June 14th, 2024

Everyone is Welcome at Gluten-Free Bierly Brewing

A silver paper lined tray with an array of donuts.  It is placed slightly over Bierly's menu, which includes snacks and mains.
A small selection of Bierly Brewing’s goodies. Photos by Kate Knapp.

Bierly Brewing is a super-friendly spot on Third Street to enjoy crispy onion rings, craveable donuts, expertly brewed beers, and other tasty bites—all of which are gluten-free (GF). Ames and JP Bierly, the brains and taste buds behind the brewery, both have celiac and have created a dedicated gluten-free space where everyone can safely eat and drink together. 

Hungry patrons can enjoy a full menu of fried snacks, sandwiches, and addictive in-house sauces three days a week, while those who are parched can choose from a rotating selection of beer on tap. Flagship and seasonal cans are also available to take home. Be sure to try the brewery’s award-winning Blackbird Stout and Rendezvous Double IPA.

The family-owned business also hosts a range of events each month, including trivia night, drag shows, live music, and Books + Bites, a collaboration with Third Street Books and local authors, among others. As a married couple and proud fathers to two incredible kids, Ames and JP believe in supporting the LQBTQIA+ community and created Bierly with “queer representation and family friendliness as cornerstones.” 

I sat down with the gluten-free geniuses to talk about why Bierly is so important to our community—it is one of only 4 gluten-free breweries and 2 trans-owned breweries in Oregon, after all–and why everyone should stop in for a beer and a bite.

A metal tray with a hearty looking chicken salad sandwich with coins of breaded and fried pickles and a paper ramekin with ranch.  There is also a paper lined red basket with onion rings and a large paper ramekin with orange dipping sauce.
Bierly’s chicken salad sandwich, fried pickles, onion rings, and don’t forget the sauce!

Q: What is the biggest misperception people have about GF? 

Ames: People think that GF means less fun … We want people to come to Bierly and realize that that’s not necessarily true.

Q: What is it like brewing GF beer?

JP: Our goal is beer that tastes like traditional beer but with some very non-traditional ingredients. When it comes to converting recipes there’s no one-to-one substitution for any given barley malt. We’re always experimenting and adding new things on tap. Sometimes they turn into seasonals or new flagships, sometimes it’s just a tiny batch that comes and goes on tap in the space of a week. 

Q. Tell us more about your GF menu.

Ames: We like to switch things up pretty often, like our grilled cheese sandwich (made on big, soft, gluten-free sandwich bread) and our pastries, depending on what sounds good and what’s in season. There’s always a special donut in addition to our standards [like] like a boston cream [or] a maple espresso glaze with a cardamom drizzle. 

Some people say we’re a sauce restaurant masquerading as a brewery. We make a lot of our sauces in house and we’re really proud of them and how they work with so many things on the menu. The most-requested sauces are our honey mustard barbecue and our house ranch.

Two smiling men stand next to each other, with their arms around eachothers' shoulders.  They are in front of beer tanks.
Ames (left) and JP Bierly

Q: Can you speak to your experiences as LGBTQIA+ business owners?

Ames: We’re lucky as business owners that there are people and groups in McMinnville and Yamhill County who have been vocally supporting our queer community for decades, so we get to join that cohort and do our part to help our community grow and thrive.

Sometimes, someone will walk in, look around, and realize, “oh no, this is gayer than I was expecting,” and walk back out. While I feel sorry that they won’t get to experience our amazing staff and our beer and food, I don’t feel the need to change ourselves in order to make those people feel comfortable and catered to.

Q. How is Bierly an inclusive space for LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC?

Ames: We want to be a place for people who have felt that not every other place is for them. It is the same for those with celiac, they can come here and know that they are safe to eat/drink anything on the menu.

With queer and trans people working here, I always make sure they know that if the choice is between serving a customer who’s being bigoted or dehumanizing towards them or losing the sale, I’d rather we ask that customer to leave and lose the sale. The same goes for our queer and trans customers, I hope they know that we’ll protect their ability to be safe and comfortable in our space. My favorite thing is when a family with a trans kid comes in and shares that their kid feels safe and welcome and like they’re part of our family, too.

5 employees stand around Ames, one of the owners and they all smile.
The crew at Bierly Brewing

Q: What is something you want our community to know about Bierly?

Ames: We’re a niche business designed to meet the needs of the gluten-free community but we’re really for everyone, whether you’re GF or not. All you need to do is appreciate a good beer, enjoy a chicken salad sandwich, or know how to stuff a glazed donut in your face.

Bierly Brewing
624 NE Third Street
Open Friday-Sunday
9am to 8pm
Bakery opens at 9
Brewpub opens at 12

Kate H. Knapp (she/her) works as a writer, recipe tester, and editor in McMinnville. She loves nothing more than sharing the beauty of food with her little one and has been cooking since she herself was stove-high and whisk-strong.