True Confessions: I Miss Beer

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.


Guinness, how I miss thee.

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, 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.

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  • Hi Patricia,

    I have some great news for you! There are a number of gluten free beers on the market. Based on what you have said in this article, I would direct you to Green's Dubbel Dark. It is not as dark as a Guinness dark but it is a great gluten free alternative. You can find it in liquor stores around Chicago. The Association was created to help folks like you to be informed of their gluten free beer options. There are a number of reviews available on the Gluten Free Beer Association website. We look forward to you joining our ranks and spreading the word about the Association!

    Have a great day!

    The Gluten Free Beer Association

  • Hey GF beer Association, thanks for leaving this wonderful advice. I'll check out your site and the Green's Dubbel Dark. I appreciate your thoughtfulness.

  • My pleasure Patricia! That is part of the mandate of the Gluten Free Beer Association, to connect those of us who require a gluten free beer with the products we need. There are many people like you that still do not realize that the have options for beer even if they are gluten free.

    I look forward to your first gluten free beer review. :-)


  • Thank you and you don't know HOW MUCH I look forward to my first gluten free beer review too!

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