Some 1% of the population suffers from Celiac disease—an autoimmune disorder caused by a reaction to the protein gluten found in wheat, barley, and rye (as well as some other grains). The disorder affects the small intestine, leading to a variety of gastrointestinal issues up to and including serious nutrient deficiencies.
Doesn’t sound very pleasant, does it? Celiacs have to avoid foods with gluten in them, and unfortunately that includes beer. Up until recently, there weren’t (for all intents and purposes) any gluten-free commercial beers available; if you were a Celiac sufferer, then you either had to brew your own or seek out very limited craft beers.
But that’s changing. Mid-2005 is when gluten-free beer first caught my attention—at least, as it pertains to Celiac sufferers; I’ve long been interested in beers brewed with grains other than barley or wheat from a homebrewing perspective, but never connected the two until about that time.
Gluten-free beers are a growing niche, but still a small one, and one that deserves highlighting—so all this week I’ll be exploring gluten-free beers, with some reviews, commentary, and pointers to availability, and hopefully building out a nice resource for gluten-free beer while doing so.