College and Beer

Oftentimes, college students who are recently diagnosed with celiac disease and are just embarking on a gluten-free diet have no idea which ingredients are safe and which can be quite harmful.

First steps include teaching them which foods they can eat, which must be avoided, and the importance of adhering strictly to the gluten free diet. Topping their list of concerns always seems to be the question “Can I still drink a cold beer if and when I want?” Whether we like it or not, a majority of college students really enjoy having a beer while at the local pub watching a game, or attending a keg party at their frat house, or alongside their gluten-free pie at the local pizzeria.

Their scholarly faces often fall quickly when they learn that regular beers are typically made from wheat or barley, and must be avoided. This information seems to catch quite a few of them completely off guard, especially when they hear that even consuming the wrong beverage can wreak havoc on their bodies and cause quite a bit of harm. But alas, all is not lost once they learn that the gluten-free beer industry is reaching an all time high! These days there are a number of breweries releasing all sorts of refreshing and interesting gluten-free ales, and many are becoming extremely popular with even mainstream beer consumers.

These breweries have become highly creative and are using innovative gluten-free ingredients such as sorghum, corn, rice, honey and molasses to produce some very tasty beers. The list compiled below includes just some of the gluten-free beers now available in the United States. It is with the explicit understanding that we are not advocating here for the overindulgence in beer consumption by any college student, but merely suggesting that if they do choose to have an occasional beer, that smart and gluten-free choices are always made. Cheers!!!

  • Bards Tale Beer: This golden lager was America’s first gluten-free sorghum beer, and is the only beer containing 100% malted sorghum. It is a golden, amber beer with a light white head, deliciously crafted from water, sorghum, hops, yeast, buckwheat, natural honey, corn and rice.
  • Redbridge: A full-bodied lager brewed from sorghum for a well balanced, modestly hopped taste. This beer consists of a creamy nutshell head with a slight nutty taste.
  • New Planet: New planet is located in Boulder, Colorado and crafts beer using sorghum, corn, hops and yeast. They produce a “Tread Lightly Ale” and a 3R Raspberry Ale. Both beers offer a light body and refreshing taste.
  • Green’s: Inspired by the likes of rich, European beers, Green’s produces beers with a strong body, crisp taste and a refreshing flavor. They craft premium pilsners and high-end golden ales.
  • Lakefront Brewery: A brewery located right in “beer country”—Milwaukee, that produces a light, crisp beer with a thin white head, a touch of sweetness and floral notes called “New Grist”.
  • Ramapo Valley Brewery: Located in Hillburn, New York, Ramapo Valley Brewery makes a honey beer with a bright, golden color brewed from hops, honey and molasses.
  • Obrien Brewery: Obrien’s boasts the world’s first naturally brewed light gluten-free beer. It’s a lager beer with well-balanced bitterness and a light malt and hop character.