More and more I am becoming aware of gluten free diets as some of my friends realize that they are gluten intolerant. This is a major adjustment in eating habits, and for some of my friends, one of the things they really miss most is enjoying a good beer.
Recently, Marshall King wrote a couple of articles about eating gluten free, and I thought that I would follow up with some gluten free or gluten reduced beer options. It is with good reason that Halie Patrick, who was interviewed by Marshall in one of his articles, enjoys Iechyd Da Brewing Company, downtown Elkhart. Not only do they offer gluten free pizza crusts, but Chip Lewis has been working on some beer options that Halie is able to enjoy without the undesirable affects from gluten.
Generally, those who are gluten intolerant react to certain proteins found in barley and wheat, two common grains used to brew beer. Some brewers have created recipes using other grains such as millet, rice, sorghum, buckwheat, and corn. My personal experience with these beers is limited, but friends who rely on these options have told me that they just don't replace the beer that they used to enjoy. And in fact some choose not to drink beer at all given those options.
Iechyd Da Brewing, however, has come up with a wonderful new solution. They have found an enzyme that breaks down the gluten in both barley and wheat, to the point that gluten intolerant beer drinkers seem not to be affected. They label their beers gluten reduced, and by using this method, they do not need to alter the recipes of the existing beer. And by doing this, gluten intolerant beer drinkers can enjoy and wide range of beers, from Iechyd Da's lightest offering, Local Blonde (4.8% ABV, IBUs 17) to the bigger beers on their menu such as Revolution IPA (7.2% ABV, IBUs 74), and Big Pit Porter (5.1% ABV, IBUs 25).
Summer Lewis told me that they have offered samples of their gluten reduced beers to several customers, including some who suffer from Celiac Disease and can be most effected by gluten. At this point, all have had a favorable experience. Because of this, Iechyd Da is now marketing their gluten reduced beers and they are designated on the menu with (GR).
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask at bar when ordering your food or beer at Iechyd Da.
Here are some other gluten free options for beer drinkers in Michiana:
Dogfish Head Tweason'ale (6% ABV) brewed with a mild sorghum base
New Planet Amber Ale (5% ABV, IBUs 31) brewed with Sorghum, Brown Rice, Molasses, Tapioca Maltodextrin
Steadfast Beer Company out of Albany, NY brews all gluten free beer. The two that are available in Michiana are Steadfast Sorghum Pale Ale, and Steadfast Golden Blonde Ale.
Lakefront Brewing Company New Grist (pilsner, 5.1% ABV) brewed with rice and sorghum
Green's Dubbel Dark (7% ABV, IBUs s24)
Green's Tripel Blonde (8.1% ABV)
There is also a large selection of mead's and ciders now available, including products from B. Nektar Meadery in Michigan, J.K.'s Scrumpy also from Michigan, Rogue Ales, Wandering Aengus Ciderworks, and others. Virtue Ciders from Fennville, MI should be hitting the shelves soon if they haven't already. This is a company that was founded by former Goose Island brewmaster Greg Hall.