What’s the difference between Bud Light and having sex in a kayak? They’re both f*cking close to water. 🙂
In this episode, we’re talking beer. More specifically, the difference between gluten-free beer (good) and gluten-removed beer (bad.) Listen in as Gluten Dude talks a bit about his own beer journey, both before and after celiac disease, and explains the BS behind gluten-removed beer. So belly on up to the bar, grab a cold one and enjoy.
Today, on Dear Gluten Dude, we are talking about beer. And specifically, whether gluten removed beer is the same as gluten free beer and is it safe people with celiac disease. Without further ado, let’s head to the inbox.
Hey, dude, I am pretty new to this celiac thing. And back before I got diagnosed, I loved beer. I have tried a couple of beers on the market. One of them was called Omission and I got really sick afterwards. And then I saw that they are not gluten free, but gluten removed. But a lot of the research I did said it is still safe to drink if you have celiac disease. So what is the deal? Are they safe? Are they not? Please guide me. I’m thirsty.
I remember being maybe eight to 12 years old. And we had a nice little corner property with a pretty decent sized backyard. And in the summertime my dad would always be out there doing yard work, mowing the lawn, clipping, weeding till obviously, I get old enough to help him. But back in the day, he always had a beer in his hand. And he always had a Black Label beer in his hand. I’m not sure black label is even around anymore made by a company called Carling. Orange can with a black label, hence the Black Label name I guess.
But every once a while, he’d say Hey, Scott, you want a sip? And I would taste this nectar. And two things. I thought man, this tastes kind of weird. I’m not sure why he drinks it. But also I felt like kind of a grown up. So it’s kind of cool. I feel pretty grown up, not knowing what alcohol even was the time or what it did to your system. It turns out it doesn’t do good things to our system if you drink too much of it, which led to my dad’s early death at age 67. Rest in peace, love you.
Fast forward to seventh grade. I’m at a middle school party. And Bill Reeves offers me a beer, a Miller nip. Now I’m not sure if you guys remember what nips are. They were basically seven ounce beers that came in 8 packs. So he offered me a miller Highlife seven ounce nip. And that was the first beer I ever had on my own. And you know, your seventh grade, youthink it’s kind of cool. But again, I didn’t really understand that much what I was doing.
Fast forward to high school. We had the usual beer parties and drank some Budweiser here and there and had some good times. Go to college and it’s really all about, looking back sadly, but all about drinking the cheapest beer and as much of it as possible on the weekends and yes, sometimes even during the week. Unhealthy god. I’m not sure why we did that to our bodies. Anyway. After graduation, I started becoming a bit of a beer snob. I started tasting microbrews and IPAs and double IPAs and started really, really enjoying just sipping a nice beer.
And then celiac disease happened. And I was just like, I can’t drink beer ever again. You’ve got to be kidding me. So I did what I had to do. I just you know, had the occasional cocktail here and there. But then one night I was at PF Changs and I saw they had a gluten free beer. It was called Redbridge made by Anheuser Busch. So I said, Oh man, I’ll have a Redbridge. So I tasted the Redbridge, and it was the last Redbridge I ever had. Then maybe a little bit later I tried Bards and sorry Mr. Bards but I thought that was awful, too. And then you had some companies come out that started making gluten free beer that tastes good. The first one I had was new planet, which I liked a lot. Sadly, new planet now makes gluten free beer and gluten removed beer, which means I won’t drink new planet anymore. But then more and more companies started coming out with these amazing high quality Gluten free beers.
But the question is, what is the difference between gluten free beer and glue removed beer? Well, it basically comes down to profit over people. Gluten Free beer is basically what it sounds like. It’s beer made with zero gluten ingredients and a dedicated gluten free factory. And the list of beers I just mentioned, they are all 100% gluten free. Gluten removed beer, on the other hand, uses a proprietary process where they use gluten containing grains usually barley, and they brew the beer. And then they use an enzyme, which theoretically removes enough of the gluten out. So the final product is below 20 parts per million. The problem is it’s not scientifically valid, and has been proven over and over again, not to work on a consistent basis, which is why they are not allowed to call themselves gluten free. They have to call themselves gluten removed on their packaging, at least in some countries. I’m not sure this is worldwide or not, or even nationwide, god forbid.
