Justin Bieber ‘Officially Allergic’ to Gluten

Justin Bieber took to Instagram to say he’s searching for a new brew after a discouraging diagnosis.

“Worst news ever I’m officially allergic to gluten,” the pop star said on his Instagram story Saturday night. He went on to say: “No more Coronas unless they make gluten free beer like this!”

Justin Bieber Gluten Allergy

Want the latest gluten-free news, recipes, tips and more? Subscribe to the weekly Gluten-Free Living newsletter here.

Bieber was referring to a pale ale from Omission Brewing. Launched in 2012 by Terry Michaelson and Joe Casey, the company has made it its mission to develop traditional beers for people on a gluten-free diet. Like other craft beers, Omission is brewed with malted barley, hops, water and yeast. An enzyme called Brewers Clarex breaks apart the gluten protein chains, and the beers are packaged in a closed environment to eliminate any cross-contamination risk. It’s important to note that Omission Beer and other “gluten-removed” beers are brewed with barley (which contains gluten). While Omission Beer does undergo a process that breaks down the gluten to less than 20ppm, researchers have found that those and similar “gluten-removed” beers may not be truly gluten-free, and may be unsafe for people with celiac disease. 

What is a wheat allergy?

On his Instagram story Bieber praised the brew, saying it’s “actually fire.”

Bieber didn’t elaborate on his condition and it’s unclear when he received the diagnosis. A wheat allergy can cause several symptoms in those affected. Exposure to wheat can lead to breathing difficulties, nausea, hives, bloating, and inability to focus. In some cases, a life-threatening allergic reaction can occur.

Looking for the basic ground rules of the gluten-free diet? Click here for everything you need to know to get started.

8 Lip-Smacking Gluten-Free Beer Alternatives

GF beer alternatives featured image

Beer is the drink of choice for many football fans—but not everyone enjoys the taste. If you’re not a beer drinker, check out these gluten-free alternatives to savor during the Big Game on Sunday.

Hard sodas

The hottest area of growth at the moment is the rise of “hard” sodas. While many of the popular alcoholic root
beers include barley malt, there are several that pass muster for those on a gluten-free diet. Louisiana’s Abita
Brewing Company offers an alcoholic version of its famous root beer. It’s the first product in the brewery’s line
of Bayou Bootlegger hard sodas and can be found primarily east of the Mississippi River. The flavor profile
delivers aromas of wintergreen, vanilla and sassafras, with hints of clove and anise.

Root Sellers’ Row Hard Root Beer
Root Sellers’ Pedal Hard Ginger Beer

Root Sellers, based in Missouri with distribution
concentrated in the Midwest and New England,
brews its Row Hard Root Beer without grains.
Row Hard is made with pure cane sugar, molasses, spices and botanicals. The brewery
also produces gluten-free Pedal Hard Ginger
Beer, brewed with ginger root, molasses and
cane sugar.

Combining fruits and vegetables, the brewery’s Himmel & Erde Carrot Apple Ale presents another gluten-free beverage option. Based on a German dish with potatoes and applesauce, the ale is made from fermented carrot juice and added sweetener that is part apple juice.

Hard sparkling water

For a lighter fizz, look for gluten-free “hard” sparkling waters such as those from Truly Spiked & Sparkling
and SpikedSeltzer. Distribution for both brands is rapidly expanding beyond the companies’ New England
bases into the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states.


Boston Beer, the producer of gluten-free
Angry Orchard alcoholic ciders, introduced
its Truly brand in April 2016. This spiked
sparkling water with a hint of fruit is an
alternative to light beer, especially for
those seeking something refreshing
made with simple ingredients and no
artificial flavors or sweeteners. Truly’s
three flavors—Colima lime, grapefruit
and pomelo, and pomegranate—are
100 calories per 12-ounce serving and
have 2 grams of carbohydrates.



SpikedSeltzer's four varieties. Photo by Edward Garrity for SpikedSeltzer.
SpikedSeltzer’s four varieties. Photo by Edward Garrity for SpikedSeltzer.

The first hard seltzer brand, SpikedSeltzer
launched in 2013 and is available in four
flavors: West Indies Lime, Indian River
Grapefruit, Valencia Orange, and Cape Cod
Cranberry. The alcohol in SpikedSeltzer is
derived from cold-brewed sugar, resulting in
a low-carb, low-calorie drink. Even Oprah is
a fan, featuring it as The Find in the June 2016
issue of her O magazine on account of its
refreshing, fruity and just-sweet-enough taste.







While obscure, mead is one of the oldest alcoholic drinks in existence. Also known as honey wine, mead is
created by fermenting honey with water and, unless grains are added (a variety known as braggot), it is gluten
free. Like wine, mead can be dry or sweet, still or sparkling.

