I noticed today, whilst shopping at our non-swanky grocery store, that we had three new gluten-free beers available, and that they had moved the old stand-by, Redbridge to the refrigerated section. Do you think this is in demand to a fad, or is it a sign that Paleo-ish way of eating is moving more mainstream.
Yes, it is still made of grains, alcohol is a toxin, and not strictly "paleo," but it is a nice option for a BBQ, instead of the same old cider, NorCal margaritas and liquor drinks. If you drink gluten-free beer, what's your fave?
P.S. I DO NOT PERSONALLY THINK "GLUTEN-FREE" OR "PALEO" IS A FAD. I AM GLUTEN-INTOLERANT (and have been gluten-free since 2009). This is a question about whether it the proliferation of gluten-free beer is due to gluten-free being marketed as a trendy health-alternative, or if Paleo is becoming more mainstream, hence the rise of demand. Perhaps it is a growing acceptance and awareness of gluten-intolerance?
Part of me wants to say, oh-my-gawd I've missed Arrogant Bastard so much, I'd kill seven of you for just a taste - and if even a semblance of that taste could be provided without deleterious health effects, well that would be heaven, wouldn't it?
The remaining 89% of me is fully cognizant of the fact that gluten-free grain-based products are usually unsatisfying sub-par substitutes, not to mention being flat out junk food.
In my experience, one ends up a lot happier finding new things to enjoy rather than trying to fit their old habits into a new mold.
My BBQ go-to's are a good tequila on the rocks, vodka & soda, or wine.
Nonetheless, I suppose it is a step in some sort of potentially positive direction that the gluten-free thing is gaining a foothold in pretty much every available area. Despite that, the widespread belief that "gluten-free = healthy" is a delusion that isn't really progress in the name of health for society at large.
I think it's more about going gluten-free than paleo becoming mainstream. I'm a celiac. Been a celiac all my life, but didn't have a diagnosis until 1.5 years ago (me, after diagnosis, "ohhh...so that's why I could drink a bottle of Boone's Strawberry Hill with no issue but would barf after one beer!"). More doctors are actually testing for gluten intolerance, wheat allergies, and celiac disease when people come in with symptoms that used to get diagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome (or my personal favorite, "it's all in your head"...but I'm not bitter...much). This is leading to more diagnoses of gluten issues, which is leading to more people looking for gluten-free foods and drinks, and supply is starting to catch up to demand.
But not where I live. I only have Redbridge as a gluten-free beer option. Of course, I live in a state in the US that still does not allow you to purchase alcoholic beverages on a Sunday. I'll take what I can get. But I digress...
I think it's due to a greater awareness of celiac and gluten intolerance and an attempt to capture sales from that crowd. I think it has nothing to do with the paleo movement.
Gluten-free beer almost invariably sucks, just as gluten-free anything-that-normally-contains-gluten almost invariably sucks, fake meat sucks, fake cheese sucks, and fake fill-in-the-blank sucks. I agree with @raney that one is usually better off enjoying in greater quantity the many fine things that are better for one anyway, rather than trying to find a fix for one's former "fix."
As for why these products are becoming more popular and common? Market capture, pure and simple. Is it "paleo" market capture? Maybe in part, but not mostly. Again I agree with @raney: regardless of motive, and regardless of the misperception that these products are "healthy" in some way, gluten-free products are typically not worse than their counterparts, and being free from gluten makes them at least marginally better.
Baby steps are still steps c:
I have a buddy here in Chico, CA (home of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.) that's been working tirelessly on a GF rice-based ale. It's pretty damn good. His wife has autoimmune somethingerother, so this was his attempt to pursue his dream and stay married. I'm grain free myself, but don't have "too much" of a problem with Beer.
I plan on helping him announce this beer soon as I know it will be a hit with the Paleo crowd.
I just had the pleasure of trying Celia Saison from the Alchemist this week. Being a saison, the fruity herby flavors helped it taste more like the original than most GF beers I've tried. But I'm so happy that awesome craft berwerys are willing to put in the time and effort to make something really tasty.
To the OP...really? You think the availability of more GF beers is due to Paleo community demand and/or fad diets? Have you ever heard of Celiac disease or gluten intolerance? Those are the real reasons these products do and should exist. Paleo is a fad diet, just as much as the celebrisized gluten free diet is.
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