Gluten Free Guerrillas
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Do you fancy a pint of Real Ale after going without for many years?

I am a real ale fanatic, so when I was told ten year's ago that I could no longer drink my favourite tipple, I thought it was the end of the world, I had to change to cider which I don't really like that much, but at least it was something I could drink when I am out socialising, but all is not lost, because there some great GF beers out there now, most are in bottles at the moment, but some brewers are now brewing GF real ale in casks and they are available in a few pubs, these beers are brewed in the normal way using all the traditional ingredients, but they have now found that an enzyme that is used in most breweries, actually reduces the gluten level dramatically, and one particular brewery told me that their cask real ale showed 0.4 parts per million, so when you think that 20 parts per million is accepted as being safe, then 0.4 is virtually nothing.

This is a start, but these GF beers can only be found in a handful of pubs throughout the UK, so I have started a campaign to hopefully make pubs and clubs recognise that there is a market for GF beers, because there are 12 million people seeking GF food and drink because they are either coeliacs, have a GF intolerance, or have decided to follow a GF lifestyle, and now market research firm Mintel has pinpointed gluten-free beer as the next big growth area in the free-from food market, surely the pubs should now realise that there could be niche in the market.

I must stress that this is NOT a money making campaign, it is purely a campaign started by me in the hope that I can encourage pubs and clubs to include some GF options, and so far, I have been quite successful in my own little town where two pubs now have GF beer in bottles permanently, and sometimes on draft.

A lot of pubs and restaurants are now offering GF meals on their menus, but they don't seem to realise that if someone chooses a GF meal, they would probably want a GF drink to go with it, yes, you can have wine, but not everyone wants wine and would rather have a beer to wash the meal down with.

So if you have missed drinking beer for many years and would love to have a decent pint after many years of going without, then you might be interested in my campaign, I have a Facebook page that is up and running, but the website is not at the moment, but I hope to get it running in a few weeks time, links below.




21 Replies

Hello nomorebeer,

A man (im assuming?) after my own heart. I was diagnosed coeliac approximately the same time as you and the one thingI missed most was my real ale tipple. Then i found hambleton GF ales and all was not lost. Although id have to admit they were not enjoyable as my favourite Ringwood Best Bitter pint. A few years went by and about 4 years ago someone on this site posted info. About a world seminar on coeliac disease and a link to a transcript by the well known coeliac specialist Dr Marsh (you may be aware villi are classified by the Marsh table in term of serverity). Anyway listening to Dr Marsh I picked up the morsel of info. that's changed my beer habit. He is, I believe, a firm believer that the process of making real ale gets rid of the barley, or rather he's yet to be convinced barley gluten remains after the process. He apparantly has been agreeing to his coeliac patients drinking real ale for many many years. So I concluded whats good for his patients is good for me. Now I drink it all the time.

The only fly in the ointment is that I am an asymptomatic coeliac and I can't, hand on heart, say that it will be ok for the more normal symptomatic coeliacs. Wish i could find the link for you, but unfortunately not that good at navigating around archives.

A few of us on this site were keen to try and get a brewery to research whether it could be proved that real ale does indeed become GF. Too much effort for my local brewery regrettable. The main upside of proving real ale is OK, is that it will almost certainly be more expensive vs ordinary real ale. It may be worth considering running a parallel campaign to get the research done on current real ale. I'd throw my hat into the ring for that .

However I wish you luck with your campaign and will support it.


Hi SilverDreamMachine

I am a coeliac who is extremely intolerant to gluten, just the tiniest amount will make me ill for weeks, but I have been drinking Monty's Masquerade (4.6%) in bottles and on handpull for at least 18 months now, and I can honestly say that I have never had a reaction from it, I've also drank virtually every GF bottled beer available, and again, never had any reactions from them.

Nene Valley Brewery in Oundle now produce about a dozen ales that are all certified gluten free, so I went to The Peterborough Beer Festival last month where they had their own bar, and I also visited their brewery the following day, and over the course of the two days, I sampled a lot of their ales, they were absolutely fantastic and importantly, I had no reaction whatsoever, so GF beers are absolutely fine for me, and should be for nearly every other coeliac.

But, and we've all done it from time to time, if I pick up someone else's "normal" beer by mistake and take a mouthful (yes just one mouthful) before realising what I've done, then I am ill for weeks afterwards, so I now have my own marked glass so I don't make any more mistakes.

Are you saying that you drink "normal" real ale all the time and don't have a reaction?


Yes all my old favourites, but don't forget i dont have any 'visible' symptoms when i eat gluten. Of course ive no idea what going on inside me, but as I said if its good enough for Dr Marsh then i'm prepared to take that risk. In all other aspects of health im pretty much A1 so life's good especially with a pint of real ale beside me. However i will endeavour to try some of the beers you mention as i like a change.


