Bard's Tale Beer, producers of Dragons Golden Sorghum Lager - a gluten free beer brewed with 100% sorghum malt - announced expansion of their management team in late January, 2007. Brian Kovalchuk, former CEO of Pabst Brewing Company, accepted the appointment as Chief Executive Officer of Bard's Tale Beer. He applauded the company's proven position of innovation within a new market segment, and announced expectations of launching Bard's Tale into a more prominent position in the marketplace. Brian Bizer, former VP of Finance at Pabst, has accepted the position of VP of Finance for Bard's Tale and has been appointed as Chief Financial Officer on the Board of Managers. Mr. Bizer expects to sharpen the economic focus of Bardís Tale, beginning with financial analysis and recommendations for growth.
Kevin Seplowitz, President of Bardís Tale, speaks of the development of Dragonís Gold as an ongoing process. As innovators and Celiacs in the beer industry, Seplowitz and co-owner Craig Belser endeavored to make Gluten Free Beer a widely accepted product in the commercial sector. At the same time, it was important that they uphold the European traditions that have laid the groundwork for the myriad of styles the U.S. currently enjoys. Says Seplowitz, ďWe wanted to pay homage to the brewing industry that came before us, and we wanted to be embraced by them.Ē
Seplowitz and Belser began serious brewing with Gluten Free ingredients in 2002, consulting with groups such as the American Association of Cereal Chemists, Dr. Peter Green, Director of Celiac Research at Columbia Presbyterian, the Celiac Sprue Association, the Celiac Disease Foundation, and the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America. They are brewers in the full sense of the word Ė not just Celiacs trying to develop a beer-type product to drink. Seplowitz clarifies his position. ďWeíre brewing a beer that happens to be gluten free, not a gluten-free beer.Ē
The process has not been an easy one. Many brewers with less tenacity would have thrown in the towel a long time ago. Bardís Tale tried brewing with buckwheat. They experimented with sorghum syrup and enzymes. Another trial involved raw sorghum/rice extract. Sometimes proto-types took on the consistency of mud, while others resulted in the necessity of a steam-cleaner for the kitchen. There were beers that tasted like rocket fuel, and bottles that exploded.
Bardís Tale refused to compromise. The project took on a sense of urgency, as if they were rushing against time and money. Like Edison and the invention of the light bulb, the Bardís team was willing to endure 10,000 trials to find the one that would work.
Belser believed that malted sorghum, rather than sorghum syrup, would produce a Gluten Free Beer with greater depth of flavor, richer color, and a closer parallel to the finer style of micro-brews on the market. He was determined to set up a malting facility for Bardís Tale and researched sorghum cultivars to find those that were most compatible for the malting and brewing process. These cultivars had to result in good flavor and possess an adequate amount of sugars for fermentation. Sorghum typically does not have a husk that is as effective for filtering as barley, so sparging became another challenge.
Finally, Seplowitz and Belser needed to maintain control of the process to ensure the product was Gluten Free throughout the entire supply chain. They hired an independent lab to test their beer for the presence of glutens at every stage - from the time it left the farmer, through harvesting, cleaning and processing, shipping, before malting, after malting, before brewing and after brewing. Since the USA does not have absolute guidelines yet established, they used the rules of the Australian FDA, set at less than 20 ppm for Gluten Free Beer, to guide their analyses. Based on the level of testing available, Bardís Tale can assure Dragonís Gold is Gluten Free down to 3 ppm.
Originally brewed in Buffalo, New York, Bardís Tale has moved brewing operations to Gordon Biersch Brewery in San Jose, California, USA. Brewer Mike Adler oversees operations at Gordon Biersch for Bardís Tale, ensuring that processes, recipe and procedure are followed for a consistent, flavorful, gluten free beer.
Bard's Tale Dragonís Gold is currently available in 20 states in the USA. Future projections for Bardís Tale include expansion of their Gluten Free Beer across the global market.
Bardís Tale Dragonís Gold Sorghum Lager pours like golden honey on a summer morning. Tiny bubbles of effervescence rise in the glass. A loose head settles as a ring, and lacing is spotty. This Dragon has legs that appear with a swirl of the wrist. Fresh, herbal, grape-nuts graininess rises to the nose. Clean earth mingles with yeasty bread, citrus, and honey. Hops varieties from the Hallertau and Tettnang regions add an assertive bite. Full, lightly toasted maltiness touches the tongue, with bitterness spilling down the back of the throat. Finish is pleasant and lasting, yet clean and refreshing.
For more information, log on to Bard's Tale at