QLD-brewed beer cracks the gluten-sensitive market
FOR FIVE PERCENT of Australians drinking a normal beer is a painful experience that will result in cramping, bloating, vomiting and diarrhoea.
Basically, you get the hangover before you get drunk.
Boyne Island's Dean Costigan is a sufferer so the only way he can enjoy a cold beer is to make his own, something he has been doing for years.
"It's made the old fashion way with barley, yeast, a pure enzyme and there's no pasteurisation," Dean said.
"The beer I make is not technically gluten free, it's for people who can't handle a lot of gluten."
His lifelong friend, Terry Absolon-Jones, was such a fan of the beer he suggested they take the leap and produce it commercially.
"Terry lives in Perth now, but whenever we caught up for a beer he'd be on at me to sell it," Dean said.
"But I looked at an already flooded micro-brewing market and kept saying no.
"Terry kept pushing me because he insisted we had something different."
Dean caved in last year and made a commercial batch.
"I had the recipe, but I didn't have the facilities to make over a thousand litres of brew," he said.
"We had to go to Brisbane and use the facilities at Slipstream Brewing in Yeerongpilly, and Ian Watson, the head brewer, was a great help."
The result was 2,000 litres and few kegs of golden ale called, The Retriever.
"It's for sale around Brisbane, Perth, the Sunshine Coast and now in Gladstone," said Dean.
"The logistics are a nightmare because sometimes we can get a bit of space on a fridge truck, but most of the time it's up to me to drive to Brisbane and distribute it."
But the hard work has been paying off.
"Our beer cracked the top 100 GABS Hottest New Beer of 2017, which was amazing," Dean said.
"We're going to release our next brew, Two Tails, at the Sydney GABS Festival in June.
"We're among over 100 breweries in Australia and New Zealand they've invited and you have to release a beer at the festival.
"It's a huge marketing platform, releasing it to 70,000 people."
The Sick Puppy name has been well received, although Dean said it came from an incident that he still regrets.
"It was an experiment that went wrong, and I'd tipped the hops out and the dogs got stuck into it," he said.
"Hops is toxic for dogs and the poor things got a bit crook afterwards and that's where the name came from.
"It wasn't funny at the time, but the name stuck and both the dogs are on the back of the can now."
Sick Puppy Beer is available for sale at Boyne Island at Say Espresso and in Gladstone at the Star Liquor in the Night Owl Centre.
"It will also be for sale on Saturday night at Crow Street Creative," Dean said.
Fortunately, you don't have to be gluten intolerant to enjoy a cold Sick Puppy beer.