Last week, we received this e-mail from HBG reader Karen:
I have a gluten intolerance problem and now need gluten-free beer. Gluten is found in barley and wheat which most beer is made from. Have you done a piece on this as I need to know where to find some? I live in Fishers.
We haven't done a piece on gluten-free beer . . . until now, thanks to Karen's question.
The condition that Karen was talking about is called celiac disease. Celiacs (as people with this condition are called) have digestive systems that cannot tolerate the protein gluten, which, as Karen explained, is found in grains from which beer is typically made. Celiacs who consume foods and beverages with gluten can encounter very serious health problems. So, we've done some exploring to help out those folks like Karen who want to enjoy beer but can't partake because they're celiacs. Fortunately, several breweries brew beers that don't contain gluten. Here are the gluten-free brands you can find in Central Indiana:
Redbridge. This is Anheuser-Busch's gluten-free beer. Like A-B's flagship brand, Budweiser, Redbridge is an American lager. It's brewed with sorghum instead of barley.
Green's. Green's, which is brewed in Belgium, offers three different ales: an amber called Discovery, a dubbel called Endeavour, and a tripel named Quest. These beers are brewed with a blend of four grains: millet, rice, buckwheat (no, not that Buckwheat), and sorghum.
Bard's Tale. This brewery was started by a couple of celiacs who are, in their words, "ardent beer-lovers." Bard's Tale is brewed in the American lager style and is made with sorghum.
New Grist. This beer, which is billed as a "session ale," is brewed by Milwaukee brewery Lakefront. It's brewed with sorghum and rice extract.
Toleration Ale. Brewed by Hambleton Ales in the UK, this beer is described as "a tawny ale with aromas of Cascade, Liberty and Challenger hops. Specially prepared dark sugars provide a full bodied initial sweetness giving way to pronounced fruit and hop character with a strong citrus finish." It's not clear what grains are used to brew this beer, but it is indeed gluten-free.
The first four brands listed above are available at Whole Foods. In addition, Redbridge can be found at the Castleton Trader Joe's. Other central Indiana stores that carry gluten-free brands are Parti Pak, Kahn's, the Hop Shop, and Sahara Mart.
In the interest of disclosure, we've not tried any of these beers, so we can't vouch for any of them. But, I can say that a gluten-free roundtable might be in the offing in the near future.
In the meantime, if you have tried any of these beers, leave a comment or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know what you think. Special thanks go to Mat Gerdenich of Cavalier Distributing and Bob Mack of World Class Beverages, who assisted us in putting together our gluten-free beer list.