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I was a happy beer drinker prior to my Celiac Diagnosis. I miss it. Screw bread, it’s the beer I miss most. So what’s a girl to do when a tasty craft beer is no longer in the cards? Is gluten free beer even worth it? What can Celiacs drink? I have some thinks.
Gluten Free beer
Gluten Free beer typically SUCKS. Sorry, but it’s true! I have stumbled across a few that aren’t TOO terrible, but nothing I have tasted has come even close to my beloved Sam Adams. I tend to stay away from all gluten free beers, but there are two options out there for when a beer is non-negotiable.
Beer crafted to remove gluten
If you have celiac disease, stay away from these. They are not safe for you. Simple as that. To be gluten free it needs to be below 20 ppm of gluten (the lowest we can accurately measure). Maybe one might be ok, but for me, more than half of one of these is a trip to hell. Taste at your own risk. Honestly, they’re usually not very impressive anyway.
Naturally gluten free beer
Yes, it does exist. But it is ridiculously hard to find. I tend to shy away from gluten free beers because of my shady history with them making me sick, but this stuff did not. However, it was sweeter than I would have liked, so it’s usually a last resort unless I have beer-itis. Which I do get from time to time.
Gluten Free beer alternative: Hard liquor mixed drinks
There are a few schools of thought when it comes to hard alcohol. If it was derived from gluten containing grains (whiskey, vodka, bourbon, scotch, brandy, and gin) then it is not safe to drink.
However, due to the distillation process (oops my engineer is showing!), the gluten particles are knocked out. Basically, the grains are boiled so that the methanol (alcohol that makes you happy) is all that is left with a few other characteristics of its source, but not gluten. Because gluten is too heavy and cumbersome to hang out up at the highest temperature. (Above the boiling temperature of water, so no I can’t just boil my old spatulas, GLENDA!)
And then we have rum (distilled from naturally gluten free sugar), tequila (distilled from naturally gluten free agave plant), and brandy (distilled from wine) These are all safe to drink with Celiac disease without a chemistry lesson.
So what are my go to’s in place of beer?! Because heaven knows that a mixed drink and beer ARE. NOT. EVEN. CLOSE. TO. THE. SAME.
Margaritas are number one in my book. Because they have bite. It sort of reminds me of a hoppy beer in a way. Add extra lime, please! The only trouble here is obtaining a low carb version and keeping the Type 1 Diabetes happy. So I save this treat for a special occasion or after mowing the lawn. It has about the same refreshing-ness as a cold beer if it’s tart enough.
The mule has been BIG lately. Like HUGE. But if you look past the fad, what you see is a solid drink. I make mine with diet ginger beer (Because Type 1 Diabetes) and extra lime. Because it gives it bite. The mule is also SUPER versatile! Moscow mule= vodka, Mexican Mule= tequila, Irish mule= whiskey… you get my drift. The hardest part of the mule life is keeping the ginger beer in stock because that’s a non-alcoholic favorite in my house by itself.
Literally anything with tequila
La Croix and tequila, any type of juice and tequila, tequila and sparkling water, tequila and diet coke, just plain tequila. Sorry y’all I’m a tequila fan. It is by far the closest I’ve come to beer satisfaction wise.
Gluten Free beer alternative: Cider
This is a tough one for me, because yes, while most ciders are gluten free they are all so dang sweet. And high carb/ sugar. I will drink cider happily, but they are not my first choice. Some are really good, just sweet. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy they exist, but they’re not the best replacement for beer in my opinion. Which stinks because they are always lumped in with beer. As if to taunt me.
Gluten Free beer alternative: Wine
Ah yes, wine. The old stand by. Always safe to drink and always easy to obtain. A super dry red wine is my favorite. But not what I want to drink after mowing the lawn. Wine makes the list because it’s probably what I drink most often. Because like beer, it requires no real effort. I don’t have to mix anything. I don’t have to take insulin, and I don’t have to scrutinize the label. Wine will never be beer, but it will always be safe and readily available. So it gets a shout out.
Someday beer will be safe
Someday, whether it be through a cure for Celiac, a medicine to prevent the gluten damage, or someone finally getting it right, I will drink beer again. Until then, I will be thankful for the alternatives I do find!
Did I miss any? Does this ring true to you or no? Am I a party of one on this? LET ME KNOW!!