Omission Lager, a barley-based beer made with a proprietary process that strips the gluten protein from the brew, took home top honors in the "gluten-free beer" category at the 16th annual Great International Beer & Cider Competition. Omission Pale Ale won second at the competition, held earlier this month in Providence, R.I.
St. Peter's Dark Sorghum, brewed at St. Peter's Brewery in Suffolk, U.K., took third in the gluten-free beer category.
Omission, which launched earlier this year, was a new entry at the competition, which included 470 beers and ciders competing in 44 categories of ales, lagers and ciders. Judging was by blind taste test, with the judges informed only of the style and subcategory of each beer and cider.
Omission beer is made by Craft Brew Alliance, which tests each batch to ensure it contains "well below" the accepted standard of less than 20 parts per million of gluten. (Testing results on Omission's website indicate it comes in below 10 parts per million.)
As regular readers know, I've urged caution in drinking beers made from "de-glutened" barley, which currently include Omission and Estrella Damm Daura ... especially if you tend to react badly to alcohol made from gluten grains, such as whiskey or wheat-based vodka (read more on that in my article Is Alcohol Gluten-Free?). I won't be reviewing them because I'm one who does have bad reactions to gluten-grain-based alcohol.
However, there's plenty of interest out there in the gluten-free community in beers that actually taste like ... beer.
Omission and Daura, which by all accounts are excellent beers, definitely fill that void for those who can drink them without reacting -- and that does seem to be a substantial percentage of the celiac and gluten-sensitive community.
An informal poll I did at the time of Omission's launching found that almost one-third of those replying already had tried de-glutened barley-based beer, and loved it. Meanwhile, one in eight tried it and got sick from it. (To participate in the poll, which is still open, visit Beer Made with De-Glutened Barley - Would You Drink It?)
It's obvious that de-glutened barley-based beer fills a major void, and helps to improve the gluten-free quality of life for many of us. The bottom line: Go slowly with these beers until you're sure you don't react. If you don't, then enjoy!
For more on what's available in beers and cider we can drink, visit:
Photo © Getty Images/Jack Andersen