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Gluten Free Beer: How Do We Know It Is Safe

beer redbridge bards gluten labeling sorghum contamination shared equipment

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 01:01 PM

Hey guys,
I was diagnosed with Celiac Sprue based on tissue transglutaminase anti-body screening almost six years ago. I've been gluten free ever since. It wasn't until about 2-3 years ago that gluten free beer became a bit of a trend and my brother in law have got in to home brewing our very own gluten free beer.
For our small 5 gallon batches every piece of equipment that I've used has been dedicated gluten free from the day I bought it. The question I have for everyone is:

How comfortable are people drinking gluten free beer on non-dedicated gluten free lines? I believe that neither redbridge nor bards produces their gluten-free beers on dedicated lines, they instead clean the shared equipment.

I wanted to get the view of other celiacs about gluten free beer (and for now I'm completely ignoring beer that tries to lower its barley content like estrella and omission).

Thanks guys
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Posted 03 February 2013 - 07:27 PM

Red Bridge is made by Anheuser-Busch. I don't know about their facilities, but I have not had a problem with it.

Bard's is made in a dedicated facility. It was the first gluten-free beer on the market. The partners who own the business both have celiac disease.

There are other sorghum-based brews available that are made in facilities that also make "real" beer. I have tried several of them, and have not had any problems.
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Diagnosis by biopsy of practically non-existent villi; gluten-free since July 2000.
Type 1 (autoimmune) diabetes diagnosed in March 1986
Markham, Ontario (borders on Toronto)

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#3 dilettantesteph


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Posted 04 February 2013 - 06:18 AM

I think that it depends on your level of sensitivity. Mine has gotten lower as time goes on. When I was less sensitive I could drink beer that was made in dedicated facilities without issues, but not those made in shared facilities. Now don't drink any beer. I do still have some alcohol that I can drink, so I don't think that it is a general problem with alcohol.
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Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:38 AM

I've tried every gluten free beer I've come across, and I haven't had any issues - except with ones like Daura that try to use barley and 'deglutinize it'. Bard's, New Grist, New Planet, Redbridge etc. have all been fine for me, as far as I can tell, and I'm pretty sensitive.

If you're really worried about it, I would highly, highly reccommend trying Harvester beers - they're a completely gluten free brewery out of Portland, Oregon. They've got their own operation and don't contract brew through other facilities or brew any regular beers, like some of the other companies, and they use certified gluten free ingredients.

They don't sell widely outside of Oregon/Washington, but you can order their stuff through www.letspour.com

Expensive, but worth it! (no, I'm not affiliated with them. But I did get to visit their facility in Portland last fall, and was very impressed)
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Posted 12 February 2013 - 07:23 AM

I've never had any trouble with gluten-free beer (but don't touch the mysterious "gluten removed" stuff. That's just sketchy). If you're worried about breweries that also make regular beer, there are several exclusively gluten-free breweries out there, and you can always contact the brewery to find out what their methods are, and whether they use dedicated equipment that has never been used for regular beer.
You're pretty ambitious doing home-brewed gluten-free, but you're not the only ones. There are a couple guys in Toronto that recently started a gluten-free craft microbrewery, and had to buy all brand new equipment (quite an investment) and since they want to sell casks, they rigged up a special tap line so that bars can't just hook it up to their regular lines (because, honestly, being able to go to your local and order a pint ON TAP is the best thing ever)

Good luck with the homebrew. I hope it turned/turns out!
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~ Be a light unto yourself. ~ - The Buddha

- Gluten-free since March 2009 (not officially diagnosed, but most likely Celiac). Symptoms have greatly improved or disappeared since.
- Soy intolerant. Dairy free (likely casein intolerant). Problems with eggs, quinoa, brown rice

- mild gastritis seen on endoscopy Oct 2012. Not sure if healed or not.
- Family members with Celiac: Mother, sister, aunt on mother's side, aunt and uncle on father's side, more being diagnosed every year.



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Posted 13 February 2013 - 05:24 PM

I was a micro brew drinker until Gluten free a little over 3 weeks ago. Switched to Angry Orchard hard cider which is good but boy I missed my beer! Just tried New Planet beer. Loved the taste and so far no problems.
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Posted 15 February 2013 - 09:51 AM

Only have had issues with Daura as the other posted stated.
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Posted 05 July 2013 - 09:17 AM

I was a micro brew drinker until Gluten free a little over 3 weeks ago. Switched to Angry Orchard hard cider which is good but boy I missed my beer! Just tried New Planet beer. Loved the taste and so far no problems.

I tried a New Planet Belgian Ale. Immediately I experienced symptoms of contamination. The only beer so far that I like and have had no problems with is Bards.

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 08:34 PM

 I've been drinking Corona Extra for a couple of months, no more than one bottle at a time, several times a week, with no problems. Several studies of gluten in beer have found Corona Extra to have gluten levels at or below 5 ppm, considerably less than the strict gluten-free standard of less than 20 ppm.  In Mexico, where it is manufactured, it is labeled as gluten free.  

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Celiac diagnosis from positive blood work & endoscope (2005)

Serologic equivalent: HLA-DQ 2,3 Subtype 2,8 (double Celiac genes)

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