Being diagnosed with coeliac disease was a crushing blow for Alistair Brown. It’s a lifelong autoimmune disease that affects around 1-4% of the UK population caused by an adverse reaction to gluten. When he was first diagnosed coeliac – as happens with all coeliacs – he was told he would have to avoid gluten, for life. No beer, no pies, no fish and chips. He wondered whether life was worth living at all.
Fortunately, the diagnosis inspired him to team up with Marie Brown and Giselle Dye, whose husband Robin is also a coeliac, to start a micro-brewery dedicated to producing gluten-free beer, which everyone can enjoy. The Bellfield Brewery is based in Edinburgh and brews contemporary interpretations of classic styles. They wanted their beers to be a genuine, gluten-free alternative to mainstream beers, so that everyone can enjoy one, catering as much to the increasing proportion of people choosing to avoid gluten because they have sensitive stomachs or are prone to bloating.
Unlike most other mainstream breweries now producing gluten-free beer using enzymes to ‘de-glutenise’ their beer, Bellfield have optimized their brewing process to reduce gluten at every stage. With attention to the ingredients and yeast used, beer can be brewed gluten-free, naturally. All Bellfield beers are Coeliac UK accredited and carry the ‘crossed grain’ symbol.
They are currently brewing two beers. These are the Bohemian Pilsner, a 4.5% noble classic Czech pilsner, pale with a light body, slight background bitterness and gentle floral tones from the finest Saaz hops leading to a soft refreshing finish. And the 4.5% Lawless Village IPA, named after the neighbourhood of Portobello. A copper coloured, aromatic beer brewed as a traditional American IPA made with pale and crystal malts and Cascade and Centennial American hops for a modern, citrusy finish.
The work seems to have paid off for the close-knit team. Lawless Village IPA was named gluten-free UK Country Winner in last month’s World Beer Awards with Bohemian Pilsner named as UK Silver Winner. The IPA was a finalist in the 2017 Scottish Beer Awards.
The team is going from strength to strength, recently receiving fresh investment to press home the advantage of being the first dedicated gluten-free brewery in the UK. It’s important however to remember, that the goal isn’t to produce great tasting gluten-free beers, but great tasting beer that happens to be gluten-free. For that the proof can only be in the tasting, so why not put them to test at our Boutique Beers event this November in Glasgow.
You can find more information about Bellfield here. If you want to stock Bellfield beers, click here to place an order online now, or here to request an account with us; and don’t forget we’re here to support you with everything you need to ensure that your beer range is a success, from free menu design and print services to barware.