Why gluten-free? Celiac disease is estimated to affect one out of every 133 people in the U.S. This autoimmune disorder means that those affected can’t consume anything containing wheat, rye or barley. If they do, they often suffer symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea and fatigue. To make maters worse, nearly 97% of those affected remain undiagnosed and don’t even know they are suffering from the disorder.
Dane Breimhorst, our master brewer and co-founder, has Celiac disease. If he has anything containing gluten, he ends up curled up in a fetal position, howling in pain. Not cool. Dane is also a connoisseur of craft beer. So you can imagine the horror he experienced when he was told he wouldn’t be able to drink it anymore.
Luckily for you (and him) Dane is a home brewer and a professionally trained chef. So he has taken these two talents and put them to work to overcome this challenge and make it possible for you (and him) to once again enjoy great tasting beer.
What is gluten-free? According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), gluten-free means that a product contains less than 20 ppm (parts per million) of gluten from wheat, rye, barley and possibly oats (jury is still out on oats). This is also the standard the European Union uses when it defines gluten-free, however we believe gluten-free should mean free from gluten.
Many foods are naturally gluten-free, like milk, meat, fruits, vegetables, etc. However, products that are usually made with some sort of grain tend to have wheat as an ingredient. Many products also use gluten as a thickener. All of this makes finding food that is safe to eat (or drink!) very difficult for a person who is either Celiac or gluten-intolerant.
Gluten is actually a protein that gives elasticity to dough and helps it rise. It’s what makes food stick together. According to Wikipedia, the word is Latin for “glue”.
People who have Celiac disease can’t tolerate gluten proteins. It inflames the bowel and makes life generally uncomfortable. Like rolling on the floor clutching your belly in pain uncomfortable. Like could possibly kill you bad. People who are gluten sensitive or gluten intolerant have similar reactions, though usually not so severe. Many people find that when they stop eating wheat and other grains with gluten, their overall health improves. What sucks is this eliminates beer from their diets.
That’s where Burning Brothers comes in. We make gluten-free beer that is lower in gluten than what the FDA requires. In fact, we are so committed to this that we don’t allow any product containing gluten to enter our brewery for fear of cross-contamination.