DogFish Going Gluten-Free
This December, Dogfish Head will release a gluten-free beer, joining a number of craft breweries that are catering to customers with celiac disease. Having celiac means people can no longer consume gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye.
During a telephone conversation on Wednesday, Dogfish Head Founder and President Sam Calagione shared some details about the new brew known as Tweason’ale.
The idea to brew gluten free, he said, came directly from customers. “It was the number one thing people asked on tours, the number one comment we get at the brewpub and the number one question emailed to the brewery.”
Celiac disease targets the lower intestine. When a person with the inherited disease consumes gluten, their immune system attacks the villi – protrusions that absorb nutrients into the bloodstream. Without healthy villi, the body cannot get the nutrients it needs, eventually causing malnutrition.
A recent study estimated that nearly 2 million people in the United States have celiac disease, though many have not yet been properly diagnosed. There is no cure for celiac, but it can be effectively managed by maintaining an appropriate diet.
Taking the customer feedback seriously, a few months ago Calagione and the team got together and tried some of the gluten free beers available on the market place. Many are made with sorghum, which does not contain gluten, but does not always offer the same oomph in taste from beers that do.
With Tweason’ale Dogfish will use buckwheat honey that has “a lot of dark wheat characteristics” and it will also be loaded up with strawberries.
“One thing we know is how to be innovative,” Calagione said.
It will clock in at 6% alcohol by volume and available in 12oz bottles. When it is released later this year it will be the first beer since Palo Santo Marron to be released in four packs. Calagione said it will be released quarterly and he expects to be brewing “many thousands of barrels” to meet demand.