Inside an old, blue-gray grain elevator next to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad tracks in Wellington, Colorado, Twila Henley is crafting something special. A stainless steel, 30-barrel tank holds grain and water in specific proportions. The opening enzymatic volleys of brewing are taking place. But Twila isn’t brewing beer: She’s making gluten-free malt.
Grouse Malting and Roasting Company is one of just a few craft-malting companies in the United States. And it’s one of an even smaller number of malting companies devoted exclusively to gluten-free malts. Twila Henley’s entire operation is certified gluten-free, from the malting floor where seeds are sprouted to the repurposed coffee roaster where specialty malts are roasted. In a world where celiac sufferers have to exercise constant vigilance, this is a sanctuary of gluten-free splendor.
Like so many similar enterprises, Henley’s start-up was inspired by a medical diagnosis. But Grouse Malting and Roasting Company has grown into something much more comprehensive. It’s not just about making beer available to those who previously couldn’t enjoy it. It’s about supplying brewers of all sizes with flavorful malts from long-neglected grain varieties that just happen to be gluten-free.