Have you felt left out of the Michigan craft beer scene because you had to go gluten-free? Thanks to the efforts of a new West Michigan brewery that is brewing up greatness with alternative grains and creating true gluten-free beers from grain to glass, everyone can enjoy a pint of Michigan-made beer. The best thing about these brews from Brewery Nyx? Even if you\u2019re not gluten-free, you\u2019ll love them. Brewery Nyx might be focused on making great gluten-free beers, but I\u2019ll argue that they\u2019re just flat-out making incredible beers. The fact that they are gluten-free won\u2019t even cross your mind when you taste one of these three bad boys. They are full-flavored and full-bodied, and I would put them up against any other Michigan beer in a taste test. Currently, Nyx has a stout, a lager, and double IPA out on shelves around the Grand Rapids area.\u00a0 \u201cIt\u2019s been a long time coming,\u201d said brewery co-owner and head brewer Sebastian Van Bommel. I caught up with him and the brewery\u2019s progress the very first day they had their beer out on the shelves in Grand Rapids in December. He owns the brewery with his business partner Jessica Stricklen, who comes from a wine background, and has been gluten-free for 10 years. Van Bommel has over 18 years of brewing experience and was most recently the head brewery at Thornapple Brewing Company. The duo originally had a plan to open in the summer of 2021 but building out the brewery and getting ready for production took a bit more time. The gluten-free beer? Most of those recipes took just one take to get right.\u00a0 Van Bommel said\u00a0that the very first batch of the lager and the stout are exactly what is on sale on shelves now.\u00a0 The partners took custody of the building on Feb. 1, 2021, and quickly proceeded to not just gut the space, but completely dig up all the floors in order to lay the necessary plumbing for the brewhouse. I visited in mid-March and walked into what was essentially a giant pit, with piles of dirt everywhere, construction equipment scattered around, and a small table at one end set up as an office\/tasting area. This is a term I\u2019m using generously. The point is that they ripped this space to shreds, and then rebuilt everything, from underground up.\u00a0 \u201cThe brewhouse arrived mid-May,\u201d Van Bommel said. \u201cSo from cradle to grave, from getting into the building until we got our MLCC approval, we were about 9 months.\u201d This is actually a surprisingly quick build for a brewery, especially during a pandemic. While there were logistical delays in getting equipment delivered, they weren't where many would think they'd occur. From China to Los Angeles, to Chicago, it only took the brewing equipment three weeks to transit. And then, when it was so close to home, the equipment sat in Chicago for three more weeks. \u201cIt was kind of astonishing how much time that took,\u201d Van Bommel said.\u00a0 Brewery Nyx hired a moving company to help them unload the 10-barrel system, and then Strickland and Van Bommel moved the equipment, including four fermenters, around until it felt right. They installed a reverse osmosis system, and a boiler \u201cthe size of a Jeep Grand Cherokee\u201d according to Van Bommel. \u201cIt took us the majority of the summer into the fall to get all the major pieces into place,\u201d\u00a0 he explained.\u00a0 With a finite budget, the pressure has been growing to get beers out on the shelves, and with the first release in December, Stricklen and Van Bommel finally felt like they were making progress. They\u2019ve been steadily adding West Michigan retailers as more and more beer is brewed and made available. The initial release of retail beers was to Bridge Street Market in Grand Rapids, and Brewery Nyx sold out the whole run in just five hours.\u00a0 For now, Brewery Nyx beers are only available retail. Eventually, they hope to open a tasting room at their production facility on the Southwest side of Grand Rapids. The yield for a true gluten-free beer is a bit different from a regular, malt-based brew, and that is why beers from Brewery Nyx are more expensive. "The pricing is different," said Van Bommel. Nyx beers come in between $17 and $24 for a four-pack. We discussed the variance in the amount of ingredients used versus the resulting product.\u00a0 \u201cI\u2019m hoping for about 100 cases," Van Bommel said. "If I get anywhere near that, I\u2019ll be happy.\u201d \u201cWe have a lot more raw material," he added. "A typical 5.5% ABV beer is somewhere in the vicinity of\u00a0 600 pounds (of ingredients) for a 10-barrel system. I build a beer with 1,000 pounds.\u201d\u00a0 \u201cThere are a couple of breweries in the area that have attempted to do gluten-reduced beers,\u201d Van Bommel said. \u201cGluten reduced is not the same thing. You can argue it back and forth all day long, I don\u2019t care. Gluten-free is a very specific thing. There are people that are much more likely to trust a gluten-free product than they are a gluten-reduced.\u201d To be clear, while there is a huge market for gluten-free anything, Brewery Nyx is doing this for both personal reasons, and for the greater beer-drinking good.\u00a0 \u201cWe are not in the market to profit off of this niche,\u201d Van Bommel said. \u201cIf we were, we would be selling this beer for a lot more, to even remotely come to the type of profits that a regular brewery is getting. But we\u2019re not. We want people to enjoy something that they had in their lives for a really long time and can\u2019t anymore. Or have always been the odd duck out, because they\u2019ve had celiacs or have been gluten intolerant.\u201d To be a dedicated gluten-free brewery means taking a different approach than those places that make gluten-reduced beers. A gluten-reduced beer is made the traditional way, with malted barley, and then an enzyme is added that essentially eats up the majority of the gluten. With Nyx, barley and wheat will never even see the inside of the brewery. \u201cThe level of effort versus the cost incurred to use these non-barley cereals is high,\u201d explained Van Bommel. He uses a variety of grains to make Nyx's beers. \u201cFor a lot of people, gluten-free brewing is just PFM," Van Bommel said. What might that be, you ask? It\u2019s pure f***ing magic. \u201cThe cost verse reward is a serious gamble," he continued. "You either have to be lucky, which is what I choose, or you have to be really good. I think I got really lucky. I have some foundational understanding of what needs to happen and when, but the final product that has come out of this brewhouse with these ingredients is just awesome.\u201d We\u2019ll concur with that. Whether you are gluten-free or not, the beers from Brewery Nyx are something special. These brews open up the Michigan craft beer scene truly to everyone.\u00a0 \u201cI\u2019m just happy that we have beers on shelves, and in people\u2019s stomachs,\u201d said Van Bommel. \u201cI want people to gather and experience those pieces that they couldn\u2019t before."