Gluten-free beer, anyone?

By Mina Radman • Published: March 15th, 2013
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

If you’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, chances are you might want to indulge in a glass or two of beer today. But what do you do if you’re sensitive to gluten?

As the number of people who develop gluten intolerance, allergies or celiac disease increases, so does the market for gluten-free products. More of these products are popping up on grocery store shelves and restaurants than ever before, and manufacturers keep finding new ways to substitute gluten-filled ingredients like wheat and barley.

And now, the demand for gluten-free products has made its way to the beer industry, too. Beer is made up of four ingredients: water, yeast, malt and hops. Malt is full of gluten, which means that beer lovers who are diagnosed with a gluten allergy, intolerance or celiac disease should not consume the beverage. Several breweries across the nation are working to create gluten-free beers to help this growing consumer base, and people who aren’t allergic to gluten but are following a gluten-free diet may be interested in these adult beverages, too.

A brewery in Vermont created a gluten-free beer using sorghum (sore-gum), a cereal-crop used in a lot of gluten-free baking. The crop is high in fiber, iron and protein.

Another company uses chestnuts as a substitute for wheat and barley in their brews.

Other popular ingredients in gluten-free beers are rice and millet, another cereal-crop. These ingredients are often used alongside sorghum.

No studies have been done to see if gluten-free beer is healthier than regular beers, but these options make life a little easier for people who cannot, or do not want to consume gluten.

Even though these beers aren’t made with wheat, they do contain a similar alcohol content, so drink responsibly.