We are pleased to announce that we can now officially state that Heathen can be labelled as a gluten free beer!
Heathen is made using gluten containing ingredients, specifically barley and wheat. However, in the production of our tasty American Pale Ale we use an enzyme called Brewer’s Clarex. Initially used to reduce chill haze by breaking down protein chains (polypeptides) found in the beer, this clever little enzyme also reduces the gluten to below the 20ppm threshold required to label a product as gluten free, meaning it is safe to drink for many of those amongst us who are sensitive to gluten.
There has been no change to the production of Heathen in this process – the beer itself remains exactly the same as it always has been! However we didn’t want to make this declaration until we’d undergone months of rigorous testing to be fully confident in the consistency of our product and the reduced gluten level it contains.
The vast majority of beers labelled as gluten free that you see on bars and shelves of pubs and bottle shops around the country will have been produced in a similar way to that described above as for Heathen. Whilst there are gluten free beers available that have been brewed with no gluten containing ingredients, these are few and far between. The reason for this is that gluten free grains generally do not hold the same characteristics as those more commonly used in brewing, and so a wider change of process would be needed for us to be able to utilise grains such as rice and sorghum effectively on a large scale.
The next batch of Heathen to go into cans will display a declaration of the beer being gluten free on the label, and this information will also be made more visible on our website. This is all part of a wider scheme to make sure our drinkers are all fully informed, which includes clearer labelling for our vegan-friendly beers too!