Recently the Widmer Brothers Brewery released two new beers, starting the Omission series, of gluten free beers, made with Barley. According to FDA guidelines, however, products that are made with ingredients that contain or once contained gluten cannot be labeled as gluten free. So our friends at Widmer Brothers have taken a novel approach to satisfying the needs of the gluten free public, while offering a beer brewed with traditional beer ingredients – including malted barley. Due to people closely involved with their family and the brewery needing to be gluten free, the Widmer Brothers have spent the last six years cloistered in a small room surrounded by test tubes and Bunsen burners (ok, I lied, beer mugs and allergen experts) developing a unique brewing program that allows them to remove the gluten from Omission beer after the beer is made.
Labeling restrictions aside, the Omission brand is the first craft beer brand in the United States focused exclusively on brewing great tasting craft beers with traditional beer ingredients, including malted barley, that are specially crafted to be gluten-free. To be certain they are putting out a product that will be safe for those with Celiac disease or other gluten sensitivities, every batch is sent to two independent laboratories for testing using the R5 Competitive ELISA test to ensure that they are below the international gluten free standard of 20ppm or less. The FDA has proposed the same gluten-free threshold, but has not yet formally adopted this standard.
Additionally, the Omission team has set up a system where consumers can view test results for their own bottle of Omission beer. Consumers are encouraged to visit:http://omissiontests.com/ , enter the date code stamped on the bottle, and view actual test results from the lab, to ensure that the beer meets your health requirements.
Now that the technical stuff is out of the way, let me just say this: This is the first gluten free beer I have tried that has been taste indistinguishable from beer with gluten still in it. The beers are delicious and will be a welcome relief for those who have been unable to enjoy their favorite grain based libation due to health issues. Finally, a gluten free beer, made with Barley that tastes just like a beer should.