I'm not an alcoholic. I'm gluten and wheat sensitive which means beer is out of the question. Whenever I cheat and have "just one" I feel like I have swallowed an inner tube. There are a few times of year when this really bums me out: St. Patrick's Day and Summer. I know Summer is more than one event and don't I know it. I love Chicago's festivals but it's such a drag when I can't have that afternoon beer. There's something magical about having a beer when the sun is shining. It's refreshing . . . not too sweet and always puts one in a good mood especially at those uber-crowded festivals.
I'm not a PBR drinker. I wish I liked cheap beer. I'm a foodie at heart. I want to go to all those tastings and experience well thought out pairings. I love all those foreign and fancy-chocolate-pumpkin beers. I miss Guinness. Stella Artois was a favorite too. Oh and the polish beers! I don't think they have a gluten-free beer at Polish Fest?
As many food allergy sufferers know you cope by focusing on what you can have versus what you cannot. You can at least find wine at most festivals. You can confirm if your favorites are truly dairy free by checking on Barnivore
, which is a site dedicated to helping readers choose vegan booze and wine (vegan booze is dairy free by default). By the way, Celiac.com
also has this wonderful list of gluten-free beverages.
I don't think I've ever seen a gluten-free beer at a festival. Although I welcome the idea of a food allergy festival that's actually at night with all the fun fix-in's of a regular festival. That's just my little fantasy. The best allergy-free options at summer festivals are white wines, hard ciders and drinks made with vodka. I do love a dirty martini once in a while.
Sometimes I will pack a non-alcoholic kombucha which has a lot of the refreshing qualities of a cold beer. Or I will give myself an IOU or maybe I mean an IOUB (I owe you beer) for later. More bars are serving gluten-free alternatives like Lakefront New Grist. This gluten free beer is served at Handlebar
and the Map Room
When I feel my beer heartbreak is at its peak I enjoy a crisp Sauvignon Blanc or Riesling. Hard cider is another one of my favorite beer alternatives especially when I'm at Irish bars. Goose Island
has a particularly yummy cider as well. Vodka is also gluten free. I do love a dirty martini once in a while. By the way, I really welcome reader feedback if you have an allergy-free beverage you like, bar or restaurant that accommodates your needs send me at tweet at @patriciabiesen