Ah, beer. How I miss you. For a long time people have been telling me that I can still drink Corona, which is a hard no thank you (no offense to all the Corona lovers out there!). That said, there’s a few great craft gluten-removed beers on the market, from pale ales (probably the most common) to lagers. But what does “gluten removed” really mean? Is it celiac-safe? Let’s discuss.
Gluten-removed beers are typically championed because they taste like real beer. I don’t know how many times I’ve tried a truly gluten free beer and been disgusted, but it’s a lot. This is, in part, because I’m not a huge fan of hops; I far prefer a sweeter, maltier beer to a hoppy one, and many of the gluten free beers I’ve tried in the past tend to make up for their lack of malt with an abundance of hops. If you’re an IPA lover, this is great news for you! If you’re like me, though, you may want a softer beer with bready but refreshing finish, this hoppy trend poses a problem.
The thing that makes gluten-removed beers taste like the beer I know and love is that it essentially is the beer I know and love. It’s still made with barley (gasp), but brewers introduce an enzyme like Brewer’s Clarex to reduce gluten in the beer. This method reduces the amount of gluten in gluten-reduced/removed beers down to 20 parts per million or less (Daura Lager cites that they have less than 3 gluten parts per million in their beers), which enables them to declare themselves as gluten-removed, or as a beer crafted to remove gluten.
So what does this mean for us gluten free folk? Well, that depends. On what, you might ask? On your gluten sensitivity. If you read the above paragraph and thought 3 parts per million is still 3 parts per million more than 0 parts per million, and therefore not gluten free, then you would be correct: these beers are not truly gluten free, and therefore are likely not celiac-safe, though I have heard from numerous diagnosed celiacs who have no problem drinking the gluten-removed beers. On the other hand, if you’re a gluten intolerant or gluten-avoidant person who, for example, can tolerate the cross-contamination of a shared fryer without illness or irritating symptoms, then these beers are probably fine for you to drink.
Ultimately, whether or not these beers are safe for you to drink is up to the severity of your diagnosis, and where you fall on the gluten-free spectrum. As a person who is gluten intolerant but not celiac, I’ve found that, for the most part, these beers do not trigger the immediate symptoms of glutening (stomach pain/discomfort/unsettling, rash, headache).
Are you celiac or gluten intolerant? Have you tried one of these beers before? Let me know your experiences in the comments section, I would love to hear them! Especially if anyone has had an adverse reaction to a gluten-reduced beer, I would be very interested in learning more.
Finally, see below for a few gluten free and gluten removed beer options! I will be doing ongoing reviews of these beers as I can get my hands on them, so watch this space for more options to come.
Gluten Free Beers
Holidaily Brewing Company
Dogfish Head Tweason’ale
Gluten Removed/Reduced Beers
Daura Damm Lager
Stone Delicious IPA