Photo by Kerry Trusewicz
B. Nektar Tuco-Style Freakout. Photo by Kerry Trusewicz.

Mead makers, which number fewer than
200 in the U.S. (compared to more than
6,000 wineries), tend to focus on local or
regional distribution given their size.
B. Nektar in Michigan, which opened its
doors on National Mead Day (who knew!)
in 2008, produces several varieties of mead
with fun labels and names, including Zombies
Take Manhattan, Kill All the Golfers and Dragons
Are Real. Give one a try for National Mead Day
on August 6!






The producer of the famed Stolichnaya vodka released a completely new gluten-free recipe to meet the
needs of consumers. Made with 88% corn and 12% buckwheat, Stoli Gluten Free is available nationwide.
The vodka is labeled “gluten free” pursuant to the U.S. government’s labeling classification, which requires
alcoholic beverages to be made with naturally gluten-free ingredients.


Tito’s vodka, produced at the oldest distillery
in Texas, is made with corn instead of potatoes
and certified gluten free by the Gluten
Intolerance Group. According to founder and
owner Tito Beveridge, “some producers add a
little bit of mash back into the spirit after
distillation, which would add gluten content into
an otherwise gluten-free distillate [if using wheat
as the base], but I don’t do that regardless.”
Made in batches using old-fashioned pot stills,
Tito’s has grown exponentially since the first
case was sold in 1997 and is now one of the
best-selling vodkas in the U.S.


Gluten Found in Gluten-Removed Beer

So-called gluten-removed beer may not be safe for people with
celiac disease. The Gluten Intolerance Group raised this concern after testing a new method for detecting gluten.

The Brewing Process

Brewing breaks barley gluten into smaller pieces. To make gluten-removed beers, brewers add additional enzymes to break down the fragments even further. Beer companies argue the resulting protein fragments are too small to be recognized as gluten by the immune systems of people with celiac disease.

These claims are difficult to prove. Standard food safety tests measure whole gluten proteins. Once these have been broken down, no one knows absolutely what fragments remain or how toxic they may be for people with celiac disease. Although some tests can detect certain fragments, experts have not agreed on a test sensitive enough to catch all of them. For this reason, U.S. guidelines prohibit gluten-free labels on any beer made from wheat, barley
or rye.

A New Way to Detect Gluten

The Gluten Intolerance Group tried a new approach: testing reactivity of beer with antibodies from human blood. The study took blood samples from 31 people with untreated celiac disease and 29 without celiac for comparison. These were used to test samples of barley, regular commercial beer, gluten-removed beer and gluten-free beer. Gluten-free beers include those made from grains other than wheat, barley and rye.

Antibodies from 11 of 31 celiac patients reacted significantly to barley. Four of the 11 also reacted to conventional beer while three reacted to gluten-removed beer. A variable response was expected, as people with celiac disease are known to react differently to different strains of wheat and barley. Meanwhile, one of the 29 control samples reacted with barley but not with any of the beers. The results show both conventional beer and gluten-removed beer can contain protein residue potentially harmful to people with celiac disease.

None of the celiac disease patients reacted to gluten-free beer.

Gluten-Free World at Your Fingertips

App enables gluten-free eaters all over the world to share their favorite spots
Gluten Free World featured image 3











Whether in your hometown or traveling abroad, the Gluten-Free World app aims to help you find pubs, restaurants, bakeries, cafes and even stores so you can relax and enjoy yourself instead of wasting time researching. The app provides not only the name but also hours and directions to each spot.

In the beginning, there was beer…

PinPub@3xIt all started when two blokes in London—one of whom with gluten intolerance—found themselves struggling to find a place to kick back with a gluten-free beer after work. Finding the process of researching pubs and bars highly inefficient, they developed the app London Gluten Free, which listed pubs in London where they had found gluten-free beers. As the app gained traction and positive feedback from users, the blokes thought, “Why limit this to London? Why limit it to beers?” Those two simple questions led them to develop and launch Gluten-Free World in August 2015.

Now covering more than 200 cities in 55 countries, the app grows daily as its expanding user base (currently more than 1,000 people worldwide) shares their favorite places for a good beer, meal with friends or quick cup of coffee—and all gluten free. Based on a crowd-sourcing model, anyone can add a gluten-free spot to the map.

Ever-expanding Gluten-Free World

In addition to its users, Gluten-Free World has a team of researchers working to fill the map in areas where the app does not yet have any entries. And anyone can directly contact them about adding coverage for an area. For example, a user whose hometown does not yet have any entries or even someone with upcoming travel plans to an uncovered locale can email the team, who can then research the area and add appropriate places to the map.

gluten_free_world_logo_darkblueThe tremendously interactive relationship between the Gluten-Free World team and the app’s community of users works both ways, too. Followers of the Gluten-Free World Instagram account
are asked for their opinions on proposed new features before any resources are dedicated to development. The team also asks for and welcomes feedback about user experience, including bugs, and missing features that would make the app more helpful.

