Sipping on a refreshing pint or bottle of beer can be an excellent way to unwind after a long day, but not if it causes a stomach ache because of its gluten. Thankfully, so many more beers are being made that are suitable for people who are either sensitive, intolerant, or allergic to gluten.
As with anything, research is important when it comes to finding out which beer you can drink when you have a gluten sensitivity or intolerance. Most beer will go under testing in order to determine how much gluten is in it, and this testing will often be mapped out in a beer chart.
What Do Gluten Levels In Beer Charts Mean?
Gluten levels in beer charts are used so that drinkers are aware of how much gluten is in the beer they’re interested in. Measurements for gluten amounts are done in parts per million. In order for something to be classified as gluten-free, whether on a label or otherwise, the levels must be under 20 parts per million, or ppm.
You are likely to find a plethora of different charts that will break down the brand of beer analyzed, what kind of beer it is, what it’s made with in terms of grains, and how much gluten is in a serving of the beer in parts per million. Some charts are more thorough than others, and charts change all the time as brands release new products.
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How Is Gluten Tested?
There are a few ways that brewers can test for how much gluten is in a serving of their beer. These tests can be used for different kinds of consumables. Some tests are more trusted or reliable than others depending on which expert you ask.
One standard test known as ELISA has been relied upon for a very long time to measure how much gluten, among other allergens, is in various products. With new technology, there are other types of tests that are able to detect more minute amounts than ELISA can, such as the LC-MS, or liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry test.
The tricky part is that different governments have different regulatory bodies that all have their own standards for testing. Generally speaking, the United States and Canada are on the same page when it comes to what gluten levels are considered gluten-free, including when it comes to beer.
How Do I Know A Beer Is Gluten-Free?
When a product contains gluten that measures under 20 parts per million, it is considered generally safe for people who have celiac disease. The particular standard of 20 parts per million is based on United States standards, and other countries could pose a slight variation in what’s considered gluten-free by their own medical standards.
Depending on which country you’re in, your beer might not have a label that states it’s gluten-free. In the United States, for example, it’s not legally allowed for some alcoholic beverages to be labeled as gluten-free under certain conditions, though the label might state the level of gluten in it.
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What Impacts Gluten In Beer?
Beer is made with a variety of grains, most of which naturally have pretty high levels of gluten. The way that those grains are processed by each brewer will have an impact on how much gluten is actually in the finished product.
However, it’s not just the grain that will impact gluten in beer. Some beer and other alcoholic beverages can contain additives that could be hidden sources of gluten. These additives are typically for color or flavor purposes, but they aren’t always disclosed on the label; the label may just simply say additives.
Can Beer Ever Truly Be Gluten-Free?
Given the prominence of gluten sensitivity, many breweries have made strides towards providing more options for beer drinkers who can’t tolerate gluten. Beer has been successfully made from non-gluten grains such as rice or corn, for instance. Some brewers have made their facilities free of gluten so that no cross contamination can occur.
Other brewers have patented processes that allow them to more successfully extract gluten from grain-based beer; this is known as gluten-removed beer rather than gluten-free. While some brewers are able to get their gluten levels under 20 parts per million, it’s not considered accurate to label such beer as gluten-free.
A List Of Gluten-Free Beer Brewers To Try
If you are sensitive to gluten but like the taste and experience of beer, there are some brews to try out the next time you go on a beer run. The beer companies listed below may not be famous (yet), but they are made in gluten-free facilities and offer a wide range of products for gluten-free beer lovers to enjoy.
- Evasion Brewing
- Red Leaf Gluten-Free Brewing
- Cold Crash Brewing
- Ghostfish Brewing
- Holidaily Brewing Company
- Divine Science Brewing