The Milwaukee brewery knows a thing or two about brewing without barley.

Lakefront’s New Grist Gose-Style with Lime is cleverly crafted. The beer, due to hit shelves in April, is made with rice and sorghum and uses lime and sea salt to add a tartness that helps avoid any odd flavors that can happen in beers made without gluten.

The gluten-free beer category has been on the rise. Gluten-free is on the Brewers Association list of style guidelines, and a recent report by Research and Markets estimates that the gluten-free beer market will grow at a double-digit annual rate in the next few years.

It’s a category that Lakefront basically invented in the United States when it launched New Grist Pilsner in 2005.

“At that time it was illegal to brew a gluten-free beer since the government didn’t have a category to make beer without barley,” said Russ Klisch, co-founder of Lakefront Brewery. “I was the one that contacted the ATF back then and got a category designated for gluten-free beer. We were the first brewery in the country to brew a gluten-free beer under this designation.”

Lakefront’s foray into this new beer style came after a friend of Klisch asked if he could brew a gluten-free beer for his uncle, who had celiac disease and couldn’t consume gluten.

“I had never heard of the celiac condition, but then I learned about it and found out that one out of 500 had it,” added Klisch. “I thought that was a lot of beer drinkers, and since I liked challenges and innovations in the brewing industry, I looked into it. I worked up the courage to ask my head brewer Luther to try to make one and I was hoping he didn’t think I was nuts. How could you make beer without barley? Luther told me that his father had celiac disease and that he never drank a beer with him, so he would love to try to create one. Then it was game on to brew the best gluten-free beer we could.”

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A rise in the availability of gluten-reduced beers, those that don’t meet FDA requirements to be considered completely gluten-free, hasn’t affected the sales of the pioneering New Grist, which can be found all over the U.S.

The addition of New Grist Gose-Style with Lime should appeal to drinkers who like their beers on the tart side.

“Tart beers are hot right now, and we wanted one in our portfolio,” said Klisch. “Our firkin guy Derek came up with a tart cask of New Grist to put on at the brewery and everyone loved it. We noticed that there weren’t any other tart gluten-free beers on the market, so that is when we perfected the recipe and [decided to bring the beer to market].”

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