Yeast Options for Gluten Free Beer

img_0281In honor of #NationalBeerDay last Friday, this post from Gluten Free Watchdog is very timely. Thanks as always to Tricia for her amazing work. For those of you who can, subscribe to her website for the most up-to-date education and laboratory testing of the g-f food we love to eat.

Anyone who has brewed beer is familiar with the little liquid yeast bottles pictured above. Yeast is yeast is yeast, right? And yeast is g-f, so now worries. With all things celiac, it’s just not that simple. Who knew that yeast is often grown on barley? (News flash: I didn’t). I did know that yeast is also collected from beer that has been already brewed, so if it’s gluten-full beer, that seems like a bad option. And since beer is not regulated by the FDA for gluten content, and ingredient listing on labels is optional, it sure is a tricky industry for celiacs.

A statement by Tricia’s interviewee in this article reminds all of us celiacs that when asking people who make our food and drink if we are able to consume it, it’s equally important how the person answers our questions as to the content of those answers. Does this person know what celiac is? Has this company thoroughly researched its ingredients? Do they truly know about cross-contamination and how dangerous it is to celiacs? Sometimes it’s even just the “vibe” or feeling you get from a person. Who can forget this conversation,¬†although an easy one to figure out?

One of my goals this year is to brew a batch of gluten-free beer. When I was diagnosed with celiac two and a half years ago, I wanted to sell all of my home brewing equipment and give up. Then I started noticing that there are a lot of g-f home brewing kits and ingredients out there. This article about yeast is certainly another piece in the puzzle and shows how much research I still have to do before I get brewing! That is, if I can get my health to the point where I can brew again. I’m not there yet, and this weekend I was bedridden with one of the worst migraines I’ve had in a long time, combined with some kind of stomach flu/fever. It’s hard to do anything besides work and basic personal care when one is this sick, but as other chronically ill patients and pain patients know, we just get back on the horse on a daily or hourly basis and try to put one foot forward again (or is that the horse’s foot we put forward)?

Happy brewing, cooking and eating celiac people!

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