This collaborative effort led to the app’s September 2016 update, which improved search by allowing users to find a destination by business name, city or keyword. Future updates will add reviews and ratings as well as indicators to distinguish between celiac-friendly establishments and those that simply offer gluten-free items—a direct result of feedback from users with celiac disease who raised concerns about cross-contamination.

Want more gluten-free news?

Sign up for our free e-newsletter to receive gluten-free recipes, news, articles and more delivered to your inbox each week.

Gluten-free beers shine at annual festival


GABF logo_framed

For Ground Breaker Brewing, the second Saturday in October was a dark day. That’s when the Portland gluten-free brewery was awarded a gold medal for its Dark Ale at the 2016 Great American Beer Festival in Denver, the largest commercial beer competition in the world. While the popular event is now in its 35th year, the Gluten-Free Beer category was added only nine years ago. Since then, the number of entrants in the sector has grown significantly—
this year 37 beers were submitted for consideration, up from eight in 2007. Here are the top three award winners:


GB_bottle_DarkAle2 framed

Ground Breaker’s Dark Ale

For their Dark Ale, Ground Breaker’s brewmasters use espresso-like roasted chestnuts
and lentils along with dark Belgian-style candi for a roasty flavor and aroma with notes of chocolate and dark fruits.

This is the fifth year in a row Ground Breaker has medaled at the Festival, though its first two awards came under a different name. Previously known as Harvester Brewing, the brewery changed its name to avoid a dispute with a California winery several years ago.

Ground Breaker offers its beers at the Portland gastropub next to its brewery on an all-gluten-free menu that features the likes of smoked brisket sandwiches, BLTs and peach-almond sticky buns with sweet corn ice cream. Outside of Oregon, Ground Breaker beers are distributed elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest as well as in New England and California. The Dark Ale and other varieties are available online to 36 states.


ALT Brew Copperhead framed

ALT Brew’s Copperhead Copper Ale

Wisconsin’s ALT Brew—previously Greenview Brewing—made its first appearance on the winners list this year, taking a silver medal for its Copperhead Copper Ale. The ale, brewed with roasted millet, is one of
three available at the brewery’s taproom in Madison.

According to its website, ALT Brew is hand-crafted one barrel at a time
and made entirely from gluten-free ingredients on equipment solely
dedicated to gluten-free production. When brewmaster Trevor Easton’s
wife was diagnosed with a gluten intolerance, they could no longer share
their love of beer in the same way. Finding that the available gluten-free
options did not hold up to the quality of craft beers—and that it was no
fun to raise a beer alone—Trevor began developing a gluten-free recipe
that would live up to the expectations of craft beer lovers.


Grapefruit framedGhostfish Brewing Company’s Grapefruit IPA

For the second year in a row, the festival judges bestowed a bronze medal upon Seattle’s Ghostfish Brewing Company for its Grapefruit IPA. This beer is crafted with grapefruit peel and bitter Washington state hops.

Ghostfish Brewing Company aims to elevate gluten-free beer to the forefront
of craft brewing innovation, according to its website. All three of its founders
are either gluten intolerant themselves or have loved ones who are, so they are acutely aware of the need for variety and flavor in gluten-free craft beers.

All of Ghostfish’s beers are sold at its gluten-free taproom, where the menu
also includes pizza, fish and chips, and ice cream sandwiches. The beers are
also available at retailers throughout Washington. Eight of the company’s beers, including the award-winning India Pale Ale, can be ordered online and shipped
to 28 states plus the District of Columbia.


What about gluten-reduced beer?

The festival’s Gluten-Free Beer category includes only beers made from fermentable sugars, grains and converted carbohydrates. Gluten-reduced beers are not considered part of this grouping because their gluten levels—derived from malted barley—have been reduced by enzymes or other processes.


Did You Know Hard Cider Is Gluten Free?


The weather is getting cooler, and the return of apple season brings with it another gluten-free alcohol option for autumn. As consumer demand for gluten-free and gluten-removed beers grows, so does the market for beer alternatives, including hard cider. Ryan Burk, head cider maker at Angry Orchard Cider Co. in Walden, N.Y., said hard cider offers a unique, flavorful beverage option for people who follow a gluten-free diet. Cider is made from apples, which do not contain gluten.

“All of our styles are made with the highest-quality ingredients and are naturally gluten free,” he said. “Ciders like Angry Orchard offer drinkers with celiac disease or gluten intolerance a refreshing alternative to wine or beer.”

