A craft gluten-free brewery for the Mornington Peninsula

Two Bays Brewing Co will launch later this year on the Mornington Peninsula, making it the newest gluten-free brewery to expand Australia’s craft scene.

Two Bays owner Richard Jeffares was diagnosed with coeliac disease three years ago. From an avid beer family and a long-time enthusiast, Jeffares was devastated that he’d no longer be able to partake in his favourite beverage.

Jeffares started researching and like most craft brewers, looked to the USA. There, Jeffares found a fully-developed gluten-free space in the craft beer scene. In one venue, he described being able to try up to 18 or 19 taps of gluten-free lights, darks, sours and goses.

From Portland over to Montreal “the beer quality was brilliant,” Jeffares said.

“So, I came back and spent the last year and a bit making this project happen.”

Two Bays Brewing Co has secured exclusive importation rights to 15 different specialty malt varieties. Made from millet, buckwheat and rice, Jeffares mostly sells to homebrewers with hopes to expand once his stock levels rise.

“The CSIRO puts the gluten-free market in Australia at about eight per cent of the population.”

While there aren’t currently many breweries targeting the gluten-free market, Jeffares is quick to acknowledge the ground-breaking work of John O’Brien of O’Brien Beer, one of Australia’s first commercially brewed gluten-free beers which was released in 2005. O’Brien Beer “is probably a global pioneer in the gluten-free beer space,” he said.

Jeffares is looking to provide the whole afternoon brewery experience, where people with gluten intolerance can still enjoy trying a range of beer products and styles.

Two Bays is set up with a 300-litre pilot system, with the view to providing beer into its taproom by the end of the year.

“We’re just recipe creating at the moment,” Jeffares said.

But brews could be ready as soon as August for local distribution.

Jeffares has ordered a 20hl Brewtique system that will “hopefully” arrive by the end of August.

“We’re progressing quite well, we just hope there’s not too many things that are going to get in our way.”

Two Bays is currently on its fourth or fifth brew.

“It’s about getting that first beer out so we can show people what a quality craft gluten-free beer can really be like.”

Jeffares says that the craft beer world love experimenting and hopes that Two Bays will attract a lot of people who aren’t gluten-free but who like the flavour from these alternative malts.

He has enlisted Andrew Gow, formerly of Mornington Peninsula Brewery and Mountain Goat Brewery, as head brewer. With 19-years experience as a commercial brewer, Gow brings a thorough understanding of the barley side of brewing.

While the flavour profile is different on Two Bays brews, Jeffares and Gow aim to brew “absolutely, through-and-through to style”.

“It’s not the same but it’s not a bad point of difference either,” Jeffares said.

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