I’m Sara, and I’m a celiac. (Insert – “Hi Sara!”) I was diagnosed over a year ago. Celiac disease is “when eating certain types of grains sets off an immune mediated response that causes measurable damage to the small intestine. This, in turn, interferes with the small intestine’s ability to absorb nutrients in food, leading to malnutrition and a variety of other complications.” Blah blah blah – it sucks. Big time. No wheat. No rye. No barley ever again. Not even a molecule.
The one thing I really, really, really (I’m using the word “really” here three times. Really. A lot. Really.) did not want to give up was beer. I’ve been a beer geek, since I was 18, errrr, I mean 21. Almost thirty years later, I’d guess I’ve tasted more beer than most people taste in a lifetime. I even brewed my own! Since I have quite a few health issues, including my worst – chronic daily migraine – I decided to go completely gluten-free for the rest of my life. Period. Good-bye bread, good-bye pasta, and gulp. Good-bye beer. I packed up my brewing equipment and was ready to sell it on Craig’s List.
But wait! Along with other wonderful, new gluten-free foods (including bread (sort-of) and pasta), there is a burgeoning gluten-free beer industry that reminds me of the craft brewing days of the 80’s and 90’s. Experimental brewers who create beer like you’ve never tasted before! Some really good, and some really bad. Many questions bubbled up into my mind while trying these, um, interesting brews. What the hell is sorghum? Can a celiac drink gluten-free beer made from barley? Is sorghum malt just like barley malt? Some of us may wonder just how beer is made in the first place. And most importantly, can we ever drink beer again that adheres to the Reinheitsgebot? Ummmm, WTF? (The answer is no. I think.)
Here starts my gluten-free beer quest for knowledge. Hopefully I’ll be able to taste g-f beers from around the world! You know that the best way to research beer is to drink as much of it as possible, right? I hope you’ll join me on this intriguing voyage. Let me know if you have questions along the way, and I will try to find the answers. And most exciting of all, let’s get back to drinking some good beer.