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Rice Beer

  • l

My neighbor was told recently that her bad reaction to beer could be from gluten, and that she should try rice beer. She's laboring under the delusion that I'm some sort of beer expert (because I don't drink LITE) and asked what I know about it.

I know Bud Light includes rice in its "recipe", and there is Hitachino Nest rice beer. That's a little over my neighbor's price range and I'm not sure where it's available in the Twins.

Any suggestions as to possible brands of rice-exclusive or rice-predominant beers and where they might be found in the Twin Cities?


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  1. Basically beer is made with barley. Cheap beer may be made with other ingredients.

    When I was in Africa I had a sorghum beer. It was pretty good. I can't remember who makes it but their is a sorghum beer on the US market, I saw an ad not too long ago. I am pretty sure that malted sorghum is gluten free.

    Many years ago when I was living in Ely, MN I had a wild rice beer from Boundary Waters wild rice. It was made at the James Page brewery in Minneapolis and I think they make two different kinds of wild rice beer. I am not sure if they are made with 100% wild rice or have barley malt as well.

    Capital Brewing Company in Middleton, Wisconsin,makes Wild Rice Lager. But it is definately not made with 100% wild rice and has some barley malt as well.

    5 Replies
    1. re: biltong

      Some of the gluten-free beers on the market (Bard's Tale, New Grist) are partially or wholly made from Spelt.

      I don't know for sure, but would be quite surprised if the James Page wild rice beers weren't barley malt-based.

      1. re: Jim Dorsch

        Jim, that is not true. Spelt is in the family of wheat grains. It is definitely NOT gluten free, and definitely NOT used in Bard's Tale and New Grist. They both use sorghum.

        1. re: zbeat

          I can't be sure, since I made this statement four years ago, but I suspect I should have said 'sorghum' instead of 'spelt'. IAC, a quick check indicates that New Grist contains no spelt, as you say, and I expect the same is true of Bard's. Cheers!

          1. re: zbeat

            Whether or not it's used in the specialty beers, Spelt, while certainly not gluten free, does have a form of gluten that is more digestable than the gluten found in hybrid wheats.
            Some celiacs can actually manage spelt.

            1. re: The Professor

              No. Some people who don't eat regular wheat can manage spelt. (Not sure how scientific that belief is...spelt is a kind of wheat.)

              But that's not the same as celiac disease. If it's got gluten, it's toxic to folks with celiac, period. People with celiac should absolutely avoid spelt.

      2. I believe Hitachino nest has malted barley in it. Bud Light is probably 60/40 malt/rice.

        Gluten free beers are few and far between. There are some listed at the link below.

        Link: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/a...

        4 Replies
        1. re: rl

          There's a new one from Lakefront in Milwaukee, New Grist.

          1. re: Jim Dorsch

            Hi, Jim. Not sure if you'll check this, but what the heck.

            I've been working in Alexandria, very close to the store. I've noticed (and purchased) the recent acquisitions from Three Floyds. The "big one" from them, according to what I've heard, seems to be the Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout. Any chance it'll be making an appearance?

            1. re: big o

              CH doesn't allow me to discuss/plug my business here. If you want to call me at the store (703-706-0891), I'll give you my email address and we can discuss.

              1. re: Jim Dorsch

                I hear you. That's why I avoided actually mentioning the name of the place.

                I'll stop by some time soon and bring it up. I'm in the store fairly often.

        2. If you have any Japanese supermarkets around you can look for Koshihikari Echigo Beer.

          Link: http://echigo-beer.jp/

          1 Reply
          1. re: Pablo

            I just had that Koshihikari Echigo beer for the first time last weekend - amazingly great. So super crisp and clean. Like a czech pilsener when you're actually in the czech repub and it's fresh. It's almost all about how great the water they must use for it is.
            Does Mtsuwa's or another market in LA carry it?

          2. A few beers are "made" that are now gluten free- rice may not be the key ingredient. Even Whole Foods is carrying them- check out some of the GF websites for more leads...

            1. As a celiac, I must chime in here. If your friend indeed has Celiac Disease (Gluten Intolerance) then Beer alone will not cause the reaction. Does she have this same reaction to bread, crackers etc? If not, it is not just the gluten in beer, it is something else.

              A simple blood test will determine if she has Celiac.

              2 Replies
              1. re: renfrew

                I don't think it's a celiac issue, though she wasn't specific. I do know she eats bread, pizza, etc.

                1. re: Loren3

                  I drink a case of beer per week, but I also eat a lot of pasta(spagetti), pizza, etc. I developed a rash that looked like Dermatitis Herpetiformis. I thought it might be Celiac Disease, but the Doctor diagnosed the rash as Numulous Ezcema. I quit drinking beer, and my rash is going away. Do you think I have Celiac, or some other problem, anyone?

              2. Thanks for the replies, all.

                My neighbor is cheap (!) and has decided (at least for now) to go with Bud Light as it is made with more rice than most beers (back to that cheap thing). No chance of Rheinheitsgebot here!

                I'll keep working on her to bring her to the craft beer side!

                Again, thanks for the suggestions.

                1. Isn't Rolling Rock rice beer? Not that I'd wish it on my worst enemy . . .

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Atomica

                    I expect RR has corn adjunct, but like almost all beers, it still has a base of malted barley.

                  2. Another option might be spelt. There's a Belgian ale brewed from spelt, which is a low-gluten grain. I've seen it at Whole Foods.

                    2 Replies
                      1. re: Jim Dorsch

                        It's not gluten free, no. But spelt's gluten content is very low, according to some of the gluten websites I checked.

                    1. Well, remember that most beers (unless you're talking about sake, which is technically a beer) which utilize rice use it as an adjunct; they are made from rice in addition to barley malt.

                      Hitachino Nest's Red Rice Ale is good stuff, in my view -- it's proof that rice can add to a beer's interestingness. And I've heard there are US microbrewers, too, putting rice to flavor-enhancing use in their beers.

                      Bud & its ilk I have no use for.

                      1. Interesting fact: I'm also allergic to wheat beers (and sulfites), and beers that are low in quality, like PBR or Coors, don't set off my allergies!