So I’ve written about beer a lot on my little website here. Search for beer on my site (https://glutendude.com/?s=beer) and you’ll find lots and lots of articles. You may say I have a writing about drinking problem. (Get it? Instead of a drinking problem? My problem is that I WRITE about drinking too much?? Look…if I have to explain.)
So why do I talk about beer a lot? Well…one, I miss it. I was a beer snob when I got diagnosed in 2007 so that was a punch to the gut…and sure pun intended. My first time eating out after my diagnosis, I went to PF Chang’s (here is why I stopped going there) and saw they had gluten-free beer. What??? It was called Red Bridge and it was made by Anheuser-Busch. I took a sip and it…um…it….uh….it…um…didn’t taste good. That was my first and last Red Bridge. Then I saw Bard’s in the store and tried that. Sorry Mr. Bard…but hated it.
But then something happened. Something quite magical. Quality gluten-free beer started being produced by brewers who knew what they were doing and who actually gave a shit. It was slow. New Planet at first. I liked it. Didn’t love, but a step up. But now? My oh my…a bevy of quality gluten-free beers on the market. Granted…not always easy to find but when you do…savor it. My favorites? Ground Breaker, Glutenberg, Ghostfish and Holidaily. All exceptional and I tip my cap to the brew masters.
What about Omission and Daura?
Now…you may be wondering why I haven’t mentioned two of the beers most of you probably see the most marketed as gluten-free: Omission and Daura. Why didn’t I mention them? BECAUSE THEY’RE NOT GLUTEN-FREE!
For those new to the ball game, there are beers that are gluten-free, using all gluten-free ingredients and produced in a facility where there is no chance of gluten getting anywhere near the beer. And then there are beers that are gluten-REMOVED. Gluten-removed beer actually uses gluten ingredients (usually barley) and through a method that is not scientifically valid, they say enough gluten is removed to get it under 20ppm. But like I said, it’s not valid. The FDA even agrees and does not allow gluten-removed beer to be labeled gluten-free.
Now the gluten-removed beer companies will tell you that their product is completely safe for those with celiac disease. And sadly, a lot of people in the celiac community are either unaware that their beers are actually not gluten-free, or don’t care because “they wouldn’t lie to me.”
What sucks is that the ELISA test, a mechanism used to test for gluten in food products, was not made for testing gluten in beer. So basically…the gluten-removed companies are saying “Trust Us”.
New test reveals gluten in gluten-removed beer
Which leads us to analytical chemist Michelle Colgrave. Colgrave, a researcher with the government-run Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia, thinks there’s a better way to protect those with celiac. She demonstrated that in a paper in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, where she reports detecting gluten in a dozen beers labelled gluten-reduced with a new kind of test, called LC-MS.
Got that everyone. The method companies like Omission and Daura use do not work consistently. So from a celiac point of view, they don’t work at all.
Please get the word out: People with celiac disease should not be drinking gluten-reduced beer.
And a plea to the companies running the gluten-free exhibitions around the country: Stop inviting these companies to your exhibits. Please! Something tells me it will fall on deaf ear$.
And one end note: As of late 2017, LC-MS has not been validated by the government agencies around the world that regulate food safety. But still, I’m putting my trust in science before I put in companies who are putting profit over people.