Best Gluten Free Beers

Ground Breaker Olallie Blackberry and Rosehip Ale

gluten free beer brands 2023

Ground Breaker Olallie Blackberry and Rosehip Ale

Gluten Free Beer Brewed With Blackberries & Rose Hips

It’s time for a fresh review of an old school beer! Today I am re-reviewing the Olallie Ale, a gluten free beer brewed with blackberries and rosehips. This beer is brewed by Ground Breaker Brewing in a dedicated gluten free brewery in Portland. This beer has been a year-round offering of theirs since I started this blog–over a half a decade ago!

Ground Breaker Brewing Olallie

Like many of the Ground Breaker beers, this one has been through MANY recipe transformations over the years, so I thought it was time to pour it for a fresh take. I will keep the original review at the bottom of this article, so that you may compare the 2016 version with the one brewed in 2021.

One thing hasn’t changed in some time–and that’s that the Olallie Blackberry and Rosehip Ale is still packaged in 12 ounce cans. It’s also still in distribution, so you may be able to find this beer all the way over on the east coast. Ground Breaker’s distribution territory has expanded quite a bit since I first reviewed this beer.

2021 Taste Test

Olallie Blackberry and Rosehip Ale

Before I pour, let’s note that the current Olallie recipe includes brown rice syrup, sorghum, tapioca syrup, blackberries, lentils, and rosehips–in addition to cane sugar and hops. The 2021 version has a 4.5% ABV and uses Crystal hops.

The first difference I notice during the pour is that the color has changed. I remember this beer pouring very pink in the past, and it now takes on a orange-y pink color that more closely resembles a traditional beer hue than past pours of the Olallie. It pours clear enough to read through, and there’s a stronger head present then I remember in the past.

gluten free olallie blackberry and rosehip ale

The beers aroma is fruity and somewhat tart. A bit herbal too. My first sip reveals a slightly more gentle flavor profile than the old version. It’s less bitter, but still very dry. The 2021 Olallie isn’t as tart as you might expect, and there’s more fruit on the nose than on the palate.

When the gluten free Olallie hits your lips, the first quality you notice is the carbonation and the clean nature of the flavor profile. It’s not sweet, and the rosehips seem more forward than the blackberries. The blackberry notes come in later once the snappy dryness has faded from the palate a bit. The entire beer clears the taste buds quite nicely, leaving a very faint hoppy bitterness behind.

gluten free fruit beer

The 2021 Olallie is tamer then I remember, but I also think the more gentle qualities make it more palatable to a wider range of consumer preferences. It’s still as dry as I remember it, but it is less tart. (Although, looking back over my review 5 years ago, I don’t talk about much tartness back then either, but for some reason I remember it having some. πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ) If I had one wish–it would be that there was a little more blackberry in the profile, to balance the herbiness of the rose hips.

I’m curious to hear from those who have been drinking Olallie over the past decade, through all the recipe changes it’s undergone. What are your thoughts on the current recipe? Do you like it more or less than the original? Feel free to drop your thoughts in the comment section below.

2016 Taste Test

Gluten Free Olallie Blackberry and Rosehip Ale

I found this brew at my local Market of Choice. This ale is one of Ground Breaker Brewing’s year-round offerings. It is one of two ales that they choose to bottle in cans, the other one being their IPA No. 5. (I’m not sure if the Olallie Ale is also available in a 22oz.) But I must say, the cans are very convenient for jumping on the river for a float.

ground breaker brewing olallie ale blackberry and rose hip ale

Now, if you’ve been keeping up with the reviews on this blog, you may have noticed that I am very biased. Let’s just say, I have my preferences. Fruit beers are generally not my thing. But I haven’t had a Ground Breaker brew I didn’t like yet–so I’m ready to give this one a try!

The Olallie Ale carries the lightest ABV of all the Ground Breaker staples. At 4.5% and only 30 IBUs, this is a light brew. Everything about this beer screams summer to me. Let’s see if the taste test reflects that too…

The Olallie Taste Test

Everything about this beer surprised me. Starting with the color. It has a deep pink color, cloudy enough that you can’t see through it. It has that pinkish-red hue that is common in blush wines, only darker. It’s head is thin and vanishes quickly. It smelled of…well, nothing. (Maybe it’s just me? After all, I can’t really smell floral things…Yup, it’s weird.)

ground breaker brewing olallie ale blackberry and rose hip ale

My first reaction when I poured this juice-colored ale into the glass was “Oh great, this is going to be sweet.” WRONG. Oh, so, so wrong. It’s surprisingly dry and crisp. In fact, it’s more bitter than I expected. Those Crystal hops are definitely shining through.

It’s a strange beer. Unlike any beer I’ve had before. Although, to be fair, I don’t think I’ve ever tried a beer brewed with lentils, blackberries, and rose hips. My brain feels confused when it hits my palate. Is it juice? Beer? Champagne?

Champagne…that’s what this ale reminds me of. A very dry, slightly tart champagne. Those who prefer truly dry ciders would probably take kindly to this ale.

ground breaker brewing olallie ale blackberry and rose hip ale

As I said before, fruit beers are not my thing. But I’d be lying if I said this tasted like the average fruit beer. It doesn’t. For some that’s probably a good thing (like me!), and for some maybe it’s not.

I will say that this brew isn’t much of a third-quencher for me. It’s bitter qualities (which I love, by the way) left me a little thirsty even after a big sip. Keep this in mind if you’re hitting the river or soaking up some sun while you enjoy this brew.

All in all, if you like light, refreshing, dry ales…but also crave those bitter notes in your beer, give this one a try! You may be pleasantly surprised.

More Ground Breaker Beers

Best Gluten Free Beers has now reviewed all 4 of Ground Breaker Brewing’s year-round beers! They also brew their Pale Ale, IPA, and Dark Ale all year long. Click below to catch up on their other reviews:

P.S. Like what I do for the gluten free beer community? Consider buying me a beer for my efforts! ;)

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