Frequently Asked Questions
Q. I’m having a hard time finding your beer. When will your beer be available near me?
A. Unlike most gluten-free breweries that are trying to grow and expand to cover a wide territory, at Mutantis our focus is on local direct-to-consumer sales. We will occasionally make limited quantities of our beer available to a very select few Portland-area retailers, but other than that, we have no plans to sell outside of our own bottle shop or to expand into multi-state distribution. We are exploring the possibilities of shipping beers out of state, but only a few states allow for direct-to-consumer shipments from out of state: AL, KY, NE, NV, NH, ND, OH, OR, PA, VA, VT, and DC. Every other state will not allow an out-of-state business to ship beer direct to consumers. If you live in any of these states and are interested in our beer, please let us know so we can prioritize getting licensed to ship to your state!
Q. Do you serve food at your taproom?
A. Our taproom is not a restaurant and does not have space for a kitchen. However, we are situated right next to Tamale Boy Dekum, a restaurant that is almost entirely gluten-free: only the flour tortillas used for their burritos contain gluten, and everything else on their menu is gluten-free. Their fryer is used only for gluten-free foods, so their chips are safe. However we are also looking into hosting pop-ups and food trucks when it is safe for patrons to eat and drink in our taproom again; if you know of any local businesses you would like to see serving their food at Mutantis, please let us know!
Q. Is your taproom open for outdoor seating? Do you fill growlers?
A. At present we are only selling beer to go, in pre-filled containers. Very soon, most likely by mid-March or early April, we will open the patio for limited customer seating and begin filling CLEAN growlers after sanitizing them. Stay tuned for updates, we are really looking forward to being able to serve you beer by the glass or by the flight!
Q. What is gluten and why is it in beer?
A. Gluten is a protein found in what are known as “cereal” grains: barley, wheat, rye, triticale, spelt, emmer, faro, kamut, and einkorn. Traditionally, beer is made with malted barley, wheat, rye, and other gluten-containing grains. Gluten does not naturally occur in hops or yeast, though the majority of commercially-available liquid brewing yeasts do contain gluten. At Mutantis we only use gluten-free yeast in our beer, and only sell beer from breweries that use gluten-free yeast.
Q. How do you make gluten-free beer?
A. Many grains do not naturally contain gluten: rice, millet, buckwheat, maize, quinoa, amaranth, teff, sorghum, and wild rice. Many of these can be malted and roasted to produce flavors similar to malted barley, so that’s what we use: malted millet, malted rice, malted buckwheat, and other naturally gluten-free grains.
Q. What about oats? I’ve heard oats can be gluten free, do you use them in your beers?
A. While oats are technically considered gluten-free as long as they are not cross-contaminated with gluten-containing grains, there is some evidence that some celiacs will react to avenin, a gluten-like protein found in oats. For this reason, we do not use oats at Mutantis, although some of the breweries we carry do use oats in some of their brews. All gluten-free beers are required to list their ingredients according to federal law, so you can check the label of any beer in our cooler to see if it contains oats.
Q. You talk about “malted” gluten-free grains. I thought “malt” only referred to barley? What is malting, and how can gluten-free grains be malted?
A. Malting is just a process of sprouting grains under controlled temperatures for specific amounts of time, in order to promote natural processes that turn starches into sugars, increase protein contents, and develop flavors that are desirable for making beers. Any grain can potentially be malted, although some are easier to work with than others. The malted gluten-free grains used by dedicated gluten-free breweries are produced on dedicated equipment to avoid cross-contamination with glutenous grains, and are mostly made in dedicated facilities by maltsters and maltstresses that specialize in gluten-free malts.
Q. I’ve heard that sorghum is why some gluten-free beers don’t taste very good. Do you use sorghum in your beers?
A. While we do not use sorghum at Mutantis, some of the beers we sell come from breweries that do use sorghum. Sorghum, in our opinion, has been unfairly given a bad reputation. It’s a grain like any other, and while it has a fairly unique flavor, there’s no reason why it can’t be used to make excellent beer. Experienced brewers know how to work with its flavor and combine it with other ingredients to make beers that have won awards and accolades even when pitted against barley beers. The only reason we don’t use it at Mutantis is because we feel it’s already so widely used that there’s little to discover in working with it–we’re interested in exploring the unknown more than anything, so we leave the sorghum to other breweries.
Q. I’ve heard you can make gluten-free beer from barley, wheat, and rye as long as you use a certain enzyme. Is this true?
A. No, it is absolutely not true. The federal government does not allow beers made from barley to be labeled as gluten-free under any circumstances, because there is no test that can determine whether such beers are truly safe for celiacs or not. Many breweries will claim that because their beers pass a certain test–the R5 Competitive ELISA test–that they are effectively gluten-free and safe for celiacs. Such claims are not backed up by any clinical trials, and there is a lot of evidence showing that many celiacs will have a reaction to these beers, no matter what the test results say. At Mutantis we will never make or sell a beer that is made from any gluten-containing ingredients. Everything we brew or sell is naturally gluten-free, from grain to glass!