For health reasons, people around the world have had to say no to delicious craft beer. Typically beers contain gluten as the main grains used for making a beer contain gluten. Luckily, breweries have started to look out for people with gluten intolerance so they would not be left out. After many experiments, gluten-free beers have seen big progress in taste, and gluten-free beers are now being invited to the party. That is great news for people who cannot consume gluten, as now you can enjoy one of the most popular alcoholic beverages in the world!
If you have gluten intolerance or need to cut down on gluten, read on to learn more about gluten-free beers. We will discuss:
- What is gluten
- Gluten intolerance
- What is gluten-free beer
- What is gluten-removed beer
- Best gluten-free Belgian beers
- Homebrewing gluten-free beer
What is gluten?
Gluten is proteins that are found in wheat, rye, barley, oats and triticale. If you know how beer is made, you’ll notice that the first grains are the most common grains used for making beer. Wheat is used in making wheat beer, and barley can be found in malt. Gluten is beneficial in food as it acts as a glue and gives food its shape. However, it is not an essential ingredient in brewing. Gluten is mainly in beer because of the grains used to make it, but there are plenty of alternatives that do not contain gluten.
Intolerance to gluten causes celiac disease, which leads to digestive disorders and damages the small intestine. People with celiac disease also have trouble processing calcium, vitamin B and iron. That can further cause other deficiencies. Nevertheless, gluten intolerance is rather common around the world.
Studies have revealed that due to environmental changes, gluten intolerance is rising. About 0.5-1% of the adult population is affected by gluten intolerance worldwide. Around 1-2% of the population of Belgium is struggling with this autoimmune disease. In France, more than 150,000 people are intolerant to gluten.
So why should we not make more gluten-free beers?
But what exactly are gluten-free beers, and how are they made?
Gluten-free beers are beers made with grains that do not contain gluten. For example, some of these grains are rice, buckwheat, sorghum, quinoa, millet, gluten-free oats, and maize. Using different grains will alter the brewing process, and the result is a beer with a slightly different taste than regular beer with gluten. Some gluten-free beers are sweeter or less carbonated. Beers made with buckwheat do not have a firm foam.
Even if gluten-free beers may taste a bit different, there are plenty of new gluten-free beers in the market where you can find a beer that suits your taste.
Some brewers have continued to use grains that contain gluten, but the gluten is removed during production. If you are very sensitive to gluten, you need to know that small parts of gluten may still be inside those beers. Thus beers, where gluten is removed, may not be completely safe for people with celiac disease. They can work for people who need to cut down gluten consumption.
The process of removing gluten from beer is using enzymes that break down gluten into smaller fragments. That is to avoid inducing an immune reaction. The downside of this is that there still does not exist a method to accurately test gluten levels in beers. Thus, to be completely safe, stick with gluten-free beers.
Best gluten-free Belgian beers
Here are some of the best gluten-free Belgian beers you can try out now!
- Caulier gluten free IPA, a beer with a nice balance between bitterness and sweetness.
- Caulier gluten free Blonde, classical blonde style beer.
- Caulier gluten free Triple is great if you are looking for something strong.
- Caulier gluten free Tradition is another blonde-style beer but biological.
One of the biggest selections of gluten-free beers comes from brewery 28.
Brewing gluten-free beers at home
If you don’t want to rely on breweries or would like to make your beer, you can even brew gluten-free beer at home. All you need is the right gluten-free ingredients and learn how to brew beer at home!
Even if the taste and aromas of gluten-free beers are slightly different and beers where gluten is removed do not guarantee to be completely gluten-free, the future of gluten-free beer seems promising. Some brewers are experimenting with making the strongest beers and others the bitterest beers, but many are also working on improving their gluten-free beer selection. Thus, there are only more and more gluten-free beers entering the market, and you can be sure you will find your favourite that you can bring with you to the next barbecue.