You lucky man!

Have you recently been tested for coeliac disease? because if you don't have any reaction from eating normal foods with gluten in, then it would seem that you don't have coeliac disease, I'm not saying you haven't got CD, but it is most unusual.

When you were diagnosed originally, did you have a biopsy as well? the reason I ask is because a blood test for CD is not conclusive, which is why a biopsy needs to be done to confirm CD.

If you do have CD and you can eat and drink things with gluten in, then I'm very envious of you, but at the same time, I'm very pleased for you being able to follow a normal lifestyle.



Hi again, well you've opened up another grey area for me. I have always had a 'cast iron' stomach and was very alarmed about my GP saying my low b12 and lowfolic acid was either crohnes or coeliac disease. And yes I had a endoscopy then went gluten free and 6 months later had another endoscopy. My villi which originally were low but still evident, were now all ok. So hence the diagnosis. By now I was seeing a consultant and told him, OK as I've no symptoms I'll just carry on and take b12 supplements. Yes I could he said but I'd be increasing the risk of this cancer or that condition. So I went gluten free. I'm not alone we are a small minority within the coeliac community. The bigger picture is I believe we are at the infancy of understanding what effect on our Stone Age digestions all the crap food we've been shoving in for say a few hundred years but a lot more since the yanks fast food invasion. In years to come I may be a type a or b or c type coeliac. But I'm glad I was diagnosed as I now eat much more healthily :-)

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Thats interesting, did the biopsy actually confirm coeliac disease? I'm genuinely pleased for you and glad that you can carry on drinking real ale, but I'm really intrigued how you can do it without being glutened.

Anyway, all the best and have one for me.


Well it comes back to my original point re Dr Marsh. I believe his view is that instead of assuming real ale is full of gluten because of the process, why not assume there is no gluten left after the process. He has apparently challenged et all to prove there guten left after processing. As far as i know no one has.

The bottom line for me is that his patients consuming real ale are continuing to do so without any negative effect. Hence me concluding i can drink it without any danger.

And yes biopsy confirmed CD even after i challenged it on a number of fronts.


I can drink six pints of gluten free ale every day without any ill effects, but if I have just one mouthful of normal real ale, I am ill for days, sometimes weeks afterwards, and its not in my mind, I have bloating, diarrhoea, constipation, nausea, brain fog, headaches, etc.

I have to admit that every now and then, I get so fed up not being able to drink beer as and when I want, I sometimes think sod it, I'm going into the pub to have a few beers, and believe me, am I ill afterwards!


Wow, that really puts a big question mark alongside my theory (Dr M's) that real ale is ok for us.

Are you super sensitive to gluten? I.e. I read a post that kissing would transmit gluten.


I am sensitive to gluten because I have coeliac disease, most coeliacs will react to just a mere crumb of normal bread contaminating their food.

Coeliacs have to follow strict guidelines to avoid being glutened, for instance, I can't use the family toaster, I toast my bread under the grill on a fresh piece of oven foil each time, I have my own butter just in case any crumbs are left in the butter from regular bread, and this is just the tip of the iceberg, everything has to be gluten free, GF gravy, GF soy sauce, literally GF everything I'm afraid, and thats the way it is for everyone with CD, unfortunately, there is no having some normal food or drink every now and again because we will be very ill afterwards, I just wish I could have a beer, or fish and chips, or a nice filled roll or pasty from the bakers, but all these items are completely out of the question.

After being diagnosed, I had to have a bone scan which showed that I have osteoporosis due to not being diagnosed earlier, I have to take calcium tablets every day for the rest of my life, I have to see a dietician every year, and I also have to see a specialist every year to assess my condition.

I think this the case with most people who have coeliac disease, I don't think I am any more sensitive than anyone else.

As for kissing, yes, there is definitely a chance of cross contamination, we all get particles of food stuck in our teeth, and they could easily be transferred to another person, and if swallowed by someone who has CD, the auto-immune system would kick in and that person would become ill.

Personally, I wouldn't advise anyone with CD to go along with Dr Marsh's theories, the symptoms that we experience when eating or drinking anything that contains gluten is not in our minds, its real.


Thanks for that and i do try, though can't completely empathise , that clearly you and i are on the extreme spectrum of this disease.

I wish you the best for your efforts in avoiding gulten.



Cheers Peter, its very frustrating leading a strict GF lifestyle, but I've sort of got used to it by now, but if I can help to encourage all pubs to sell GF real ale one day, I will be made up.

Thats my dream, lol


Go man go for it.

As i said initially very happy to add my support to your GF beer campaign.

Best of luck


BTW, Ringwood 49'er and Old Thumper were two of my most favourite beers when I was able to drink it.


