585 E. Thompson Blvd., Ventura
Never would I have thunk it that a brewery would end up on that particular corner, where for almost a century auto-repair and tire shops came and went, but there it is: Leashless Brewing, the latest addition to downtown Ventura’s breweries with a slight twist.
Leashless owns the distinction of being the only brewery in Ventura County (that I know of) offering gluten-reduced beer, a boon for beer-lovers who are gluten-intolerant or for trendy health nuts who also love beer. While gluten-reduced should not be confused with gluten-free, Leashless says that its two gluten-reduced offerings are specifically tested for gluten and served on dedicated taps. In other words, you’re not going to find another beer in the county with as little gluten as those at Leashless.
The two gluten-reduced offerings are the 1618, a Belgian dubbel with a notable hoppiness that makes it quite unique and quite tasty. This may have been the first gluten-reduced beer I’ve ever tried, and I’d have it again. The second, dubbed the Island Style, is a Belgian chocolate stout aged on coconut. It’s hard not to like the combination of chocolate and coconut, and like it I did.
Leashless also offers more traditional fare in the way of the Retro IPA, a super-piney and -orangey brew worthy of a sit on the brewery’s patio. The brewery’s seasonal offering, appropriately named Seasons, is a farmhouse-style ale. Light and crisp, the beer was a perfect accompaniment to a sit on the brewery’s patio.
The Tri-Fin Tripel, at 9.3 percent ABV, is a whopper, with notes of black pepper and fruit. Light enough to enjoy on its own, but probably best enjoyed with a meal, or at least a snack, as we were able to acquire fries from a food truck parked in the driveway.
Leashless joins a spate of breweries (and beer-centric restaurants), having opened in the past year or so, and it’s already done enough to stand out a bit by offering its gluten-reduced brews for those who may feel left out by the boom. Fear not, beer fans: Leashless delivers on all fronts.
Chris is not afraid of gluten, but maybe he should be. Follow him on Instagram @atchrisoneal.