Being gluten-free in the craft beer world is no easy task.
When my husband and I decided to give up gluten for a month as part of our yearly “fast” we were afraid that we would be doomed to drinking only cider and sorghum-based beers. Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a cider from time to time. But, a whole month without my precious beer might be too much for me to handle! And sorghum is something I just don’t enjoy.
Luckily, the amazing brewery that I work for, Tequesta Brewing Company, enlightened me to the beautiful world of gluten-reduced beer. And if our gluten-reduced beer is good enough for people with a gluten-intolerance then it is good enough for our fast! Breweries, like the one I work for, use a special clarifier such as brewer’s clarex that binds to the gluten enzymes making them heavy so that they sink to the bottom while the beer is being whirl-pooled. Then, when the liquid is being drained from the side of the container the heavy particles stay in the bottom leaving behind a large majority of the gluten! This makes the gluten content less than 20 parts per million putting it into the category of gluten-reduced. In order to be considered gluten-free it needs to be less than 5 parts per million.
Although my husband and I were completely content with just drinking TBC beer for a whole month, I still wanted to see what other options are out there for the gluten-fearing. So, I went to my local beer store and to my surprise there were a few non-cider, non-sorghum options! I decided on Brunehaut Blond Ale, Fox Tail Gluten-Free Ale, Green’s Tripel Blond Ale and Omission Pale Ale. I also happened across a new favorite cider, Moa’s Kiwifruit Cider which tastes like the champagne of my dreams! Fruity, dry and effervescent, so worth a try! The Green’s is partially made with sorghum which I found to be evident. The Fox Tail Gluten-Free ale taste like a light, citrusy ale that I think would make an amazing shandy. The Omission Pale Ale was a pretty standard American-style pale ale. Brunehaut’s Blonde Ale was actually my favorite of my beer store finds. It tastes like a really solid Belgian Blonde Ale that was very enjoyable and didn’t taste any different than the standard version.
But, the star of the month was my beloved brewery. All bias aside, how could I not be excited about the beer when I have choices like White IPA, Hefewiezen, American Red Ale, Baltic Porter and my absolute favorite of the month… Hopscotch! It is a hopped up scotch wee heavy that reminds me of an Oskar Blue’s G’Knight with its big hop flavors perfectly balanced with slightly sweet, full bodied malts. The White IPA is becoming one of my favorite overall styles with that great blend of the fruity Belgian yeast and the citrus hoppyness. The Hefewiezen and American Red Ale were both 4.3% making them perfect for outdoor activities during these hot Florida summer days. The Baltic Porter is one of the styles I look forward to every year and this year’s was so good! It had such a nice, full body and mouth feel, paired with a slightly smoky malt flavor.
All in all, if for any reason my husband and I had to give up gluten in a more permanent fashion, we are happy to know that we will still be able to enjoy our much loved beer. The quality of options out there for the people with gluten-intolerance seems to be growing every day with the rise in awareness of this health issue. The biggest reason it isn’t advertised that much in the beer industry is because it is very expensive to have the testing done to get the certification. But, I think if you, the readers, asked around at your local breweries you may be surprised at how common of a practice this has become. Enjoy!
Hi! My name is Brigid and I am a craft beer fanatic! I am 30 years old, work at a local brewery here in South Florida and am currently in nursing school. My love affair with beer began in 2011 when I worked at Yard House and I quickly became obsessed. Also, I am married to an amazing man who is equally obsessed with beer and is my partner-in-crime for all of my beer adventures. I am a certified beer server and am undecided about whether to get my Certified Cicerone.
My motto, “I would be a lot thinner if I didn’t drink, but why?”
Find me on Instagram as Hopwench