Here at Craft Brewing Business, we’re not just about brewing improvement; we’re also about life improvement. When our readers reach out, we’re there to lend a helping hand. So we bring you the CBB Mail Bag — you ask questions; we get answers. We encourage all of our readers to email us. You can reach out to Editor Jason Morgan ([email protected]), and we’ll dive into our archives and hunt down the industry professionals with the answers. Let’s dive into our first reader question.
I read your article titled “Master maltsters reveal how to strengthen your malt supply chain” in research of another question. I am hoping that you can provide some insight into it for me.
I am a home brewer and absolutely love the beer I produce. Recently I have been pulling back on gluten, mainly breads and stuff, to try to live a more healthy lifestyle. Now, I definitely do not want to do that for my beer and have been doing some research in gluten intolerance.
Some researchers are saying that it may not be the gluten that actually affects the intolerance, but is a weed killer, glyphosate, that messes with the bacteria in our gut that in turn hurts us. Looking at the link below, it can be seen that the weed killer is regularly used for weed management with barley crops.
Now my question is, are the malts that I get from the home brew supply store coming from barley that maybe has this weed killer? Should I buy organic to avoid it and to produce a beer that is better on my stomach? Also, is there imported barley that I can buy that may not use this week killer?
Any answers would be much appreciated.
As far as gluten in beer goes, from our research and feature stories, there is no real way to avoid gluten other than avoiding the protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain sources. According to New Planet gluten-free Brewer Pedro Gonzalez, you have to avoid barley to achieve a truly gluten-free beer. Here’s the story:
There is also a gluten-reduced option in which you still brew with the barley but then use an enzyme to break up the protein. The gluten still exists in the beer, but many find that the dismembered gluten protein alleviates the symptoms of gluten sensitivity. Here’s the full story on that:
As far as what’s available for homebrewing, we’re not medical professionals, but as far as we know, if you use anything that contains gluten, you’ll still feel the physical impact of gluten, regardless of the pesticides, or lack there of, used on the barley.