I have been getting excellent gluten free ale for several years from hambleletons in Yorkshire who do home delivery would recommend to anyone.


Hi Corby39

Tesco used to do Hamilton's GF and GFL in bottles a few years ago but I've not seen it recently, they used Sorghum in it, and although I did drink it occasionally, I have to admit that it wasn't really to my taste, but to be fair I think most of the early attempts at brewing a GF beer were drinkable, but a bit like most GF food products, we ate or drank them because we did't have much choice.

But the good news is that Hambleton's Stud Blonde (4.3%) is now a full blown Real Ale, brewed in the traditional way with traditional ingredients and is available in cask, and I will be contacting the brewery soon to see if they deliver to my little home town Bridgnorth.

I am always trying to find and encourage breweries who are willing to brew a GF real ale, and when I do, they will be mentioned on my Facebook page, and my website (once its up and running).

So please, if you know of any breweries who are producing GF beers, then please let me know.

The breweries that I have found so far are:

Monty's Masquerade (4.6%)

Nene Valley Brewery (far too many beers to mention, but all GF)

Hopback Brewery Crop Circle (4.2%) is a GF cask ale, but they won't guarantee it because they say it is down to how well the pub cleans their lines, but it is also available in bottles as is Wold Top Against The Grain (4.5%), and many more breweries are now brewing proper GF ale in bottles which is a good sign.

It reminds me of the bad old days when all we could get in pubs was cold, gassy, tasteless, pasteurised keg beers, which prompted CAMRA to start its campaign to get pubs to sell real ale, but for us gluten intolerant people, when we go into a pub, its the same experience, nothing to drink, which is why I started my Campaign For Gluten Free Real Ale, my wife and myself are still members of CAMRA and I am in contact with them regularly, but they don't seem to be that interested, its probably because they have now achieved what they set out to do in the early 70's, because most pubs you go into these days have at least half-a-dozen pumps, and some have as many as sixteen or even twenty, and yet they can't dedicate just one of them to a GF ale.

For those who have not done so yet, please visit my Facebook page and give it a like, or better still, make a comment or two, I only started the campaign in August, but its getting a lot of interest and the more support it gets, the more chance we have of one day walking into any pub in the UK, and finding a beer that we can drink and enjoy.

Remember, CAMRA started in 1971 with just a few drinkers in a bar who were dissatisfied with the limited choice of beers.

Little acorns and all that! lol

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I'm thrilled to read this information as I wasn't bothered about giving up bread, cake etc when I was diagnosed with coeliac but I was HORRIFIED when the truth dawned that this included real ale. And I'm not a bloke! I do remember clearly that I would sometimes have what I thought was a bad hangover from small amounts of some ale and could drink larger quantities of others with no ill effects. My guess is that varying gluten was the cause and it would be really good to find out the truth about standard ale as well as developing 'safe' options. I'll support any campaign along these lines and I always ask for GF beer when in a pub or eating out - often with a favourable response from bar/restaurant owners who haven't considered this option.


I have always been a cider drinker. Never enjoyed real ale despite being in a county with 42 micro breweries, Every pub has several real ale pumps in Cumbria. Funny how the body selected favourable foods. Have tried bottled GF beer.

Each of us has a peculiar diet.

Also found some brewers colour their cider with caramel, which reacts with many people. Where does the caramel come from?

Some suppliers colour the bottle instead. Can not do that in a pub with the glass.

HTH have liked FB page.


I drink "real" cider quite a lot mainly because there is no GF beer available, but I have to say that I am a bit suspicious about what goes in to some of them nowadays, some of them are black, some are blue, and I guess they are aimed at the younger drinkers who might go for them because they are quirky etc, but what are the substances they are using to make them that colour?


Best place to taste is probably a CAMRA festival. One I attended last year had several micro breweries exhibiting their GF ales - I got to know about via my local coeliac group. Back in the day I preferred Guinness and now I probably prefer cider, which is a complete turnaround for me!


Hi Jacks, unfortunately, most CAMRA festivals don't have any GF ales, you must have been lucky hitting upon that one, and believe it or not, The Great British Beer festival this year boasted just under a thousand beers and ciders, but only had ONE barrel of GF ale which wouldn't have lasted five minutes.

I've been in contact with CAMRA HQ many times suggesting that they should advise all CAMRA run festivals to include a proportionate selection of GF ales, but all they said was, "we would suggest that you put this forward for a conference motion for AGM next year so that members can openly debate and decide on it as a campaign so that we can take it forward", no chance of it being carried because gluten intolerance wont affect the vast majority of the voting members.

They really are not interested.

I even did an article in last November's "Whats Brewing", but nothing has changed.

My wife and myself have been CAMRA members for years, but we finally decided not to renew our memberships when they were due last month.


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