Gluten Free? Crafted to Remove Gluten? It seems like there’s always a way to make typically gluten-filled food items to accommodate the growing number of Canadians changing their diets out of necessity (due to celiac disease) or to be more health conscious.
But beer, like bread, is a living, breathing thing. The fundamentals of brewing beer start with grain (generally barley), and yes, barley is full of gluten. So, many people who have changed their diets to are unable to enjoy beer – or are they?
Seeing as we’re putting on our very own Gluten-Friendly Brunch at Lost Colibris this weekend, we caught up with David McFarlane at Daura Damm, the world’s most award-winning Crafted to Remove Gluten beer, to wrap our minds around just how this beverage is brewed.
What’s the history of Daura Damm?
Daura is a Crafted to Remove Gluten Free beer based on barley malt and it’s the result of a long process of research and development initiated in 2004 conducted jointly by Damm’s master brewers and the Gluten Unit at Spain’s Scientific Research Council (CSIC, www.csic.es) using the most advanced technology at that time.
It wasn’t a quick process, but we developed a proprietary technology to break down the gluten protein, and the final result was the first beer brewed in Spain to guarantee a gluten content below 3ppm. Finally people could enjoy a real beer and that was also suitable for celiacs.
Since then, the growth of the Daura brand and its other lines extensions has been exponential. We are now available in over 45 countries and people can’t believe its taste. For far too long people that have changed their diet have accepted poor tasting substitutes and many gave up treasured meals and beer.
What do you mean “less than 3ppm”?
Daura’s less than 3ppm is very important. One of the research’s main results was the application of the ELISA R5 Competitive testing method, which allows us to officially certify Daura to have a gluten content less than 3ppm, despite the fact barley malt is used as main ingredient. Every batch of Daura is analyzed by the CSIC before sending it to our customers, in order to ensure a gluten content of less than 3ppm.
So what is the brewing process of Daura Damm?
First of all we mash the cereals (barley malt and rice) with water in order to extract or solubilize the natural nutrients. During mashing and due to a natural enzymatic activity a hydrolysis of the protein takes place. Once we have the nutrients, we filter the mix removing the spent grains and some high molecular weight protein. The next process includes boiling this liquid and adding the hops to give Daura its desirable bitterness. In this process some proteins precipitate and these are removed in the next step: the whirlpool. After the whirlpool the temperature is reduced and we get the wort containing the natural sugars, amino acids and nutrients which our yeast needs to produce Daura.
We ferment over 5-7 days and lager for a minimum of 2 weeks to develop the complete and desired flavour. During fermentation the protein hydrolysis continues and precipitates at the lager phase: once the beer is produced it’s filtered to remove the compound which we don’t need anymore. The proteins excess is filtered as well and then we’re ready for the final stage: to analyze the final gluten content and to package the beer. Remember that each batch is tested to be less than 3ppm before bottling.
How exactly does hydrolyis work?
Daura is brewed making sure the gluten chains are broken. Gluten is a protein, so during the complete brewing process the gluten content is reduced continuously due to two processes: one is the hydrolysis of the protein including gluten and another is the precipitation and protein removal. Gluten reduction is part of our process from the mashing to the final filtration. The hydrolysis is the process in which the gluten protein is broken down and made suitable for celiacs. The reason that we’re able to have such low gluten values is part of our knowledge after years of research.
Why can other brands use “gluten-free” on their packaging?
Health Canada considers foods containing levels of gluten not exceeding 20ppm to be gluten-free, however the “Crafted to Remove” verbiage is what we are permitted to say by the US Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) and the LCBO at this time.
While Daura uses barley malt as main ingredient, other brands use a sorghum or millet cereal to replace the barley base. Hence, the sorghum and millet based brands are not legislated the same as Daura since they are not considered a “beer” by TTB standards, as they do not have a barley/wheat base. Instead the sorghum based beers are regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and they apply their own set of label requirements. Health Canada follows the TTB regulations with reference to all Crafted to Remove products sold in Canada.
An interesting matter to point out however is that Daura is labelled Gluten Free in Europe since it is within the Gluten Free standards set by the Codex Alimentarius, according to which any foodstuff containing less than 20ppm is to be considered Gluten Free.
What’s the flavour profile of Daura Damm?
Daura is really clean and bright. It has plenty of rapid and fine bubbles that feel soft in the mouth due to full-bodied carbon dioxide. On the palate you will enjoy dense notes of roasted grain and cereal. The beer has a lively acidity that makes it extraordinary fresh, and a palatable bitterness at the back of the mouth, resulting in a long satisfying aftertaste.
We’re really excited about how this beer pairs with spice forward Mexican cuisine that Chef Elia Hererra has weaved into her Gluten-Friendly Brunch menu at Los Colibris.
Looking for the perfect brunch for the gluten conscious in you or really just love amazing Mexican food and great beer? Limited seats are still available for our Gluten-Free brunch this Saturday, March 11th at 1pm. FULL DETAILS HERE.