bottoms up

Will Gluten-Free Beer Turn Me Into a Beer Lover?

Only one way to find out!

I firmly believe that there’s a perfect drink for just about any occasion. The first warm day of spring? That right there calls for a crisp rosé. A chilly evening spent cuddling on the couch sounds like a great time to reach for the whiskey and whip up a hot toddy. And a sweltering summer night calls for a tart margarita, in my opinion. The one thing I never find myself reaching for, however, is beer. Whether hoppy or wheat-forward, I typically find myself experiencing an immediate discomfort from the frothy drink. Despite its low price point and reliability, whenever I’m presented with the choice between wine, beer, or something harder, I’ll almost never choose a beer. Between the bloating and the burping, I just never think of drinking beer as “worth it.”

I’ve never before had an issue with wheat products (though I’ve a bevy of other food allergies), but I started wondering—could gluten be my enemy when it comes to beer? I decided to investigate. The influx of gluten-free products over the years has been a windfall for those who’ve suffered from Celiac disease, dermatitis herpetiformis, and other gluten-sensitivity disorders. But as a.) I do not suffer from any of these issues and b.) my love of bread rivals only Oprah’s, I’ve never had to go out of my way to try many of these GF products. The few I have actually tried—from gluten-free puff pastry to pizza—have always varied in terms of taste and texture from their glutinous counterparts. I was concerned this might be the case with gluten-free beer.

Enter: Omission Brewing Company. The beers from this company are different than your typical gluten-free products that are crafted from alternative grains. It is made much in the same way as traditional beer, but goes through a proprietary brewing program using the R5 Competitive ELISA gluten test, a trusted test amongst those suffering from Celiac. The beer is then tested by two independent labs (and internally at the brewery) to ensure that gluten levels in every batch are reduced to well below the Codex standard of 20 parts per million (ppm) or less. Translation: these beers are ideal for anyone looking to avoid or cut back on their gluten consumption.

Joe Casey, the “Brewmaster” of Omission Brewing, had worked for years with The Widmer Brothers Brewing, a craft beer brewery in Portland, Oregon. When his wife was diagnosed with Celiac disease in the early 2000s, he set out to “brew a craft beer that my wife and I could enjoy.” The company makes an “Ultimate Light,”an IPA, a Pale Ale, and a Lager.

I tried the Omission Lager, an award-winning beer that I happily didn’t find lacking in the taste department. What’s more, it was easy drinking. I definitely noticed less of that full feeling I usually get from one swig of beer. Whether that was from the gluten-free nature or something else is up for debate, but I was happy to drink this beer—a new experience for me. At 4.6% ABV, I got a decent buzz on. Omission refers to this beer as “approachable” and I’d certainly agree with that—even my beer-snob of a boyfriend thought the beer tasted great.

It’s important to note that this beer is fermented from barley, a grain containing gluten, and while it’s crafted to remove the protein, the gluten content of this beer cannot be verified, so if you do suffer from Celiac that is something to consider. The company has a really neat testing system, though, where you can check each batch’s gluten peptide content. But if you’re less concerned about wreaking havoc on your immune system and, like me, are simply looking for a little more brew and a little less belching, I say try this beer.


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