Nature’s Cruel Joke: Beer Allergies

If you are allergic to gluten or hops, we have the greatest sympathy for you.  Food and drink allergies are tough to battle, and we have friends that struggle with them constantly. The numbers of those battling these allergies are high, and as a result, alternatives for beer are popping up at specialty stores around the globe.We hate to see you go without any beer at all, (tears slowly rolling down our faces), so here are a few beers for those of you suffering from this terrible predicament.

Gluten-free Beers:
We've mentioned gluten-free beers before.  They are beers made without any malted grain, instead, they usually use sorghum as the base.  Other gluten-free bases consist of millet, buckwheat and brown rice.  But make sure to double check any recipes that say gluten-free’.

Here's a list of gluten-free beers:

New Grist Beer – Lakefront Brewery, Milwaukee, WI: A gluten-free beer recognized by the government.; It is made from sorghum and rice, and gluten-free yeast grown on molasses. 5.7% ABV.

Bard’s Tale Beer – Bard’s Tale Beer Co. – Norwalk, CN:   A Lager made by gluten allergy sufferers who wanted a beer, this is made from Sorghum and has a floral, crisp flavor.  4.6% ABV.

St. Peter's G-Free – St. Peter's Ales – Suffolk, England:  Crisp, light sorghum ale with citrus notes and Amarillo hops.  4.2% ABV.

Hop Free Beers:
For hop-free ales, you should try the ancient style of beer called 'Gruit.' This is beer made with bittering herbs other than hops. These herbs usually consist of things like rosemary, yarrow, mugwart, sweet gale, seaweed, nettle, pine, Irish moss and heather. A resilient shrub that adds a nice dryness to beer but not the bitterness typical of hops, heather is perhaps the most popular choice for a hop alternative.  It's flavor tends to be more flowery and grassy than hops, with a smooth, clean finish.

Here are a couple of hop-free choices:

13th Century Grut Bier - Brauerei Weihenstephan – Freising, Germany:  Super complex, herbaceous, lemon, ginger, rosemary, light and tart.  4.6% ABV.

Fraoch Heather Ale – Williams Bros. Brewing – Scotland: Floral, peaty aroma, light spicy herbal flavor and dry wine-like finish.  5% ABV.

Again, make sure to double-check the ingredients in Gruit ales, they are most-likely made without hops, but if your allergy is severe, contact the company to make sure, as not all ingredients are listed on beer bottles. Also, sometimes beers made without hops are still brewed in a brewery where hops are used for other beers.