Gluten-Intolerant? Five Beer-Pong-Worthy, Gluten-Free Options

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Misha Grosvenor
Bottoms up!
When making dinner plans with friends, I usually ask something along the lines of, "What type of food are you in the mood to eat?" Recently, after two botched outings with friends, I've realized that the first thing I should ask is, "Are you gluten-intolerant?"

Last month, I met with a friend at Palace India and, after being informed of her new wheat allergy a moment too late, found myself eating a plate of delicious samosas by my lonesome -- score! what a shame.

Most recently, I invited a new friend, Brian, to Tap 42, a recently opened gastropub in Fort  Lauderdale, not knowing that he was gluten-intolerant. Fortunately, Tap 42 has plenty of other  options for imbibing, but still, I couldn't help but feel compassion for those who are missing out on all the bounty that gluten has to offer -- namely, IPAs, pilsners, and stouts.

In an effort to help those of you who feel left out while watching your selfish, thoughtless friends play beer pong (no judgment), here is a list of five gluten-free beers to get you back in the game.

To make amends for my previous snafu, I invited Brian to join me at Riverside Market to check out their gluten-free beer selection. Riverside Market owner, beer connoisseur, and recent New Times Beerfest judge Julian Siegel showed us the gluten-free options available and helped us to separate the wheat from the chaff (pun intended).

5. Red Bridge Lager (Anheuser-Busch)

Julian refers to Red Bridge as the "section 8 of gluten-free beers." Needless to say, we didn't try this beer.

4. Tread Lightly Ale (New Planet)                                                                                  Contents: sorghum, hops, yeast, orange peel, corn extract

Brian enjoyed this beer, saying that it was like a true ale and would be a good summer beer. As an IPA snob, I found it to be a little on the sweet side, but I've read that this ale is very popular with Midwestern music editors.

3. 3R Raspberry Ale (New Planet)
Contents: sorghum, hops, yeast, raspberry puree

If you enjoy sweet, fruity beer, then you're prayers have been answered. 
     

2. Off Grid Pale Ale (New Planet)
Contents: sorghum, hops, yeast, molasses, brown rice extract

New Planet's Pale Ale holds its own in the pale ale category. Similar to a gluten-full pale ale but not quite as hoppy. Personally, this was my top pick. You don't feel like you're at a party drinking an O'Doul's and pretending that it's Chimay. 

1. Estrella Damm Lager (S.A. Damm)
Contents: "Toasted Cereals"

The only import on the list, Barcelona's Estrella Damm lager has a dense flavor and slightly more acidic than the others on list. This was my gluten-deprived amigo's favorite beer of the ones that we tried. There is a slightly bitter finish that makes it taste less like a lager and more like an ale, so I would drink it again to be polite when drinking with the gluten-intolerant (or to get totally faded in a pinch).  
   
I couldn't help but notice that although, in general, these beers were pretty good, there was a sweetness to them that you don't get in other beers that made them taste a tad "off." Julian cleared it up in a way that only Julian can: "Yeah, it's not the same. Hey, there's a reason why they don't make diet Snickers."
 
At the end of the day, gluten-free beer meets all of the requirements of regular beer -- it tastes good, contains alcohol, and can be used to play absurd drinking games. Drink up! 


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Location Info

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Riverside Market

608 SW 12th Ave., Fort Lauderdale, FL

Category: General

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14 comments
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David L.
David L.

Yes! Thanks for the list.  I used to get insanely bloated every time I played beer pong.  I don't have full-blown Celiac's disease, but I do seem to be horribly gluten intolerant.  Good to know I can get drunk, have fun, and wake up feeling (reasonably) well.

minx31
minx31

Totally agree about the Off the Grid Pale Ale, and the Raspberry one is pleasant, too. Green's beers (imported from Belgium) are also a good bet and come in blonde, amber and double dark.  St. Peter's Sorghum is not a favorite of mine, but it's got a nice amount of hops.  Some Whole Foods stores carry St. Peter's and Green's.

Misha Grosvenor
Misha Grosvenor

Excellent! Thanks for the tip on where to get St. Peter's and Green's.

Matthew Athayde
Matthew Athayde

FYI Estrella Damm Lager comes in 2 varieties non gluten free and a second that has had a "deglutenizer" used in it HOWEVER any one with celiac needs to be aware that a deglutenized beer does not mean a safe one. The gluten that is broken down still has amino acid chains that can set off the reaction (as a bio chemist friend has explained to me along with a few articles i have read that have researched it).

If you just have gluten intolerance it might be safe for you, but if you have celiac you really should shy away from any of the deglutenized brews.

Other beers that might be of interest are the Greens gluten free varieties (they also make deglutenized for gluten intolerant that can still handle some of the stuff). the GF varieties are very good ranging from lighter to very dark ales. I am also told that st. peters gluten free variety is very good and similar to blue moon but i have yet to get it a try.

Misha Grosvenor
Misha Grosvenor

That is true about Estrella Damm having two varieties. Fortunately, Julian was nice enough to pull some gluten-free varieties for us but it's always a good idea to ask before purchasing. I'll have to try and see if I can find St. Peter' brand. Thanks for adding to the list!

cljahn
cljahn

Be aware that a recent test of beers showed that all the "de-glutenized" beers contain levels of gluten above 20 ppm.  They did test lower than regular or low gluten beers.  But only beers made from gluten-free grains tested completely negative for gluten.

warisa4letterword
warisa4letterword

My wife and I have been gluten-free for a little more 3 years, so we've tried several gluten-free beers. And the one that jumps to the top of our list is Green's beer. It's a bit pricier than the others, but it's well worth it on a day when you won't settle for anything less than the taste of a great beer. Yes, I said "great beer." I believe there are about 5 or 6 varieties, but we love the the one called "Discovery." Check them all out; you're in for a "I can't believe this is gluten-free" treat.

Misha Grosvenor
Misha Grosvenor

Awesome! Thanks for adding to the list jreid. Where can we buy it?

Wiles28
Wiles28

Love Greens! I am a beer snob, I love good beer. Then I found out I have Celiac disease, goodby great or even good beer I thought. Then I tried Green's and it is the best. Look on line to find it, it's made over seas.

Cljahn
Cljahn

 A beer you  can't actually get on this coast: Bard's.  I pick it up when I'm over in Fort Myers.  It's excellent, and doesn't have the sweet aftertaste of the other beers on your list.  I'll have to try the Estrella Damm. I prefer Redbridge over New Grist.

Misha Grosvenor
Misha Grosvenor

Thanks for the tip Cljahn, I'll have to look for it next time I'm on the west coast. Cheers!

halwebguy
halwebguy

My fav is New Grist, followed by Estrella Damm and then Bards.

Misha Grosvenor
Misha Grosvenor

I've had New Grist before and it's a strong contender for sure! I liked Estrella Damm for the most part but you need to chase it with a shot to get rid of that weird aftertaste but between you and me, I'm just saying that as excuse to have a shot (Kidding...kind of). I've heard of Bard's but haven't had a chance to try it so I'll keep my eyes peeled. Thanks for adding to the list!

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