Many Choices for Gluten Free Adult Beverages

Dec 19 2013 - 9:14am
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When you start a new diet plan, often the focus is on what you “can’t” eat. We realize that alcoholic beverages are not a necessary part of anyone’s diet, but they are something that many enjoy – and may even have some health benefits when consumed in moderation! If you are on a gluten-free diet, here are just some of the many choices you have for a cocktail.

A recent study published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research suggests that moderate consumption of alcohol may actually extend your life. According to the researchers, alcohol consumption in moderation relaxes people, helping to break down social barriers and boost confidence in social settings. Having a strong social network is good for one’s mental and physical health, which is just one the reasons the researchers cited in explaining why moderate drinkers live longer than their non-drinking and heavy drinking counterparts.

Red wine is the most often cited adult beverage that promotes health. Because of an antioxidant called resveratrol, those who drink a glass of red wine may have a reduced risk of heart disease and maybe even certain types of cancer.

Even beer may have its benefits. In moderation, it may help your heart, may reduce the risk of diabetes, may help prevent prostate cancer, and could promote strong bones.

Obviously all of these studies stress one thing – moderation. Which means no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. Examples of one drink:

  • Beer: 12 fluid ounces (355 milliliters)
  • Wine: 5 fluid ounces (148 milliliters)
  • Distilled spirits (80 proof): 1.5 fluid ounces (44 milliliters)

However, when diagnosed with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, which means you must give up any source of gluten, you run into a bit of a snag. Many alcoholic beverages are made using the grains that we must avoid – wheat and barley, for example. So which beverages can you choose from that are safe to drink (in moderation)?

Beer
There are a number of premium and craft brewers that now produce beer using a specialty grain such a buckwheat, sorghum or rice. There are also a number of beer brands that test below the 20 ppm maximum limit for gluten, but many celiac patients find that they still react adversely because of the offending grain. Still others may use special filters and/or enzymes to eliminate gluten (such as Omission brand). Again, these do not necessary mean they are completely safe for celiac patients, but if you are avoiding gluten for another reason, they could be a good option.

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Here is a list from Celiac.com, a resource for celiac disease and gluten-free diet information:
o Against the Grain, World Top Brewery (United Kingdom)
o Bards Tale Dragons Gold, Bard's Tale Beer Company (USA)
o BeerUp Glutenfrei, Grieskirchen (Austria)
o Birra 76 Bi-Aglut, Heineken Italy (Italy)
o Blonde (also Ginger and Apple Beers), Billabong Brewing (Australia)
o Daura, Estrella Damm (Spain)
o DogfishHead Tweason’ale
o G-Free, St. Peter's Brewery (United Kingdom)
o Green's Endeavour Dubble, Green's (United Kingdom)
o Koff I, Sinebrychoff (Finland)
o Lammsbräu, Neumarkter (Germany)
o Messagère, Les bières de la Nouvelle-France (Canada)
o Mongozo's exotic flavorded pilsners (The Netherlands)
o New Grist, Lakefront Brewery (USA)
o New Planet (Blond, Belgian, Raspberry, Amber, Pale)
o Nodogoshi, Kirin (Japan)
o O'Brien Brown Ale, O'Brien Brewery (Australia)
o Passover Honey Beer, Ramapo Valley (USA)
o RedBridge, Anheuser-Busch (USA)
o Residenz Bio-Reis-Gold Dunkel, Liebharts (Germany)
o Schnitzer Bräu (Germany)
o Sorghum Molasses Brown, Outer Banks (USA)
o Toleration, Hambleton (United Kingdom)
o Tread Lightly Ale and 3R Raspberry Ale, New Planet (USA)
o Tumma Kukko, Laitilan (Finland)

Other alcohol beverage options that are similar to beer include hard ciders that are fermented from apples or other fruits. Just be aware that some add barley for enzymes and flavor, so check labels. You may want to try: Michelob ULTRA Light Cider, HORSBY'S Hard Ciders (all), WOODCHUCK Draft Ciders (all)

Bottled malt beverages, such as Smirnoff Ice and Mike’s Hard Lemonade are NOT considered safe for celiac patients. There is one Mike's labeled GF, but be warned, we know a number of people who felt sick or had the "fog" after drinking it.

Wine
Wine (including port wines and sherry) and wine coolers are generally safe for celiac patients as they are made from grapes. Champagne is also a safe option. Wine coolers are generally considered safe as well, except in the case of malt beverages (check labels).

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