‘It’s almost like the team brewed it especially for me’ - Norfolk brew to feature at Great British Beer Festival

Cathy Waller with the gluten free beer. Picture: David Holliday

Cathy Waller with the gluten free beer. Picture: David Holliday - Credit: Archant

A Norfolk brewery will be featured at the biggest beer festival in the country - partly thanks to a team member having to go gluten free.

The Norfolk Brewhouse, based in Hindringham in north Norfolk, will have one of its beers, Moon Gazer Pacific Pale Ale, representing the region at this year’s Great British Beer Festival.

However, it may never have happened had not one of its team been diagnosed with coeliac disease.

About a year ago Cathy Waller, who has worked at the brewery for five years, was told by doctors to cut gluten out of her diet, and that included the brewery beers.

David Holliday, of the Norfolk Brewhouse, said: “When Cathy was diagnosed as gluten intolerant it really made an impression on us, as we were able to see first-hand someone who was so passionate about beer suddenly having that passion denied.

“The brewery came up with a plan to create a gluten free beer so Cathy could once again drink their beers.

“Cathy would give us a running commentary of which gluten free beers she was trying, but kept asking us why we couldn’t brew a beer for her.

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“Well, the challenge was laid down and we set about creating a special beer which matched Cathy’s preferences, her love for soft, yet fruity golden pale ales.

“Interestingly, the beer doesn’t use gluten free ingredients and has as its base Norfolk Maris Otter barley. But the addition of an enzyme reduces the gluten element to below 10 parts per million which is below the gluten free threshold.

“The result is a beer which has the same tasty, malty backbone as the brewery’s other beers.”

Mrs Waller said: “I just loved it straightaway. It’s almost like the team brewed it especially for me.

“We decided as a team not to tell the pubs or public it was gluten free until after a few months by which time it was established as a firm favourite. This worked really well and stopped people pre-judging it.”

Moon Gazer will be available at the festival, which will be held at Olympia, London from August 7-11.