Beer is loved by so many people, which makes it one of the most popular drinks worldwide, including beer on tap. Regular beer has been a favorite for decades, however, over the years, gluten-free beers started gaining popularity as well, even with cicerones.
Restaurant owners have started implementing gluten-free beers in their menus to cater to the needs of customers who have allergies, intolerance, or celiac disease. If you are not one of them, it’s crucial to consider the large customer base that would prefer to have gluten-free beverages available.
Having a gluten-free menu is becoming increasingly important for businesses in the hospitality industry. Beer should be a part of that menu because of its popularity amongst drinkers. It’s a type of gluten-free alcohol that can be enjoyed in more casual settings, too.
But what’s the real difference between regular beer and gluten-free beer? Let’s look into some facts and information about these beer varieties.
What’s Regular Beer Made Of?
Beer is made of grain, hops, yeast, and water. The grains used in the process could be barley and wheat, as well as rice, corn, oats, rye, and other varieties.
Wheat and barley need to go through a malting process before they are used to make beer. The other grain varieties don’t need to go through malting.
By using grains in the production of regular beer, the beverage gets three main qualities:
- Malt aroma and flavor, ranging from corn-like to burnt and mocha-like.
- A color that’s determined by the type of malt that’s been used.
- A fermentable material, which is food for the yeast. The sugars derived from the malt give food to the yeast and convert it into alcohol and carbon dioxide.
Key Takeaway: There are some key differences between regular beer and gluten-free beers. What’s common between them is the fact they can offer some health benefits to people and restaurants should widen their beer options.
What’s Gluten-Free Beer Made Of?
Like regular beer, gluten-free beers are made with grains. The difference is that the grains used for the gluten-free drink are sorghum, rice, or millet. Wheat and barley contain gluten, which doesn’t make them suitable to use for gluten-free beverages.
The beer varieties that have no gluten undergo a specific process to reduce the gluten content. This allows people who are suffering from celiac disease or other health-related issues that are triggered by gluten to enjoy a cold one with friends.
What’s Low-Gluten Beer and How It’s Made?
Low-gluten beer is made similarly to barley malt beers but some steps of the brewing process are different. The changes in the process are made to reduce the gluten content of the beer but not remove it entirely.
Deglutinated malt can be used, which is a product of barley malt where the gluten was removed with an industrial process. It’s also possible to use special enzymes at the end of the brewing process in order to reduce the gluten content in the beer.
There’s also an option to keep the ingredients with gluten content to a minimum when creating the beer. Using gluten-free grains as an addition to barley malt will help create low-gluten beer. However, the issue with that is that you can’t always guarantee that the gluten amount is below the set threshold.
Are There Non-Alcoholic Gluten-Free Beers?
There are many beer brands that are offering alcohol-free versions of regular beer. They’ve been available for many years now.
The good news is that non-alcoholic gluten-free drinks now include beer as well. This alternative for people avoiding both gluten and alcohol is available since 2011, thanks to Spain's Ambar brewery. Since then, other businesses jumped on the opportunity and started brewing alcohol and gluten-free beers.
Are There Any Health Benefits of Drinking Beer?
Most people view beer as a guilting pleasure but you may be surprised to learn that it can offer some health benefits, too. When consumed in moderation, of course.
Opening a beer after a long day goes beyond reducing stress and enjoying snacks that pair well with beer. If you are having regular or even gluten-free beer, you can:
- Get valuable nutrients from beer - Beer contains a lot of protein and B vitamins, as well as antioxidants. In addition, some studies show that beer may contain valuable prebiotics that will feed your gut some good bacteria. It’s a source of silicon as well, which could possibly prevent osteoporosis.
- Lower the risk of developing diabetes - A study has shown that people who enjoy beer (in moderation!) 3 to 4 times weekly, as less likely to develop diabetes. This holds true with other types of alcoholic beverages, such as Port wine.
- Help with heart health - Wine is typically the drink associated with heart health (see: benefits of drinking wine). However, you can enjoy beer for the same reason, too! A study has shown that moderate drinkers had the slowest decline in "good" cholesterol levels. This lowers the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
- Build stronger bones - Dairy milk is usually associated with maintaining strong bones. But some recent research shows that moderate beer consumption increases bone density in men.
- Boost brain power - There’s another benefit of having silicon as an ingredient in beer. It helps protect the brain from compounds that can potentially cause cognitive diseases.
- Reduce inflammation - Inflammation in the human body is the underlying cause of various diseases. According to some experts, the hops in beer are actually anti-inflammatory, which is beneficial for people’s health.
What to Do If You Own a Restaurant?
Consumer behavior is changing fast in the last decade and now, business owners need to be more flexible than ever before. To enrich your menu, you should look into vegan drinks, such as coffee beverages with plant-based milk, specialty coffee, matcha drinks, and of course, gluten-free beer, vegan wine, and various non-alcoholic beverages.
Also, to preserve the beverages at your restaurant in a proper way, research the most suitable beverage storage options. Organizing inventory is another key to success. You can do that with the help of beverage inventory software, such as BinWise.
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Frequently Asked Questions about Regular and Gluten-Free Beers
To learn more, check out the answers to some of the most common questions about beer.
How Many Styles of Beer Exist?
There are over 100 styles of beer made in the world. This includes the major beer styles, as well as sub-styles such as India Pale Ale.
What’s the Most Popular Style of Beer?
Lager beers are proving the be the most popular style of beer in the world. Corona and Budweiser are just two of the many popular brands that make lager beer.
Which Are the Most Common Gluten-Free Beer Brands?
The gluten-free beer brands that are most well-known include Ghostfish Brewing Company, Redbridge, Two Brothers, New Grist, Ipswich, and Omission. However, there are many other breweries that produce great gluten-free beers and you can find new brands popping up.
Is gluten-free beer safe for people with celiac disease?
Yes, gluten-free beer is safe for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity as it's made from grains that naturally do not contain gluten. However, always check labels for certification as production processes may vary, possibly leading to cross-contamination.
How does the taste of gluten-free beer compare to regular beer?
The taste of gluten-free beer can differ significantly from regular beer due to the different grains used. Some find it to have a unique flavor that can be enjoyable, while others may need time to adjust, particularly if they're used to traditional barley-based beers.
Are there gluten-removed beers and are they different from gluten-free beers?
Yes, gluten-removed beers are different from gluten-free beers. Gluten-removed beers are made from grains that contain gluten, like barley, but undergo a process to remove or break down the gluten to lower levels.