About 5-10 percent of America has celiac disease, a condition that causes them to have trouble digesting food and drink that has gluten in it. This has led to a slow growth in gluten-free products. Beer is one of those things that folks who suffer from celiac disease can’t generally have.
However, in recent years, smaller brewers have started to make gluten-free beers to help satisfy this market. Two celiacs started Bard’s Tale Brewery to help serve the thirsty, gluten-rejecting masses, and in 2006, the United Kingdom hosted the first gluten-free beer festival.
And now the Delaware-based Dogfish Head Beer is getting into the act.
The brewer is now shipping the gluten-free seasonal brew Tweason’ale at the price of $9.99 for four bottles, according to the Washington Post, which describes it thusly:
Tweason’ale is fermented from sorghum syrup and a dark buckwheat honey, and flavored with strawberries that the brewery mashes in a wood press. It’s got a brisk, champagnelike carbonation and a subtle, sweet-tart fruitiness. The honey, added to the brew kettle near the end of the boil, adds a floral aroma but not much in the way of sweetness or body. Tweason’ale is light on the palate, and at 6 percent alcohol by volume, moderate by Dogfish standards.
"We know it's something we and the beer community have been getting requests on, and we said why not try it?" Dogfish VP Mariah Calagione said to Delmarva Now. "We don't know how it's going to do, but there's definitely interest in it."
Dogfish President Sam Calagione says the top request to the craft brewer from every source – its pub regulars, website, Twitter, and Facebook fans – is for a gluten-free brew. "But not just any gluten-free beer — they want gluten-free with gusto."
According to the seasonal brew's homepage,
We believe health-conscious beer drinkers and the millions of Americans who suffer from Celiac disease can cut back on gluten while relishing the distinction and drinkability of this very special brew. Tweasonale is a seasonal for between the seasons. It will first hit shelves in late January 2012 and will be released four times a year through our national network of distributors.
There is still a ways to go before Anheuser Busch InBev starts cranking out gluten-free brews on any kind of massive scale, but to the gluten-free consumer, it must feel good to finally be able to sit down and just have a beer.