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Drinking Beer on a Gluten-Free Diet

A few of you have asked about my beer drinking habits considering that I eat gluten-free. 

I didn’t used to like beer. In fact, I hated it. But like most grown-up drinks — coffee, tea, wine — it was an acquired taste. Well, I take that back, I liked wine immediately. 🙂

The first beer I ever really really liked was Lonerider Shotgun Betty. I liked it even more after I learned it was an NC beer. 

Shotgun

You guys know I love Small Batch Beer Company

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And I recently fell in love with a number of beers at Foothills Brewery. 

I also learned I really like pumpkin beer (after thinking I hated it for the last few years!). I’m loving this Uinta Brewing Co. Punk’n ale right now – especially because it’s from my home state, Utah!

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So, why do I drink all this beer if I eat gluten free the rest of the time? A couple reasons:

  • I don’t have nearly the reaction to beer that I do with other gluten-filled goods, like cereal, crackers, breads, etc. The reaction to beer is bloating and occasionally an insta-headache. And very occasionally digestion issues. But doesn’t beer do all that to everyone?? 🙂 (Most gluten-goodies make me itch like crazy, bloat me like crazy, make me foggy-headed and grumpy, among other things. It’s not fun.)
  • I don’t drink it enough for the small reaction I do have to really bother me. I choose wine over beer 4 out of 5 times. So I guess to answer some of your questions, yes, beer is a “cheat” for me or a “splurge.” I like to think of it as calculated risk taking. 🙂
  • I don’t like the gluten-free beers I have tried. But, if you want to try some, my boyfriend (who has celiac and cannot have regular beer) likes the Omission Lager very best and Estrella Damm second best. (He’s tried New Grist, Bards, and a few others but they’re not his favorites.) 

Lager beer nationalimages sourced from Omission & Estrella

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How about you? If you follow a GF diet, can you drink regular beer or not? What are your other favorite GF beers? What’s are “calculated risks” in your diet? 

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18 Comments

  • Reply
    Miriam
    at

    Ah, now I know why you brought your boyfriend home GF biscuits. I can’t tolerate gluten either and the longer I’ve been off it, the more intense the reaction. The only thing worth it is actually the punkin ale!!

  • Reply
    Nancy
    at

    I dislike the taste of beer. Then again, I didn’t like coffee (hot) and maybe I do now ever since I started drinking iced coffee last summer….maybe I should crack open a brewski lol

  • Reply
    Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed
    at

    I love cider! It’s naturally gluten free and very tasty 🙂

  • Reply
    Nikki @NikSnacks
    at

    I’ve tried and I like New Grist’s beer. If that was the only beer I was able to enjoy, I wouldn’t like it so much, but I like its sweet flavor and the fact that I don’t feel bloated after drinking it. I do not need to follow a GF diet, but I am nut-free. I take no risks in regards to that. The hospital is not fun. Nor is not being able to breathe or have blisters on your fingers or lips from contact with an allergen 🙁

  • Reply
    George
    at

    Teri,

    Are you actually diagnosed as gluten intolerant? I’ve seen a lot of instances where people thought they were gluten intolerant but weren’t when they asked a doctor, and the issue turned out to be something else entirely.

    I’d be surprised if the gluten in beer was for some reason less an issue for you than the gluten in other things, but I’m curious. Thanks!

    • Reply
      Teri [a foodie stays fit]
      at

      Hey George – nope, I’m not diagnosed; I’ve experimented with lots of elimination and reintroduction of foods trying to figure out what causes my issues. I really don’t know for sure if it’s gluten or something else that’s causes issues for me. Gluten, dairy and soy are the three things that I know regularly trigger issues, but it’s not 100% consistent which makes it really frustrating. I wish there was a clear answer. 🙁

      • Reply
        JC
        at

        Go to a doctor and actually get a professional’s diagnosis before you call yourself gluten intolerant.

