Rock Bottom Brewery Gluten Free Review

Rock Bottom Brewery LogoI used to frequent Rock Bottom BC (before Celiac) as I’m a hefeweisen girl. Honestly think that’s the thing I miss most about Celiac disease is beer options in general, but especially a great hefe with an orange slice. Brings a tear to my eye. Someone’s working on a gf hefe? Right?? Please??

Anyway, back on topic. I’ve avoided Rock Bottom for 2 years largely due to the disappointment of watching those lovely, tall hefeweisens glide right past my table on a server’s tray, but it’s three of my girlfriends birthdays this week and that was the location of choice.

We scored the private patio with couches and coffee tables so the ambiance and intimacy were exceptional. I was disappointed to find they did not offer a gluten sensitive menu. This always makes me nervous and the 20 questions ensues. I love it when the server says “I think that should be ok.” You think?? I think I’d rather not be hanging my head in the toilet in two hours and lying in bed all day tomorrow. “Can you please double check with the kitchen?”

While the rest of the table enjoyed salted pretzels (one of my old favorites), deep fried southwestern egg roles and BBQ pork sliders, I sampled a few corn tortilla chips and salsa and ordered my own custom dish – cheeseburger sans bun with a wedge salad on the side (confirming that the bacon, blue cheese crumbles and dressing were all fine). I was really pleased with my dish. The hamburger was cooked exactly as I had asked and the wedge salad was fabulous.

The downside was it wasn’t cheap. While everyone else enjoyed happy hour fare, I enjoyed a full price dinner. For any of you who have read many of my posts, this is a major gripe of mine. I would really like to see more places offer gluten friendly appetizers along with happy hour pricing.

I inquired about soups and the chili. They use beer in the chili so that’s out and they couldn’t confirm that any of their soups were gluten free. Paradise Bakery has the same problem with soups.

We did learn from the bartender later on (who apparently had Celiac Sprue) that the Jalepeno Spinach Cheese Dip was also gluten free. We tried a sample and it was very good. And I didn’t end up on the floor in ball later on so apparently he was right about it being safe.

Rock Bottom also serves an Apple Cider which provides an extra option besides wine and hard alcohol. It would be nice to see one gluten free beer on the menu (I didn’t see one listed) and I prefer pear cider over apple, which is hard to come by in restaurants it seems. At any rate, I’d go back and test out some more options.  It is frustrating to ask so many questions so it would be great to see them offer a gluten sensitive menu to make everyone’s lives easier.

Anyone else have a positive or negative experience with Rock Bottom?


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  1. Jordan says

    I went there for the first time this past weekend since being gluten-free. My server knew barely anything – the only thing she could offer after “checking with the kitchen” was to get steak without any seasoning. I was disappointed in the lack of knowledge, but the steak was very good!

    • gfcritique says

      Yes, Rock Bottom seems fairly reluctant to acknowledge the gluten free movement. Sadly, I’d love nothing more than to go have a huge, salty pretzel and a Hefewiesen at Rock Bottom, but obviously that’s not happening. I haven’t been back since my last experience and think I’ll wait a while longer considering the variety of options near me that do offer great GF selections. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Jesse says

    I went on a Brewery tour with friends in the summer of 2012. My plan was to give my beer tickets to my companions and instead have some rum and coke and pay for that separate. My girlfriend mentioned to Rock Bottom that I had Celiac and it turns out they had a small stock of New Grist by Lakefront Brewery (a gluten-free beer if you aren’t familiar). So I was happy they had an option for me and even let me use my beer tickets from the tour I paid for in order to drink them for free.

    Other than that little note, my experience is very similar to yours. Thanks for the nice article.

    • gfcritique says

      This is great! More restaurants are carrying gluten free beverages aside from wine or hard alcohol. It’s a nice option (& usually more reasonable) to have the option of beer or cider when enjoying time out with friends / family. Also nice to see that New Grist is becoming more popular. Redbridge seemed to be the standby for many places that did carry a GF beer. I personally find Redbridge to be a little heavy and filling with a pretty distinct after taste so glad some other options are showing up. Thanks for sharing!

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