Although I’m not a huge beer drinker, I’m really excited to introduce you to a brand-new brewery, Moonshrimp Brewing. Moonshrimp Brewing is a specially designed brewery for people who can’t consume gluten, something very familiar to the one in ten PWDs who have celiac disease. The brewery is owned by a very good friend of mine, Daniel McIntosh-Tolle, who attended diabetes camp with me when we were in high school (he was also my prom date!). Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 5 and celiac disease at age 22, Dan is in the process of opening the brewery and he needs our help!
In order to open the Moonshrimp Brewing facility, he needs to purchase some very expensive equipment. Dan launched a Kickstarter fundraiser yesterday to raise money for the hardware, plumbing, equipment, licenses and supplies. As always, Dan’s Kickstarter comes with a list of amazing gifts for supporting the brewery. Items include Moonshrimp pint glasses, t-shirts, a how-to class on making beer, and for the top three supporters, a personal thank you will be printed on the first 10,000 bottles produced! Cool!
Dan was kind enough to answer a few questions about Moonshrimp Brewery and life with celiac disease.
Allison: What inspired you to launch a gluten-free, vegan brewery?
Dan: I was diagnosed with celiac disease just over 6 years ago and missed out on craft beer. Vegan was added because it is not that hard to do and allows even more people to be able to drink the beer. (Also, wife is vegan). Yep, one of the lucky D-1 and celiacs
Fun. Beer involves so many grains, so how do you make it gluten-free?
Beer is normally made with barley (lots of it), I substitute millet and vegan certified beet sugar instead, along with the usual hops. My yeast is grown on molasses instead of malt so that there is no trace of gluten.
Are there other gluten-free beers out there? If so, what makes yours the best?
There are a few gluten free beers and a few more “Low gluten” beers (Omission by Widmer, Estrella Damm) The other main real gluten free beer is Harvester Brewing, also from PDX. Their beer is made from roasted chessnuts and oats and while tasty still contains oats which some celiacs (me included) cannot drink.
How will people purchase the beer? Will you sell it online?
My beer will be available around Portland at bottle shops, a few bars that specialize in huge selections and gluten free restaurants. People can also contact me and buy cases from the brewery. Due to its tiny size the brewery will not be open to the public but I will give scheduled tours if people e-mail me. Selling beer on line is a legal swamp I don’t think I want to wade into, best to leave that alone.
How much will the beer cost?
Moonshrimp Brewing’s beer will be available in conditioned 22oz bottles from bottle shops, retailers and restaurants for $4-5 per bottle depending on location. Case purchases will be available from the brewery at a discount compared to retail prices.
Got it. So fill me in: what on earth is a Moonshrimp?
Ha ha ha. Number one question. My entire life people have commented about the man on the moon and I have never been able to see it. Instead I saw a large shrimp laying flat on a cracker ready to be eaten. Thus the name Moonshrimp and the idea of always seeing things differently was born. My beer is not like others, made differently from the beginning, it is an affordable gluten free beer that anyone can drink.
Awesome. And for the record, I can’t see him either.
I thought my shrimp was clear. A little photo touchup and tada! Facebook avatar.
Yes, I can definitely see it now! Do you have any tips or advice for managing celiac disease?
A few: Low gluten is not gluten free. No one on earth knows if chopped up gluten is still bad for you. Soy sauce is probably the work of the devil. Gluten free soy sauce is delicious and not to hard to find. If someone says “It’s totally gluten free, no animal products at all” don’t eat their food.
Haha. Why’s that?
If anyone ever says the gluten free-no animal products-line, run, not walk, away from their food. They have no idea what they are doing and will probably poison you. Had that happen once, not only did the pizza crust contain (as in, made from) wheat, it also had animal products.
If you get fully funded, when do you expect to open?
If fully funded I hope to open at the end of September, which puts our first batches available in October. It will probably get pushed back by the nature of reality (license issues, building codes, yadda yadda) but that is the goal.