The other day I was at the Liquor Store and was trying to find a yummy GF beer. The majority of them are “alright,” but nothing great. (That’s not quite synonymous with they mostly suck). The gentleman working at the liquor store tole me about Estrella Damm Daura. So, since it doesn’t say GF, and since I generally even doubt most things that do say GF in a liquor store, I googled it. Lo and behold it was GF, so naturally it had to come home with me.
It turns out this is a lager as opposed to a beer. I wondered what is the difference? Once again I turned to my friend, google, and found “The Beer Tutor.” I found:
“Ales are made with “top-fermenting” strains of yeast which means that the yeast ferments at the top of the fermentation tank. Actually, they typically rise to the top of the tank near the end of fermentation. Ale yeasts also tend to produce chemicals called esters that can affect the flavor of the beer, depending on which strain of yeast is used. Note that in rare cases, there are some brewers that use “bottom-fermenting” yeasts to make ales. Lagers use “bottom-fermenting” yeasts which sink to the bottom of the tank and ferment there. Because they collect on the bottom of the tank, they can often be reused. The yeast in lagers does not usually add much in the way of flavor. This typically comes from the other ingredients in the brew (malt, hops, etc).”
On the Daura Web site I discovered that even though 20 ppm is considered safe, they test Daura to be less than 3 ppm. I personally would like 0 ppm but I’m drinking it now with no side effects, so I feel fairly good about it. Daura is made in Spain and their Web site says “According to the Spanish Federation of Coeliac Associations, there are 40,000 people diagnosed with ceoliac disease, a figure that is growing by 15% annually. However, since it is an infra-diagnosed disease, it is estimated that the real number of cases is around 400,000 individuals.”
Wow, celiac is growing by 15% annually. No wonder I am meeting so many gluten intolerant people. I know many people, myself included, that know we have a gluten intolerance and we don’t care if we have a diagnosis or not. I have a friend who went through tons of testing, they couldn’t find anything wrong, she gave up gluten at my urging and is doing great. So, why suffer through awful tests, when I know what I know? Oy vey. Some people can be silly. Daura has won “Gold Medal at the International Beer Challenge and the World’s Best Gluten-free Lager Award at the World Beer Awards.” But then I read on, and once again, I have my doubts. It is made from barley, but uses a refining method that removes the gluten. Then I began to have a very, mild gluten attack. Probably the lightest attack ever, but still, I know how it feels.
Then I came across this comment on another blog and I get it. I am kidnapping the comment, I have no idea who posted it (except it’s a guy named Otis. Otis said “Be careful drinking these. They are brewed with an industrial enzyme named Brewers Clarex. This enzyme is ridiculously cool because it actually breaks apart the gluten protein, and a lot of other proteins. As with anything that’s too good to be true though, it looks like this might actually be problematic because while the gluten no longer exists (and therefore avoids all gluten tests), but the truth is that people aren’t having problems with gluten protein, but rather 3 of the peptides in the protein. As of yet no research has been done to see if those peptides still exist in the final product or not.”
I don’t need research to know I’ve been glutenated. So I guess I’m still on the GF beer quest. Oh well, I did learn a lot about beer making. Maybe someday I’ll brew my own.
Note: Four hours after this I am still suffering from a gluten attack. I only drank 2/3rds of a bottle. If you are extremely sensitive (as I am) don’t drink it. Under the new regulations this will not be allowed to call itself GF. Maybe that’s why it’s on the companies Web site as GF but not on the actual bottles. Sneaky.