Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Gluten Free Tuesday!

One of the most frequent laments I hear from people recently diagnosed with Celiac disease or a gluten intolerance-- aside from believing they will never be able to enjoy Italian again-- is that they won't be able to enjoy an ice cold beer without subjecting themselves to the associated discomforts inherent to the intolerance. And I am happy to tell these people that not only can they have their beloved pastas and pizzas, they can have their beers too. Main stream breweries are developing gluten-free (GF) options and restaurants are catching on to the importance of carrying beers so their GF patrons are not limited in their drink selections while out with their friends and families. Click "more" for some yummy options for you that, while they are not available at Food for Thought, are available in Wichita. 

One of the most popular GF beers is Redbridge by Anheuser Busch. Redbridge is made from sorghum and, as long as it's cold, tastes just like the light wheat and barley beers most of us are accustomed to. If you are looking for a really strong hoppy taste, you will probably be disappointed, but if you're just looking for a beer to grab at the end of the day to unwind, instead of something the really sip and savor, you will be perfectly satisfied. Another plus for this beer? It's sold at Old Chicago!

Bard's Tale Beer: Dragon's Gold is a golden lager craft beer. It is the first GF sorghum beer made in the United States. It was developed by two "run-of-the-mill beer enthusiast" guys that were later diagnosed with Celiac. The company does a wonderful job to ensure that there is no cross-contamination between the sorghum used in their beer and gluten-containing grains at any point. The beer is unique in that the sorghum is malted (something the competitors don't do). As an added bonus, Bard's Tale Beer only makes GF beer!

The beer I am most anxious to try is New Grist Ale by Lakefront Brewery out of Milwaukee. The brewery started in 1987 and all of their beverages have won a slew of awards. What has made me a supporter of this brewery is that unlike other companies with a GF beer, Lakefront has a long history (well, as long as a 23 year old company can have) of being environmentally friendly and, believe it or not, organic. In 1996, Lakefront brewed and labeled the first certified organic beer in the US- Lakefront Organic E.S.B. (extra special bitter). Lakefront in now in a partnership with local farmers to have their hops organically grown in the area so they don't have to import from New Zealand. 10 years later, New Grist was created. It is brewed from sorghum, hops, water, rice and GF yeast grown on molasses... Yum! And finally, in 2007, Lakefront Brewery became the first business in Milwaukee to receive certification from Travel Green Wisconsin (something given to tourism-related businesses that are reducing their environmental impact). Even better, if you are in the area and want to check out the brewery, they have tours every day!
I wish I could list out all of the GF beers I have discovered and learned about, but luckily for us, Gluten Free Passport did that for us! The beers I shared are all national, but there are several available from countries across the globe as well (Silly Yak out of Australia caught my eye). Just remember to keep an open mind, and palate, remember that most of these are going to be lighter beers, and enjoy the new experience! And, of course, if you have any questions, come in to the store and ask any of our staff!

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