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What’s the Hype with Gluten Free Beer?

by Rohan Mathew

I’m sure you’ve heard of gluten free beer, but what is it exactly and why are more people requesting this option? A gluten free diet is quickly growing in popularity. This is because people are becoming more aware of the ingredients found in products and their potential side effects. 

Gluten has gotten a bad reputation lately, and many people are removing it from their diets completely. But what about gluten free beer? Does it still taste as good as its counterpart? In this article, we’ll look at the different types of gluten-free beer and explain why this option is growing in popularity. 

The Two Types of Gluten Free Beer

Gluten free beer falls into two main categories, gluten free and gluten-removed beer. Let’s take a look at the differences between them. 

Gluten free beer is made from gluten free grains such as buckwheat, sorghum or brown rice. There is no trace of gluten found in these beers. This means the beer would be completely safe to drink for someone with celiac disease

Gluten-removed beers are made from the same grains that normal beer is made from, such as, wheat, rye and barley. These grains contain gluten. To remove the gluten from the grains, enzymes are added that break the gluten down. This leaves only small traces of gluten in the beer.

Can you Completely Remove Gluten from Beer?

The enzyme breaks down the gluten, but it doesn’t remove it completely. This means that if you have gluten intolerance you should not drink gluten-removed beer. If you have allergies, or diseases such as Crohn’s, SIBO or celiac disease you should not consume this type of beer. Drinking gluten-removed beer when you have an intolerance can make you very sick.  

Why are Gluten-removed Beers Sometimes Labelled Gluten Free?

Manufacturers want to sell as much beer as possible, so the label is often misleading. People that are allergic to gluten are advised to read the label very carefully before drinking it. Even if the label says gluten free it’s not always the case. To be sure, look at the ingredients listed on the label.

If the label lists ingredients such as wheat, hops or barley, chances are they are actually gluten-removed and not gluten free beer. Just as sugar-free products often contain sugar, the advertising is intentionally misleading to sell more. 

Some laws state that if there is less than 20ppm (parts per million) it can be labelled as gluten-free. 

Do Gluten Free Beers Taste Good?

In the beginning, gluten-free products didn’t taste as good as beer with gluten. However, gluten free products are starting to taste a lot better these days.

Breweries have discovered new ways to process different ingredients that don’t contain gluten. They add these ingredients to improve the taste. The main ingredient in gluten free beer was always sorghum. 

Sorghum is known for its sour flavour so it’s no longer the main ingredient found in gluten free beer. Breweries are experimenting to continue to improve the flavour and give gluten free beer drinkers more options. 

What’s the Main Problem with Gluten?

Gluten is the glue-like substance that gives bread its delicious taste, elasticity and fibrous texture. But many people around the world suffer from a severe gluten intolerance known as celiac disease. This is an auto-immune disease. Symptoms of celiac disease include:

  • Issues with the digestive system 
  • Damage to your tissue and small intestines 
  • Stomach problems such as bloating 
  • Runny stomach
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Anaemia 
  • Bloating
  • Cramps

Gluten Free Alternatives

If you can’t tolerate gluten, there are gluten free alternatives. The following grain and seeds can be substituted:

  • Arrowroot 
  • Rice 
  • Buckwheat 
  • Sorghum 
  • Tapioca

These grains don’t contain any gluten, so they are perfectly fine to eat as a gluten free alternative. 

Did You Know?

Did you know that beer is the most popular alcoholic drink? Beer that contains gluten is made up of 90% water and the rest consists of hops, grain and yeast. However, there is gluten present in these grains. Fortunately, there are many breweries that offer 100% gluten free beer options.

Many processed foods contain gluten too. If you suffer from gluten allergies you must be careful when eating out. Make sure that you read the menu carefully. Ask the server to check that the item you want to order is actually gluten free and not simply gluten-removed. 

Even those that don’t have a problem digesting gluten can still follow a gluten free diet for its health benefits.

Following a strict gluten free diet has many advantages such as:  

  • Less bloating 
  • You’ll have more energy 
  • Helps with anaemia 

Final Thoughts 

As the demand for more gluten free products increases, so does the availability. This leads to breweries trying various methods to improve the taste of gluten free beer options. 

So, enjoy what’s on offer and relax with a drink in hand!

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