Gluten-free beer…or not

You know what celiac disease is, right? People who suffer from it are basically allergic to gluten, a protein that’s found in lots of grains, including barley. That’s why in the last few years there’s been a growing line of gluten-free beers available. Brewers of all stripes from Anheuser-Busch to Dogfish Head to small regional brewers are making gluten-free beer.

The challenge has been finding a good replacement for barley. Malted barley is one of the most basic ingredients of beer so taking it out of the recipe can be challenging. Sorghum is a poplar alternative but the resulting beer just doesn’t quite taste like beer. Even so, it’s better than nothing.

Beer lovers with celiac disease have been glad to see the growing number of gluten free beers on the market. They don’t have quite the same selection as regular barley beer in terms of style and quality. However, a new study that came out last month just might ruin the party.

The specific type of gluten found in barley is called hordein. For some reason it’s difficult to test for gluten in malted products so some brewers. Negative or inconclusive results have led some brewers to believe that the brewing process removes some if not all of the gluten from the final beer. However, in this study researchers found that testing specifically for hordein revealed significant amounts of gluten in regular beer and even a couple of the “gluten free” beers

Kinda makes you wonder about all those light and low carb beers, doesn’t it?

One Comment on "Gluten-free beer…or not"

  1. Brian from Bard's January 19, 2012 at 12:44 pm - Reply

    Malted barley is an important part of the brewing process and adds flavor, color and aroma to traditional beer. Of all the gluten-free beers, only Bard’s malts the sorghum for the same reasons – flavor, color and aroma. We developed a beer that everyone will enjoy, gluten-intolerant or not.

    And, it is gluten-free as our ingredients are sorghum, hops, yeast and water.

    We are now in 43 U. S. States and 5 Provinces in Canada.

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