The scene: In line to get into a poetry slam the Nuyorican Café, New York’s Lower East Side. Dusk is falling.
The actors: myself and 2 of my friends. We’re 16. We’re VERY 16.
One of my friends was feeling nervous. This was no N’SYNC concert. We were clearly the youngest, whitest, suburbanest people in line.
I had the answer: she clearly needed an alcoholic beverage.
Nevermind that I’d never had a drink before, nor that I definitely did not look 21. I marched resolutely into the nearest bodega and emerged triumphantly, a single Mike’s Hard Lemonade in a brown paper bag in my hands.
We reveled in our illicit ways. The evening was a resounding success. The Mike’s tasted fine, I’m sure. Not long after I found out I had celiac disease, though, and so I never drank one again.
Apparently, this was an unnecessary precaution. I was reading this press release about a new, low-calorie Mike’s Hard Lemonade and came across this nugget of information:
In addition to the breakthrough taste, mike’s lite hard lemonade® and mike’s lite hard cranberry lemonade® are gluten-free. Both products have tested below the limit of quantification for gluten using a variety of highly sensitive tests – a result of Mike’s Hard Lemonade Co.’s proprietary filtration process that renders the malt base gluten-free. For more information, visit the “Talk to Us” section of www.mikeshard.com.
Since this was news to me, I thought it might be news to you all as well. I’m not terribly surprised – just as most naturally-fermented soy sauce actually tests well under the 20ppm gluten threshold, many beers test lower on the threshold than people realize.
The reason is hydrolization; because of the way the final product – soy sauce or beer in these cases – is made, the gluten in the raw ingredients often gets so broken down that it isn’t toxic (or AS toxic) as it would normally be. Testing to see if something is gluten-free or not is a complicated process with a big gray area, but the science has come a long way over the past 10 years and we’re now much more knowledgable about which parts of the gluten molecule are actually toxic to celiacs.
Now, just because Mike’s is gluten-free doesn’t automatically mean that any other Mike’s-like beverage is safe. But I’m curious: have you had a Mike’s Hard Lemonade since going gluten-free? If so, were you glutened?