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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    New Belgium's Glütiny Ale Shows a New Way to Do "Gluten-free"

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 04/22/2016 - To label a beer 'gluten-free' it must contain no gluten ingredients from start to finish. But, without wheat or barley, how does a brewer create the foundation for the beer?

    Photo: New Belgium Brewing, Inc.One problem gluten-free beers have is that, because they are brewed without wheat and/or barley, they are technically not beers under German beer laws, whatever their legal status here. Another issue is that since purely gluten-free beers must be brewed with all gluten-free ingredients, they have been often regarded as lackluster in the taste department, especially by beer connoisseurs, gluten-free or not.

    In an effort to provide a genuine, high quality beer for those suffering from celiac disease, and get beyond the taste limitations of totally gluten-free beers, a new generation of beer makers are using traditional ingredients and innovative methods of to remove up to 99.99 percent, or more, of the gluten molecules from the brew before bottling.

    The result is a beer that tests under 20ppm gluten levels, and which tastes like a genuine traditionally brewed wheat- or barley-based beers.

    One of the latest and perhaps best of the gluten-reduced beers on the market is Glütiny Pale Ale from Colorado's New Belgium Brewery. It's sited beer, Glütiny Pale Ale, isn't bad either.

    To make Glütiny, New Belgum uses a special enzyme during the brewing process that breaks down the gluten to well under the FDA standards for gluten-free products.

    According to Tim Dohms, of Hopjacks Pizza Kitchen and Taproom, "where most American pale ale is more floral with muted citrus notes, Glütiny showcases a big, dynamic flavor profile."

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    Guest Jennifer Iscol

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    Jefferson, thank you for your ongoing coverage of topics in celiac disease. Please consider correcting significant factual errors in this article that give the erroneous impression that gluten-reduced beer is accepted as safe for people with celiac disease to consume. Gluten-reduced beer manufactured like Glutiny Ale is not new; it has been on the market since 2012, when Omission was introduced by Craft Brew Alliance. The federal government does not allow gluten-reduced beer to be labeled gluten-free because the gluten content cannot be verified. The primary test brewers use to measure the gluten level, the R5 Competitive ELISA, is not scientifically validated for this type of use; it is defeated by the enzyme used to degrade the gluten. Further, results from mass spectrometry, another test cited by gluten-reduced beer manufacturers with respect to the gluten level of their products, are not considered useful or valid until they are published in a peer-reviewed journal. Brewers have had years to do so and the results have not been published. When brewers post the unvalidated test results on their websites, send them to journalists and print them on packaging, it creates confusion for consumers and the media. Please note that beers brewed with traditional ingredients like barley are not regulated by FDA, but by TTB, which harmonizes its gluten-free rule with FDA. In 2013 the FDA explicitly rejected Craft Brew Alliance's bid to change the gluten-free rule to accommodate its gluten-reduced product. The TTB subsequently also ruled that barley-based gluten-reduced beer cannot be labeled gluten-free. Scientists and doctors recommend that people with celiac disease avoid gluten-reduced beer until the gluten content can be determined. The position of the federal government and celiac experts is backed by rigorous science. True gluten-free beer made from gluten-free ingredients is still the safe choice for people with celiac disease.

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    Jefferson, thank you for your ongoing coverage of topics in celiac disease. Please consider correcting significant factual errors in this article that give the erroneous impression that gluten-reduced beer is accepted as safe for people with celiac disease to consume. Gluten-reduced beer manufactured like Glutiny Ale is not new; it has been on the market since 2012, when Omission was introduced by Craft Brew Alliance. The federal government does not allow gluten-reduced beer to be labeled gluten-free because the gluten content cannot be verified. The primary test brewers use to measure the gluten level, the R5 Competitive ELISA, is not scientifically validated for this type of use; it is defeated by the enzyme used to degrade the gluten. Further, results from mass spectrometry, another test cited by gluten-reduced beer manufacturers with respect to the gluten level of their products, are not considered useful or valid until they are published in a peer-reviewed journal. Brewers have had years to do so and the results have not been published. When brewers post the unvalidated test results on their websites, send them to journalists and print them on packaging, it creates confusion for consumers and the media. Please note that beers brewed with traditional ingredients like barley are not regulated by FDA, but by TTB, which harmonizes its gluten-free rule with FDA. In 2013 the FDA explicitly rejected Craft Brew Alliance's bid to change the gluten-free rule to accommodate its gluten-reduced product. The TTB subsequently also ruled that barley-based gluten-reduced beer cannot be labeled gluten-free. Scientists and doctors recommend that people with celiac disease avoid gluten-reduced beer until the gluten content can be determined. The position of the federal government and celiac experts is backed by rigorous science. True gluten-free beer made from gluten-free ingredients is still the safe choice for people with celiac disease.

    You are mistaken Jennifer, the R5 Competitive ELISA is the standard for detecting hydrolyzed gluten. Further, mass spectrometry has been a gold standard in detecting and analyzing peptides for well over 50 years, and would be considered the gold standard in analyzing beers for specific peptides: "A mass spectrum is a plot of the ion signal as a function of the mass-to-charge ratio. These spectra are used to determine the elemental or isotopic signature of a sample, the masses of particles and of molecules, and to elucidate the chemical structures of molecules, such as peptides and other chemical compounds." Further, it is not up to beer manufacturers to validate mass spectrometry or other accepted scientific tests to prove their beer is gluten-free. They have used the proper tests, which are accepted by the scientific community, and those tests show that their beers are gluten-free.

