Gluten-free beer lovers, take heart. Cold Crash Brewing — Washington state’s second dedicated gluten-free brewery, joining Ghostfish Brewing in SODO — will host its grand opening this Sunday at 4507 48th Ave SW in West Seattle. The cozy 600 square-foot space, located in an alley, will feature six beers to start, including its Tropical Sunset IPA, Hang Ten Pilsner, and Bonfire Cherry Ale (which has a tart and smoky flavor profile). There will also be a couple of ciders available, including one from Cold Crash’s partnership with Brownrigg Hard Cider.
The brewery is run by married couple Robyn Campbell and Erin Treankler, who met while working at Starbucks headquarters years ago. Treankler learned she had celiac disease as she studied to be a pastry chef; Campbell has applied her experience in building design and engineering to the new facility. Both have made sure that everything is completely gluten and nut-free, which is a long, complicated process that can be especially costly for breweries. All the beers are made with grains such as oat, millet, rice, and buckwheat, rather than barley, and the prices for equipment and ingredients can be much higher than standard breweries (for instance unmilled malted millet grains per pound often can be almost four times higher than that of barley).
All that may be worth it, though, if Cold Crash can tap into a market where there aren’t a whole lot of options available. The aforementioned Ghostfish has certainly carved out a niche over since debuting in 2015. But most of the other gluten-free alcoholic options around the city skew toward cider spots, such as Capitol Cider, which also boasts a gluten-free kitchen (note that beer-makers sometimes offer “gluten-reduced” releases, rather than ones that are completely gluten free).
Treankler and Campbell aim to make the new spot a family-friendly destination in a residential neighborhood (there will be a patio open in the summer, where dogs are welcome, and gluten-free and nut-free snacks). “We are not intrinsically doing anything different than other breweries,” Treankler tells Eater Seattle. “Just making beer.”