Gluten-Free Beer in the News: Whats New in Gluten-Free Beer - Less Twang

Greg Kitsock, editor of the Mid Atlantic Brewing News, just wrote a great article about gluten-free beer in the Washington Post. He covered a lot of the issues we’ve been discussing on this blog, and we wanted to give to a brief analysis of the article. We highly encourage you to check it out.

Key Takeaways

  1. Gluten intolerance and Celiac disease is a large and growing problem: Kitsock points out that 1 in 133 Americans live with Celiac disease. We’ll discuss this figure and this growing issue in future posts.
  2. There is a wide range of potential gluten-free ingredients for use in brewing: He specifically mentions millet, buckwheat, rice, tapioca, honey, quinoa, and chestnuts. You can read more about these in our post about gluten free ingredients from a while back.
  3. Though there is a lot potential, only a few breweries are rising to the challenge of brewing gluten-free beer: Redbridge, New Grist, Harvester, New Planet, Dogfish Head, and Green’s are all named specifically as offering gluten-free beers. We discussed these breweries, and more, in our post last week about other gluten-free beer options. Kitsock also mentions a few pioneering brewpubs such as the Goose Island Brewpub in Chicago, which brews a beer from quinoa, and the Rock Bottom Brewery in Arlington, which offers Nikki’s Gluten Free Honey Pale Ale.
  4. Gluten-free beer in kegs is still relatively uncommon due to health concerns: Kitsock aptly points out that running gluten-free kegs on taps that also run regular beers creates risk of cross-contamination. We’ll be examining issues surrounding cross-contamination in future posts.
  5. Omission Brewery is currently having trouble exporting their beer out of Oregon: Besides facing the gluten-free regulatory hurdles we’ve examined, it sounds like Omission is also having trouble with the TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau) regarding their labeling and sales out of state. We’re not sure, but this may go back to the fact that they’re brewed with barley, which we talked about in one of our first posts. We’ve heard rumors that there will be a ruling on this issue by the end of the year, and we sincerely hope it’s resolved soon.
  6. Beer is a connector: In the words of Craft Brew Alliance CEO Terry Michaelson, “Beer in our society is a connector, something for sitting down with friends and laughing and sharing.” We wholeheartedly agree, which is why we’re brewing a beer that can be enjoyed by all, not just the gluten-free among us.

We highly encourage you to check out Greg Kitsock’s article in the Washington Post if you want to learn more. And let us know what you think by posting a comment below!