Against the Grain
The market for gluten-free food products will approach $5 billion this year. Here’s why: Although only about one percent of Americans are afflicted with celiac disease, a severe gluten intolerance, 18 million people suffer from gluten sensitivity, which can cause mild inflammation and malnutrition. But at least 30 breweries are rooting it out by substituting sorghum, rice, and other gluten-free fermentables for barley and wheat. These are the best of the new brews.
Portland, Oregon: Traditional IPAs are made with barley. Harvester IPA (5.8 percent ABV) is brewed from gluten-free oats, local chestnuts, sorghum, organic tapioca, and locally grown hops, and has the citrus kick IPA lovers expect.
Brunehaut Bio Blonde
Rongy-Brunehaut, Belgium: Belgian beers often pop. The earthy, pale golden Brunehaut Bio Blonde (6.5 percent ABV), with glutens removed by a proprietary filtration method, is no exception.
Dogfish Head Tweason'ale
Milton, Delaware: Made from sorghum, along with local strawberries and buckwheat honey, this special-release seasonal Dogfish Head Tweason'ale (6 percent ABV) is more like a sparkling wine, with pronounced tart and sour notes.
Green's Discover Amber Ale
Yorkshire, England: Brewed with millet, sorghum, rice, and buckwheat instead of standard-issue brewer’s grains, the vegan Green's Discover Amber Ale (6 percent ABV) has a faintly caramel, apple-tinged taste, a spicy Belgian yeastiness, and a thick head.
Hard cider is booming (up 65 percent in the past year alone), and it’s naturally gluten-free. But it will never achieve the cultural ubiquity of beer, mostly because you’ll never hear anyone say any of the following:
“Dude, I really need a cold cider.”
“Are there any cider specials tonight?”
“Wanna grab a six-pack of cider and come over?”
Next Up: Gluten-Free Beer (That Tastes Good!)