Oddly enough (or not), the first thing many people panic about when they learn they can no longer have gluten is not being able to drink alcohol. Now, of course, there are alcohol beverages which are naturally gluten-free, like Tequila (made from agave), Vodka (made from potatoes), and Wine (made from fruit). Now, these are LOGICAL conclusions, but there are of course manufacturers out there who may add gluten to these to make the processing more cost-effective. So it is always important to check the labels. You can find a pretty comprehensive list of gluten-free alcohol, including specific brands, at urban tastebud.
It was interesting to see a few different alcoholic beverage choices at the Gluten Free and Allergy Friendly Expo. It hadn’t occurred to me since I’m also allergic to alcohol. Now, what I found most curious about these beverages is that they don’t claim to be gluten-free, they list themselves as “crafted to remove gluten.” What the heck does that mean, we ask?
A brewery called “Glutiny” had the best, most concise explanation:
“A gluten-free beer is one produced using gluten-free raw materials like sorghum, rice, corn and millet. Beer produced using gluten-containing raw materials like wheat, barley and rye cannot be labeled as “gluten-free.” The FDA and TTB state that, in absence of a scientifically valid testing method (which they say does not currently exist), one cannot substantiate a gluten-free claim for a malt beverage that is crafted to remove gluten. However, if a malt beverage starts with gluten-containing raw materials and has been crafted to remove gluten, the designation “crafted to remove gluten” may be used, with qualification that the gluten content cannot be verified and the product may contain gluten. At New Belgium, our beers start with barley malt and have been “crafted to remove gluten” through the utilization of an enzyme (Brewers ClarexTM) capable of breaking gluten proteins down into small fragments.”
If you want, you can read more about this in a thoughtful article in Philadelphia Magazine.
Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.
At the Expo, I noticed Daura Damm, claiming to be “awarded the World’s Best crafted to remove gluten beer.” They are located in Barcelona, Spain, and offered three different flavors: Lager, Natural Lemon and Lime Flavored, and one that comes in a red package. I’m no beer expert, sorry!
Mike’s Hard Lemonade was also at the Expo, touting their special filtration process which, as they state, “as a by-product of the rigorous filtration process, gluten is naturally removed. … Our products are tested by an independent agency to confirm gluten has been removed to less than 5 parts per million…” You can find more information about this on their FAQ Page.
As always, just check your labeling to be sure you’re safe.
Now, of course, I do not have free samples of gluten-free booze for you, however, I do have two Mike’s cozies for you. If you’d like one, just comment below and I’ll put your name in the gluten-free bucket to win. US addresses only, please.