Beer lovers rejoice!
We always have a lot of questions about gluten free beer, how is it made and can people with coeliac disease or gluten intolerance drink it? We asked David Ware, Director at Green’s Gluten Free Beers to tell us his experience and share his expertise.
Can coeliacs drink gluten free beer?
As anybody familiar with Green’s Beers knows, we only make gluten free beers. Doing a lot of food, drink and dietary fairs, we know what it means to the people who come and speak to us. We meet lots of people who have coeliac disease, non-coeliac gluten intolerance, any number of auto-immune disorders where gluten causes inflammation and people who actively limit the amount of gluten containing foods because they “just feel better without it”.
Since Green’s began in 2004, we’ve loved helping anybody who’s interested in making lifestyle changes. We’ve been there to give help and guidance about gluten, diet and obviously beer! A worrying trend that we’ve seen since we started to promote gluten free beer, however, is that people with gluten-related diagnoses are getting mixed advice from some healthcare professionals. Lots of people come to us and say “I’ve been told to avoid all beers, even gluten free”, which in the case of lots of Green’s beers, is wrong!
If you look at most other gluten free beer, the advice is understandable. In Europe, there are two types of gluten free beer, Gluten Free and Gluten Removed, both sold as Gluten Free.
How is gluten removed from beer?
Any beer can become a Gluten Removed beer. The process is simple to explain; malted barley is boiled with hops to create a standard beer. The gluten proteins go from the barley into the final brew, but before the beer is put into keg or bottle, an enzyme is added to the beer that breaks up the long protein strains. The idea is that because the gluten proteins are much shorter, they’re too short to cause a reaction in the body and are therefore the beer doesn’t contain any gluten.
The problem for some coeliacs is that the short proteins that are left aren’t actually removed from the beer and can still cause a reaction. A lot of healthcare professionals know that this can still be the case and advise everybody to avoid beer at all costs. There are lots and lots of people who still fancy a pint who end up as not entirely happy cider drinkers, just because they know it’s gluten free!
Naturally gluten free beer & ancient grains
The welcome news for beer fans who need to avoid gluten is that Green’s beers are different. Our very first beer, the Amber, as well as our more recent IPA, Dry-Hopped Lager, Dubbel and Tripel are made from naturally gluten free Ancient Grains. Because the grains don’t contain any gluten, the final beer is also naturally gluten free, meaning they can be drunk safely even by those with the highest sensitivity to gluten.
Here at Green’s, we also have a range of gluten removed beers, as well as our naturally gluten free. Most other breweries only use the enzymes to remove gluten in the final stage of the process, but Green’s remove the gluten from the mix much further up the line, as well as using an enzymic process in the final stages.
It’s understandable that healthcare professionals may think that all gluten free beers are actually gluten removed, but it’s not the case! With the rise in awareness of coeliac disease, many people are finding that their favourite products are still available made with naturally gluten free alternatives – which includes Green’s! As we become more aware of the effect that gluten has on some people, then surely we should update our advice to keep newly diagnosed beer drinkers happy!
Find out more about Green’s Gluten Free Beers
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