Gluten-Removed Beer

While I never developed a taste for beer, and therefore have never craved a gluten-free beer, there are many hops lovers who need to stick to the gluten-free diet. One such imbiber is Joe Casey, a “brewmaster” at Widmer, who has been spending years testing beer recipes that he and his fellow gluten-intolerant wife could safely drink.

Being a bit of a beer connoisseur, Casey was tired of the “beers” brewed with gluten- free sorghum grains that are frequently substituted for barley, but leave beers with a bit of a sour after-taste. Casey decided to experiment with a new technique – rather than brewing with gluten-free grains, he would see if he and his wife could tolerate beer that was brewed traditionally with barley, but then remove the gluten from the beer. After getting the nod from his gluten-free wife and beer-loving boss, Casey is lobbying to get his gluten-removed brew on the market.

His greatest obstacle? Federal alcohol regulations. Much to the appreciation of celiac beer-drinkers and frustration of Craft Brew Company, they are barred from calling this “gluten-removed” beer “gluten-free” as it is misleading to consumers. Casey is seeking to sell his celiac-friendly beer to the gluten intolerant community. Unfortunately, based on scientific analysis, tiny traces of gluten have been detected in the beer.

What do you think? Is this beer gluten-free or gluten-removed?


4 thoughts on “Gluten-Removed Beer”

  1. i’ve tried omission and estella daura, both of which use the “gluten removed” method and unfortunately i still get a reaction from both. the research i’ve read indicates the elisa test isn’t great at detecting gluten in solution (e.g. – floating in a beer) which may be why the use of “brewer’s clarex” (likely the method employed by both of the above) to remove gluten probably doesn’t work inasmuch as the test just doesn’t show the gluten present in the beer. that said, part of the reason some people don’t have a reaction may be that some gluten filled beers don’t have a ridiculous amount of gluten in them — certainly more than 20ppm but not as much as eating a cracker or slice of bread. for those who are “intolerant” some light beers might not bother them although i don’t know many people who have reactions who want to volunteer to be test dummies.

    in summary, some beers might not bother those with “gluten intolerance” whether the gluten is “removed” or not, as a lot of beers don’t have as much gluten as a cracker or bread. however, for those people who have celiac or a strong reaction to smaller amounts (still greater than 20ppm) these “gluten removed” beers still cause a reaction as it’s not so much that gluten is being removed as it is the test not seeing it.

  2. Badly written article. Omission has been on the market for over a year, at least in the north west USA. “Unfortunately, based on scientific analysis, tiny traces of gluten have been detected in the beer” – less than 20 ppm as far as I am aware, which is what the FDA will soon recognize as gluten free. I am celiac and drink this with no effects apart from being happy I can drink a great tasting beer.

  3. I’m in agreement about the sorghum-based beers… I’ve often said: “Close one eye and it reminds you of beer”, especially when consumed as a post lawn mowing redydrator. The gluten removed beers are much better, albeit they suffer a watery consistency as the dextrines seem to be filtered out with the gluten. Daura was in my local grocery recently to my surprise and delight. The trendy pubs are losing their latest distinguishment and we’ll be relegated to swilling on our back porches again… which is what we really wanted, anyway.

  4. I have been Gluten-Free since 2008. I have had several really bad eating episodes since. Once was from a supposedly gluten-free dressing, another from a certified GF turkey, but which was roasted with dressing inside, etc., and once from Jack Daniels which I was told was GF. I do get minor rashes from time to time from various things.

    I never had a problem with Omissions or Daura which is my beer of choice. Daura used to CLAIM less than 6ppm gluten which is way less than the so-called FDA standard of 20ppm.

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