Inspired by her own gluten intolerance, woman creates gluten-free brewery

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Posted at 1:46 PM, May 18, 2022

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Brewery Nyx’s operation may be small, but the brewery holds a big title.

“We are Michigan’s first dedicated gluten-free brewery,” Brewery Nyx Owner Jessica Stricklen said.

Inspired by her own intolerance for gluten, Stricklen spent more than a decade shying away from beers because of how they made her feel.

That all changed when she discovered two gluten-free options in her own town out west.

“I was able to go to a taproom and drink the flights and bring beer home,” Stricklen said. “It was so great to be able to have that experience again.

When this Michigan native returned home, only to find the area still didn’t have options for her gluten-free friends, she decided to take matters into her own hands. She had a vision and now needed a beer maker. That’s where Nick came in.

I’m not doing anything weird or special to it in order to make it gluten-free,” Brewery Nyx beer maker Nick LaVelle said. “I'm just using gluten-free ingredients to make regular beer.”

Together, they set out to create a craft beer taste they’d grown accustomed to, but without feeling sick after.

The names, the taste and even the look similar to what you see at other breweries, but the process is far from it.

"With normal barley, you take it, you throw it in the mash tun, you get it to the temperature that it needs to be at and the enzymes take over and they just convert it for you," LaVelle said. “But with millet and rice, you need to do several extra steps.

From grain to glass, the process can take up to three weeks.

“We’re going to be playing around with other food science flavors,” LaVelle said.

In December, they debuted their beers in multiple retail stores around Michigan, and now the brewery is set to open its doors to the public for the first time.

“You can have a flight, taste through and go to the cooler, grab what you want and bring it home, share it with friends,” Stricklen said.

Giving a taproom experience to those who haven’t enjoyed it in West Michigan until now.

Licensing is still being processed and they hope to be open in the next few months.

This story was first reported by Elliot Grandia at WXMI in Grand Rapids, Mich.