As more people discover a previously unknown sensitivity to wheat, rye, and barley, gluten-free desserts, drinks, and snacks inevitably follow the appearance of celiac-friendly foods on grocery store shelves. After all, nobody likes to live on a restricted diet without being able to indulge now and then!
As many people living on gluten-free diets know, it can be hard to find craft brew drinks that really satisfy. Gluten-free beer, wine, and spirits are now available more widely than ever before, but what drinks are safe for celiacs or those sensitive to wheat and related foods?
Beer (Gluten-Free Brands)
In general, beer is not a good beverage for those watching their gluten intake. Beer is typically made with barley, one of the foods that can trigger a reaction in those sensitive to gluten! Historically, it’s been hard to find gluten-free beer, but more recently, various craft beers have begun to fill a much-needed void in the drinking world. While some gluten-free beers are bland, many are surprisingly tasty and liquor stores are starting to take note and order them. Make sure you check whether a beer was made with specifically gluten-free ingredients if you are a celiac sufferer, as some gluten-free beers have the gluten filtered out and this filtering process doesn’t always work smoothly.
Wine (Most Non-Dessert Wines)
While wine itself is gluten-free, certain brands of dessert wines aren’t safe if you’re looking to reduce your gluten intake. Added colours and flavours like those found in sweeter wines can contain gluten, and while the amounts may be in trace quantities, true celiacs who have severe reactions to even trace amounts of gluten will want to avoid them! Also, even non-dessert wines may use gluten as a clarifying agent when the wine is cloudy.
Spirits (Non-Grain Based)
Opinions vary on whether certain types of alcohol are safe for those with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. For example, some people report drinking all types of vodka and gin with no reactions, while others can only stick to potato-based vodka or certain brands of gin. To be safe, make sure you avoid flavoured types of spirits. Tequila should be 100% agave, and be sure to check whisky information before consuming or ordering one to make sure that you won’t react negatively. Some manufacturers add grain mash after distillation, which would obviously cause you to react negatively.
Mead (Most Types)
In its natural form – fermented honey and water or juice – mead is completely gluten-free. The only types of mead you should avoid are braggots, which are meads made with malt. Whether you prefer dry, complex, or sweet flavour palettes, you can find a mead to suit your tastes. Nearly all flavours of Pollen Angels (our hopped flavour is the exception) are safe for gluten-free drinkers if you want a session drink to sip with a meal or over your choice of gluten-free dessert! We also produce a variety of Sunset Heights Meadery traditional cysers that are gluten-free, but are not yet available on the market.
Gluten-free drinking shouldn’t be a chore. Most celiac sufferers and gluten-free dieters already know which beverages are safe, but aren’t aware that mead is an option. With the revival of mead as a craft brew beverage and the rapidly growing number of meaderies in Canada and worldwide, this adds a whole lot of options to your glass.