Cider was one of the most popular alcoholic beverages in Colonial times, primarily due to the abundance of apples, Burk said. In recent years, people have started to rediscover and introduce cider to their friends. There are a variety of reasons for cider’s resurgence, he said, including the popularity of the gluten-free diet and the gluten-free nature of cider.

“We’re also seeing drinkers start to experiment with hard cider much like they did with craft beer years ago, through using cider as an ingredient in cooking, pairing cider with foods and even [using it] in cocktail recipes,” he said.

Cider makers are introducing new products to satisfy consumer demand. Earlier this year, Angry Orchard added Knotty Pear and The Old-Fashioned to its Orchard’s Edge series of ciders inspired by unexpected ingredients and aging processes.

Despite its recent growth, cider still makes up only about 1% of the total beer market in the U.S., Burk said. That’s compared to more than 15% in places with a stronger cider tradition, such as the United Kingdom.

Creative gluten-free beers take top awards

gluten-free beer
Ground Breaker gluten-free beer wins gold

The Great American Beer Festival has come a long way since introducing a gluten-free beer category in 2007.

In the early years, Anheuser-Busch’s Redbridge was a frequent medal winner at the annual festival – the American brewing industry’s top competition – held since 1982. Since then, however, upstart craft brewers have taken over the leader board with their creative takes on traditional beer styles.

Judges considered 20 entries in the 2014 event, which took place last weekend in Denver. Only beers made from fermentable sugars, grains and converted carbohydrates are allowed in the gluten-free beer category. Gluten-reduced beers, such as Omission, are not considered because their original ingredients have gluten content that has been reduced by enzymes or other processes.

Interestingly, two of this year’s winners combine their breweries with onsite gastropubs that serve only gluten-free food.

Oregon’s Ground Breaker Brewing was awarded gold for its Dark Ale, which uses an espresso-like roast of chestnuts, sorghum and organic lentils. This is the third year in a row Ground Breaker has medaled at the festival, though its first two awards came under a different name. Previously known as Harvester Brewing, the brewery but changed its name to avoid a dispute with a California wine company.

Its award-winning beers, all of which are gluten free, complement a Portland pub menu that features blueberry-glazed trout, bánh mì sandwiches and fig bread pudding. Outside of Oregon, Ground Breaker beers are distributed in Washington State, Idaho and British Columbia.

Bonfire Brewing of Eagle, Colorado, took the silver medal with its Glutart raspberry ale, made with sorghum and molasses. The beer’s tartness and pink hue come from 84 pounds of raspberries added to the beer following fermentation.

Shine Brewing’s lone gluten-free ale, Liberation, came in third at the festival. The Colorado brewer’s sorghum-based beer is made with honey, blackstrap molasses and malted millet. Chicory and lemon balm are added for their antioxidant qualities.

At Shine’s all-gluten-free restaurant in downtown Boulder, diners can choose from the likes of tempura coconut shrimp, mac and cheese and grain-free ravioli.

Michael Savett is the author of the gluten-free blog,Gluten Free Philly. He’s also a regular contributor to Gluten-Free Living.

The future of Redbridge Gluten-Free Beer

There was a ripple of news on social networking sites yesterday about the future of Anheuser -Busch’s gluten-free Redbridge beer. On Twitter there were tweets that said the company was planning to discontinue the beer next month.

But a company spokesman late yesterday told Gluten-Free Living the beer giant has no plans to discontinue Redbridge in the near or distant future. He was perplexed about the rumor and said he had no idea where it might have come from.

Just recently, Gluten-Free Living was told that the beer was selling extremely well, so we were not sure what to make of rumors of Redbridge’s demise. Until we officially hear otherwise, we are going to count on the continued availability of a product that is appreciated by a significant segment of the adult gluten-free community.


In other news about gluten-free offerings from a well known national chain, Starbucks is now selling”lucy’s” gluten-free cookies at select locations. The Virginian-Pilot reported that Starbucks this week began stocking the Norfolk company’s cookies in 6,000 of Starbucks’ 11,000 locations nationwide. The newspaper said Starbucks is waiting to see how successful they are before saying anything about further availability.

The pre-packaged cookies are part of Starbucks lineup of “on-the-go” snacks. Chocolate chip, sugar and cinnamon flavors are available at $1.50 for four or $5.95 for 16. In addition to being gluten-free, the cookies do not contain milk, butter, eggs, casein, peanuts or tree nuts. They are also cholesterol and trans fat free. Several stores, including Whole Foods, also sell them.

In addition to “lucy’s” cookies, Starbucks this week added a variety of gluten-free snacks, including Food Should Taste Good chips, Two Moms in the Raw granola, several fruit snacks, and nuts.

The company discontinued it’s pastry-case gluten-free Orange Valencia cake almost as fast as Conan is being squeezed off the Tonight show at NBC.

We’ll have to wait to see if the gluten-free cookies get a longer run, more like Jay Leno.