Boozey baked goods can be gluten free too!
September 21, 2010 6:08 PM   Subscribe

Cupcakefilter: Help us find the best gluten free beer to use in GF Irish Carbomb Cupcakes!

My boyfriend's mother and I are looking to convert a recipe she has for Irish Carbomb Cupcakes into something gluten free and delicious. She has most of the substitutes worked out (she has the original recipe, and I haven't seen it yet, so I don't know any of the specifics), but we're still looking for a good GF beer. I have zero experience with GF beers (I've never cared to order one) and even before I was diagnosed with celiac disease I didn't drink a lot of beer, so I don't even know if there are GF beers that approximate Guinness or other stout beers. What would be the best GF beer to combine with our gluten free chocolate cupcakes so that they come out as close to their gluteny cousins as possible? We live in New Mexico and would rather try something that we could buy in a store, but we're flexible.
posted by runaway ballista to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm a coeliac but was diagnosed too young to be a beer drinker, so take that into account.

I've tasted beers by O'Brien's Brewery, made here in Australia. I've found them enjoyable, but not having a beer palate, I have little to compare them too. They do have a dark ale available, which isn't a stout but may have the depth to complement the rest of the recipe. I'm not sure if it would be available in New Mexico.

I've never heard of a brewery making gluten free beer producing a stout. It's possible that the replacement grains they use (often millet and sorghum, sometimes rice) don't roast is the same way that barley malt does. This might require further research.

Do you have a Coeliac Society in New Mexico. Here in Australia, they have directories of businesses which produce gluten free goods. You could get a list and start calling brewer's and see what options you have.

I have to ask, though, why make something that is so centred around gluten products. After twenty years of living with this gut-stripper of a conditioner, I've always found myself happier relying on genuine recipes from around the world which don't need to be adapted, rather than toying around with something that may never quite work. That's probably just me and my history, though.

Good luck!
posted by elephantday at 6:36 PM on September 21, 2010

I agree with elephanday. Especially with baking, if you start to mess around with the ingredients, you won't ever be happy. When you remove flour from a baking recipe, you limit what you can do. My suggestion would be to scrap trying to find all of these substitutes and go with a recipe that doesn't contain any gluten. Why don't you do a rich, decadent flourless chocolate cake instead.

If you give us what you are looking for specifically, in terms of flavor/texture/type of dessert, then I will be happy to help you find an adequate substitution.
posted by TheBones at 7:03 PM on September 21, 2010

If you can't find a good beer, maybe a really rich red wine would work?
posted by CathyG at 8:09 PM on September 21, 2010

I've had several gluten free beers and unfortunately, most of them taste pretty funky. The only one that I actually like is Red Bridge. It's an Anheuser-Busch product (now InBev...booooo) so you can probably get it most anywhere.

Anecdotal evidence: A while back, several of my friends and I had a blinded beer tasting event. Out of the six beers (from 6 participants) Red Bridge scored an average of about 3 out of 6 points, with 6 being the best. My one beer snob friend (we all have one) who quite clearly stated that he would never like a non-traditional beer, actually rated it fairly well. Anywho, it's worth a shot, and for the record, I have no aversion to gluten.
posted by Dr. ShadowMask at 10:00 PM on September 21, 2010

Husband is a beer lover and has celiacs. He enjoys Red Bridge, but acknowledges that it's mostly because he hasn't had beer in a long long time and is desperate. Red Bridge--and most other GF beers I've tried--has a distinctive, slightly sour taste that is nothing like a stout. "Acidic" is the major flavor of all we've tried, says the hubs.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:40 PM on September 21, 2010

Best answer: I totally disagree with the above commenters discouraging you from trying to adapt something to be gluten-free; you can totally be happy messing around with ingredients and that's part of the fun - and how recipes come into being in the first place!

From some mentions online, it seems that a company named Green's in the UK makes a stout, although there is no reference to it on their website, so it may be either really new or discontinued.

Otherwise, perhaps you could use a combination of a GF beer and some flavour elements of Guinness, like very dark roast coffee (people tend to describe it as "burnt tasting", so the darker the roast, the better) and some kind of roasted nuts or something of the sort.

I thought I would never be able to eat a delicious cinnamon bun again, that I was destined to walk past the Cinnabon in the mall and yearn for all of the pre-GF cinnamon buns I had eaten and could almost taste - but you know what? I went to a farmer's market and a girl was selling some GF cinnamon buns that she had worked really hard over the course of a few months to adapt so that it was good and so that GF people didn't have to go without anymore. It was amazing and I appreciated her so much for it.

So go for it and let us know how it turns out.
posted by urbanlenny at 7:29 AM on September 22, 2010

Best answer: I have had fantastic luck modifying gluteny recipes to be gluten-free. I also totally disagree with the nay-sayers above. For example, Angel Food cake is much better with Tapioca Flour than cake flour. It is lighter and moister. Not all recipes work, but don't be afraid to experiment because sometimes you will be delighted.

The gluten-free beer that is popping to mind for this recipe is the Jolly Pumpkin's Golden Manatee. Even though it is Belgian-style and not a stout, it is complex and smooth like Guinness. Not sure if this brewery ships. You might want to try giving the Jolly Pumpkin a call and asking what you could substitute, in terms of flavoring, as they make a lot of creative and tasty beers and understand gluten-free. But, other than that, Red Bridge is the best. Nothing like Guinness, though.

I googled around and it seems that these cupcakes have a chocolate base. If your modifications don't work out, I recommend starting with Bob Red Mill's chocolate cake mix. It makes INCREDIBLE cupcakes. I used to bother mixing my own ingredients until I discovered this mix -- it is as good if not better than gluteny cupcakes. And it already has a rich flavor that would work with Guinness.

In terms of adding the flavors of Guinness, I might try adding some roasted, ground millet and maybe some yeast. Or Teff flour make work out very well.
posted by Eringatang at 9:17 AM on September 22, 2010

Sorry, no answer. But can you post the original recipe? I love car bombs and cup cakes. Thanks!
posted by patrad at 10:53 AM on September 22, 2010

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