So the question is, why do they do it? And how do they get away with it? And are they lying to us? So why do they do it? I like to think it wasn’t just for selfish reasons and that the people who started these gluten removed companies and I’ll just call out to the most popular ones is Omission and Daura. They’re both gluten removed beers and very popular. A lot of bars stocked them unfortunately, selling them as gluten free beers drives me crazy makes me so angry. Are they lying to us? Well, here is a little tidbit from the Omission website. They say every batch of Omission is tested for gluten content both in house and by an independent lab using the R5 competitive ELISA testing method. They say to date, every batch has been reduced to levels below 20 parts per million. And you can view your bottles test results using the date code stamp on the back of every bottle of Omission.
Yet, they have a disclaimer, a government disclaimer on the bottom of the website that says beer fermented from barley a grain containing gluten and crafted to remove this gluten, the gluten content of this beer cannot be verified. And this beer may contain gluten.
So go back to the previous paragraph where they say every beer has been tested and is below 20 parts per million. And this one saying the gluten content of this beer cannot be verified. And this beer may contain gluten. So how do those two comments sync up? They don’t. And that’s why pisses me off that they’re still in the market. And you go to the grocery store and there’s a gluten free section of beer. There’s like 1000 cases of Omission, 500 cases of Daura and maybe one six pack of like Glutenberg or or another one of those beers. Now some of you may be saying, well, gluten dude, you have very strong opinions. But why should we trust you that this is not scientifically valid and that these beaters are dangerous for those with celiac disease?
I have written a lot about beer on my website. And I’ve been very consistent in my feelings about gluten removed beer. Here are two examples to back my feelings. Example number: one there’s a brewing company called Hepworth and they’ve been around since 2001. And they decided to delve into the gluten free beer market. But instead of course doing gluten free beer, they did gluten removed beers and made a big announcement saying we’re proud to announce a launch a range of beers which will delight beer lovers who are gluten intolerant or suffer celiac disease. They say traditional malting and brewing methods when employed meticulously result in the breakdown of the protein and then find filtration removes any residue. The result is an authentic craft beer gluten free traditionally brewed with no compromise on quality, taste or strength. And I think you can see where this is going. In 2017, soom after they announced the gluten free beer, they had a huge recall. And do you know why? Yep, cause excessive levels of gluten.
Here’s the official statement. Bottles of old classic old ale with a best before date of 820 2018 have shown a higher than expected level of gluten. Accordingly we are recalling this batch of beer as it is not gluten free. We apologize but I assure you that the beer in all other respects is a very acceptable brew. Still, the ex can expect the next batch to be up to our usual standards. Well pardon my French, but fuck them. Let’s break their announcement down a bit. First, they called their beer gluten free when it’s not. And then they fuck up an entire batch putting the celiac community at serious risk. And then they say the batch in all other respects is a very acceptable brew. I don’t even know what that means. Then they tell the community “Hey, no worries, you can still trust us, we’ll be using the same shitty process, but it’ll never happened again, I promise.” I don’t know how these folks sleep with themselves or go to bed at night, or look at their spouses in the eyes. If I produced something that got people with an autoimmune disease Ill I could never produce that same product again, unless I made wholesale changes within the company. But hey, maybe I’m just different that way.
And example number two, this was back a couple of years ago. There’s a new test out that can actually reveal gluten in gluten removed beer. A researcher with a government run Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Australia thinks there’s a better way to protect those with celiac disease. She demonstrated that in a paper in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, where she reports detecting gluten in a dozen beers labeled gluten reduced with a new kind of tests called called LC-MS. In her experiments, all of the beers she tested have been rated by their makers to have less than 20 parts per million of gluten. But guess what? She found detectable gluten fragments in every sample using the LC-MS and most of them had much higher levels of gluten than 20 parts per million. She says the enzyme treatment used to remove gluten does not seem to be working consistently. So you 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.
I will say this over and over again. Do not consume gluten removed beers; please stop giving them your business. If we stopped supporting them, they’d stop making gluten removed beers and the true gluten free brewmasters will even get more of the market share, and they’ll continue to keep us safe. And isn’t that what having Celiac disease is all about?
That my friends puts wrap it on episode 13 of Dear Gluten Dude. And speaking of beer, the Gluten Dude app has a section called Let’s Drink. It lists over 10,000 locations where you can find true gluten free beer. You know all those gluten free beer companies I listed a few minutes ago? They’re all on the app. So please download the app. Take a look at it, support small businesses and support the community. And that’s all I have to say about that. Til next time, folks. Thank you so much.
2 thoughts on “What’s the deal with gluten-removed beer? Is it celiac safe?”
Great episode! Always entertaining, but especially educating on this very confusing issue for the community. I added a link to this podcast episode in my Gluten Free Beer Tasting Notes post where I also link to all the research (some of which you also cited!) … further proving your point!
We’re a good team Jules 🙂