        • Reply
          Sam
          at

          How is a “professional” going to diagnose how she feels? Only the person actually feeling the symptoms will ever know if a food makes them feel bad or not. I know MANY people that went through the torture of reintroducing gluten for the minimum time, to get tested with blood, and invasive procedures to be told they didn’t have an allergy or intolerance……But when gluten is removed they feel fine.
          I would like to think humans are smarter than this. Put simply, listen to your body. Besides Gluten/Wheat is practically the devil, no one should eat it.

  • Reply
    Purelytwins
    at

    we don’t really like any gluten free beers either. we sometimes miss our beer, but maybe down the road we can have some again from time to time, we liked wine immediately too

  • Reply
    betty
    at

    i’ll have to try shotgun betty just for the name! i love a good pumpkin beer. strong ipa’s and the strong ‘hoppy’ flavor are what gets me. i’m happy with a stella or a landshark and some lime 🙂

  • Reply
    Anna
    at

    I loved Omission’s pale ale! In fact, the first time I drank it I had no idea it was gluten-free. It was that good! Even though I’m not gluten intolerant, I still often choose Omission over many non gluten-free beers.

  • Reply
    Ashley
    at

    I love two brothers “prairie path”, it’s kind of like omission in that the gluten is removed after the brewing… it’s not sorghum-based so it doesn’t have that sweet taste to it. It is BY FAR the best gluten-free beer I’ve ever had– I have celiac’s and I’ve never had any reactions to it! Also love dogfish head’s “tweasonale” it’s on the sweeter side, but is SOO good in the summer– maybe a bit of a girly beer, since it’s strawberry based.

  • Reply
    Scott Hansen
    at

    Luckily for me I don’t have a gluten-intolerance so I am free to drink any beer I like, but if I did I would happily go to my second drink of choice… RUM! 🙂

  • Reply
    Rob
    at

    Teri –

    If you drink beer, you aren’t gluten intolerant. Which really isn’t a thing anyway. If you were allergic to gluten, its binary. Either you get sick from ingesting it, or you don’t there aren’t ‘levels’ to it.

    Think of it like this – if you were allergic to peanuts, you would be allergic to peanut butter. What you’re claiming is the same as saying “I am allergic to peanuts, and can’t eat anything with peanuts in it. Except Reese’s peanut butter cups. I can eat those”

    There is simple and accurate science that backs this up.

    What I sense is that you like the idea of calling yourself gluten free, and the placebo effect takes over when you DO eat something with gluten, convincing you that you are feeling some sort of side effects. Except when you drink beer, you know, because you like beer.

    Your claim is laughable at best, but at worst, dangerous for the very VERY small percentage of people who actually do have a gluten intolerance.

    • Reply
      Teri [a foodie stays fit]
      at

      Thanks for your concern and analysis of my behavior and life choices – it really helps. Also, I dated someone with Celiac Disease for 2.5 years and I don’t think he sensed any danger from me. I don’t force people to eat gluten you know. 🙂

      • Reply
        Afam
        at

        I am diagnosed celiac via biopsy, which should be the only way. Some gluten free beers bother me, some don’t. Some regular beers bother me, some don’t. I’ve eaten ritz crackers before, didn’t bother me. Talking in definitives is foolish. This is why doctors have a “practice”.

  • Reply
    jen
    at

    I get headaches if I eat wheat but I don’t get headaches from beer. I’d like to know why. I tested negative for celiac but I was gluten free at the time of my endoscopy.

  • Reply
    Jen
    at

    Sadly, the people making claims about your placebo effect calling yourself gluten intolerant are in fact wrong themselves.

    Celiac is definitely a league of its own.
    Gluten is too, however. It’s an inflammatory that cause lots of problems in the body.
    It is only an equal comparison to peanuts if you are talking about actual Celiac’s disease.

    Outside of that, there are people with a low tolerance to gluten. Especially those with underlying autoimmune disorders.
    As far as getting a ‘diagnosis’ from a regular MD, good luck with that. These days most of them recommend you go gluten free regardless of test results. Which is the most holistic thing any of them are putting out there.

    So, as someone who has issues with gluten and tickets to a beer festival soon, thanks for this post and thank you for putting your info out there! I will attempt to enjoy my day and a get back to my usual diet.

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