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    It is ironic that celiac.com is promoting gluten-reduced beers since they are not recommended for those with celiac disease.

    Celiac.com reports news related to celiac disease and the gluten-free diet...we are not promoting this any more than any other news that we report. We have no financial connection with this company, and all of our advertising is disclosed as advertising.

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    What about the other so-called gluten free beverages like gluten free hard ciders ie: apple, cherry, mango and the rest. I blame myself for this but I consumed 2 bottles of gluten-free cider on Super Bowl 50. Within an hour I was vomiting copious amounts and missed the last 5 minutes of the game. The labels were double checked and they said gluten free. I am extremely allergic to gluten and take very great care on what I eat and drink. I have to wonder just how stringent testing is done on gluten-free hard ciders. I have put hard on my do not consume list for now!!!!!

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    If I was limited to beers brewed with non-gluten ingredients I would just quit beer altogether.

     

    Omission, on the other hand, is as good as regular beer. I expect New Belgium Glutiny Pale Ale to be similar to Omission Pale Ale. I will be on the look out for it.

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    I won't drink the gluten reduced beers until a definitive source declares them safe. The sorghum based beers are uniformly awful! But... I recently found the beers made by Glutenberg and they are pretty good. They are made from millet, not sorghum, and taste very much like barley beers.

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    Jefferson, thank you for your ongoing coverage of topics in celiac disease. Please consider correcting significant factual errors in this article that give the erroneous impression that gluten-reduced beer is accepted as safe for people with celiac disease to consume. Gluten-reduced beer manufactured like Glutiny Ale is not new; it has been on the market since 2012, when Omission was introduced by Craft Brew Alliance. The federal government does not allow gluten-reduced beer to be labeled gluten-free because the gluten content cannot be verified. The primary test brewers use to measure the gluten level, the R5 Competitive ELISA, is not scientifically validated for this type of use; it is defeated by the enzyme used to degrade the gluten. Further, results from mass spectrometry, another test cited by gluten-reduced beer manufacturers with respect to the gluten level of their products, are not considered useful or valid until they are published in a peer-reviewed journal. Brewers have had years to do so and the results have not been published. When brewers post the unvalidated test results on their websites, send them to journalists and print them on packaging, it creates confusion for consumers and the media. Please note that beers brewed with traditional ingredients like barley are not regulated by FDA, but by TTB, which harmonizes its gluten-free rule with FDA. In 2013 the FDA explicitly rejected Craft Brew Alliance's bid to change the gluten-free rule to accommodate its gluten-reduced product. The TTB subsequently also ruled that barley-based gluten-reduced beer cannot be labeled gluten-free. Scientists and doctors recommend that people with celiac disease avoid gluten-reduced beer until the gluten content can be determined. The position of the federal government and celiac experts is backed by rigorous science. True gluten-free beer made from gluten-free ingredients is still the safe choice for people with celiac disease.

    A very complicated, technical post but helpful. Does anyone know if Budweiser's Redbridge is gluten-free? I tried Glutiny and thought it was terrible. I must have forgotten what 'real' beer tastes like after all these years. Again, thanks for the post.

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    What about the other so-called gluten free beverages like gluten free hard ciders ie: apple, cherry, mango and the rest. I blame myself for this but I consumed 2 bottles of gluten-free cider on Super Bowl 50. Within an hour I was vomiting copious amounts and missed the last 5 minutes of the game. The labels were double checked and they said gluten free. I am extremely allergic to gluten and take very great care on what I eat and drink. I have to wonder just how stringent testing is done on gluten-free hard ciders. I have put hard on my do not consume list for now!!!!!

    It would be a very poor cider brewer that added anything containing gluten to the brew. It's apples, yeast and maybe some sugar. It's more likely either:

    A) tummy bug

    B) something you ate.

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    You are mistaken Jennifer, the R5 Competitive ELISA is the standard for detecting hydrolyzed gluten. Further, mass spectrometry has been a gold standard in detecting and analyzing peptides for well over 50 years, and would be considered the gold standard in analyzing beers for specific peptides: "A mass spectrum is a plot of the ion signal as a function of the mass-to-charge ratio. These spectra are used to determine the elemental or isotopic signature of a sample, the masses of particles and of molecules, and to elucidate the chemical structures of molecules, such as peptides and other chemical compounds." Further, it is not up to beer manufacturers to validate mass spectrometry or other accepted scientific tests to prove their beer is gluten-free. They have used the proper tests, which are accepted by the scientific community, and those tests show that their beers are gluten-free.

    http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0056452

     

    Might want to check this out

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    A very complicated, technical post but helpful. Does anyone know if Budweiser's Redbridge is gluten-free? I tried Glutiny and thought it was terrible. I must have forgotten what 'real' beer tastes like after all these years. Again, thanks for the post.

    Redbridge is labeled as gluten free and is gluten free. From their website: "We select only the highest quality ingredients and take every measure to ensure the beer contains no wheat or barley. How is that possible? Simple. Redbridge is made from sorghum, a safe grain for those allergic to wheat or gluten, and no blending or mixing of the ingredients takes place in order to preserve its purity. We then apply the true art of brewing – from the brewhouse process through fermentation and aging – to give Redbridge its hand crafted quality and specialty beer taste."

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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