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pamwagner

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  1. BEER Beer lovers with celiac disease now can get suds without gluten Wednesday, May 09, 2007 Scott Stephens Plain Dealer Reporter When he was diagnosed with celiac disease, my colleague Chris Quinn was certain he had quaffed his last beer. People with the condition, which affects some 3 million Americans, have a gluten intolerance that means avoiding foods and beverages containing wheat, rye and barley. For Quinn - formerly a home brewer - and millions like him, the thought of an icy-cold brew on a hot summer's day was about as likely as a vacation on Mars. And then, salvation. Quinn opened a bottle of Bard's Tale Dragon's Gold, a refreshing golden amber brewed in Buffalo that looks, smells and tastes like a well-crafted wheat beer. "I was just tickled to have a beer," he admitted. "And this was pretty good." Today, the market is offering more and more gluten-free beers that are made with buckwheat or sorghum, which replaced wheat or barley in the malting process. The beers still contain alcohol. Anheuser-Busch recently released Redbridge, a beer made with sorghum. The brewing giant's move probably means there's a significant market for gluten-free brews. Redbridge is a surprisingly hearty lager that can hold its own with many domestics. It costs about $8 for a six-pack and is widely available at area supermarkets and beverage stores. "Sorghum is the primary ingredient," Kristin Zantop, an Anheuser-Busch brewmaster, explained in a statement issued by the company. "We then use the lager-brewing process using imported Hallertau and domestic Cascade hops without adding wheat or barley to give Redbridge its rich, hearty taste." Some other gluten-free beers are harder to find, but apparently worth looking for: Green's beers out of England have received good notices for variety and flavor. So have New France Beers out of Canada. Ramapo Valley Brewery in New York also produces a well-regarded Honey Passover Beer with Kosher yeast. That's all good news for beer-lovers like Quinn. But he still has one request. "I'm still hoping for a gluten-free Guinness," he said. To reach this Plain Dealer reporter: sstephens@plaind.com, 216-999-4827
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