Rob Hill: Hi! Rob Hill here, Certified Cicerone with Total Wine & More. With the tremendous growth in flavorful craft beer in the US has come a greater awareness that beer unfortunately is off the list of beverages being enjoyed by people with celiac disease or general gluten sensitivity or who voluntarily pursue a gluten free diet.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Barley is a core beer ingredient, wheat is integral to wheat beers and brewers are using rye more and more for its spicy character. This makes it impossible for gluten sufferers to ever enjoy beer, right?
Well, I have great news, thats not true. The solution? Gluten free beers. Gluten free beer is not new, yet increasing interest in demand is spawning the introduction of new selections providing consumers more flavors and choices.
How can beer be gluten free? It is through the complete elimination of barley and wheat and rye from the brewing ingredients. Instead brewers typically use sorghum or sorghum syrup or rice or millet all gluten free grains to provide the brewing sugars needed by yeast for fermentation.
The resulting beers can be labeled gluten free under the Tax and Trade Bureau Regulations. Brewers venues hops, fruit and other gluten free ingredients for flavor and balance. Some beers that are brewed using barley are especially made to remove gluten through methods that break down the gluten proteins. While testing shows these gluten removed beers contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten, the FDA threshold, they cannot be labeled gluten free in the US as barley is a prohibited grain under the FDA gluten free labeling rule.
These beers are manufactured to remove gluten, but if you are a gluten sufferer note that these are often referred to as low gluten beers and may contain trace amounts of gluten.
The bottom line, more and more gluten free and low gluten beers are now available. You can add beer to your list of beverages to enjoy freely gluten free.