We believe that great craft beer should be accessible to everyone. Simple. It’s for that very reason that we ensure all of Drop Bear’s beers are and always will be gluten free. Brewing gluten free alcohol free beer requires a great deal of knowledge, ingenuity and innovation.
Let’s explore how we achieve great tasting gluten free alcohol free beers.
What is classed as gluten free?
In the UK, anything below 20ppm of gluten is classed as gluten free.
Some brewers utilise gluten-free grains such as sorghum, millet, rice, or corn as a base for fermentation. These grains offer a suitable alternative to barley, ensuring the final product remains gluten-free. These beers often have slightly different aromas and flavours to regular beer.
The alternative approach used by many brewers including us at Drop Bear, involves utilising gluten-containing malt, such as wheat, barley, or rye. A process to reduce the gluten content to meet the legal requirement is then implemented. One effective method is the application of an enzyme during the initial stages of fermentation, which facilitates the breakdown of gluten proteins.
An excellent example of this technique is Brewers Clarex®, which also serves the purpose of reducing chill haze in beer. By utilising a protease enzyme, Brewers Clarex® efficiently degrades gluten levels to below the 20 ppm threshold. This allows the beer to be designated as gluten free. However, since these beers are brewed from barley, it is a legal requirement to mention the presence of barley on the labeling. This ensures clear identification for people seeking gluten-free options specifically made from barley.
The Drop Bear process of brewing alcohol free beers already produces a beer that is naturally below 20ppm gluten. Further reassurance is then provided via the addition of Brewer’s Clarex, degrading any present gluten. We test every single batch of beer in a certified laboratory so that we can confidently label our beers as <20ppm. Despite being gluten free, we legally have to add to the label that the beer is brewed with barley. Labelling may be confusing to some but we hope discussions such as this help clarify how our beers are gluten free.
Read more about this on Coeliac UK.