching what Clarity Ferm does, why it works, and how it affects the beer you put it in. Here’s a three-part series that details an experiment run by a biochemist on this very subject (part two, part three). The results? Clarity Ferm reduced gluten to undetectable levels and beer tasters were unable to tell the difference between the gluten-full control beers and the gluten-removed beers in a blind taste test. Science for the win!

But because they’re kind, cautious, and caring people (and they probably don’t want to get sued) Triple Crossing gives this warning:

  1. The beer was made from a grain that contains gluten
  2. There is currently no valid test to verify the gluten content of fermented products
  3. The finished product may contain gluten

Interested? WANT TO HEAR MORE? We’re going to talk a whole lot more about this next week, which will be focused on everyone’s favorite subject: booze.

District 5 has, like, one million taps

Progress on District 5 progresses! They’ve got their sign up now, which looks very nice. The Main Street beer bar–which was once a brewery, then a bunch of different things, and finally a Martini Bubble Bar situation–will have, like, one million taps. I kid you not, check out this picture.

Strangeways turns two

Strangeways celebrates their second anniversary this Saturday. Congratulations, you guys! Really though, we should be the ones getting congratulated on another opportunity to eat ZZQ, which will set up shop from 12:00 – 5:30 PM. On the beer front, they’ll return the cleverly named Wake Me Up Before You Gose, which they have barreled with some wild things like ghost peppers and hibiscus.

Richmond hates these beers

Earlier this week, the Martin’s at Dumbarton Square had a 50% off beer sale. As you can imagine, all of the beer disappeared quickly. But what’s super interesting is which beers didn’t sell, giving us a picture of Richmond’s least favorite beers, which I now present in list format:

  • Budweiser
  • Natural Light
  • Natural Ice
  • Sam Adams

And, by the end of the day, just Bud Light MIXXTAIL and King Cobra malt liquor remained.

Massive pieces of stone

Things get real at the Stone Brewing Co. site as huge pieces of equipment will begin to arrive by boat! Can we round up all the truck-obsessed toddlers we know and take them to watch the unloading? Boats and trucks and massive pieces of equipment? I can hear the tiny jaws dropping.

New duds for Star Hill suds

Star Hill announced their new packaging a while back, which is très haute. The fancy new packaging should start showing up in a less-fancy-looking beer cooler near you.

— ∮∮∮ —


If you make a beer and sell it, please do not name it some sexist double entendre, OK? I do not want to buy your Big Boobs McGee Bock or Sinful Cinderella Stout. I’ll also not be purchasing your beers if the label features a half-naked woman of impossible physical proportions. Several local breweries: I am looking at you. The Guardian agrees.

Here’s an interview with Founders’s brewmaster, the dude who might have created the first Session IPA. His impetus for creating a style of beer that you can drink all day was literally that. He wanted a beer he could drink at work “that wouldn’t slow me down if I had a couple throughout the day.”

SIP: Hardywood’s Blueberry Berliner Weisse

Hardywood drops a new Berliner Weisse Saturday at 5:00 PM, this one is refermented on fresh blueberries from the Swift Creek Berry Farm–a place I know and love. I’m usually (aka almost always) not a fan of fruit in beers, but…blueberries! Blueberries are so good! Blueberries for Ross!

Other releases, takeovers, and things

  • This week The Answer tapped Click Bait, charmingly described as a “6% American IPA Made with 8 Different Ingredients…Ingredient #3 Will Blow Your Mind!”
  • Another week, another big-beer release from Lickinghole. This weekend join them for a Pirate Party (12:00 – 9:00 PM) plus the release of Batchelors Delight–a Rum Barrel Aged Belgian-Style Quadruple Ale (12%!?).
  • Legend Mug Club members will get an early taste of their Hopfest IPA on Sunday before the rest of us plebes get access on Monday.
  • Southern Railways and Strangeways will open the taps on Legalize it Kulture IPA today from 4:00 – 9:00 PM. I’m kind of into these weed-smelling beers lately…dank as they say (they really do say that!).

‘Gram: @

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Ross Catrow

Founder and publisher of RVANews.

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