Gluten-Free, But Full of Other Stuff?
File this under "Hmmmm." My post on the Omission line of gluten-free beers elicited comments worth bumping up to main posts. First off, Thornbridge's Dominic linked to a product listing for a foam stabilizer in response to my "how does a gluten-free beer form a head?" question. A little cheeky, but probably correct--foam stabilizers are pretty common. Then came this, from an anonymous commenter:
Dominic is close, but not quite right. I hate to post anonymously, but I know what Widmer is using in this product. The "science" is franken-science. The means of gluten reduction is via the addition of enzymes, which, according to the product's documentation, "in the producing micro-organism genes naturally present in the micro-organism have been multiplied using biotechnological techniques". Using genetically manipulated products in a "craft beer" isn't what craft is all about in my book. And the gluten free community isn't one to engage blissfully with GMOs, so I'll stick with "clean" beers for now.It's unfair to credit an anonymous commenter as a source on anything, so I shot Widmer Brothers an email. Brady Walen responded this way:
You're not alone in wanting to know more about our process. While we're not currently revealing all details about the Omission program and brewing process, we can confirm that we are not using "hundreds of lab technicians dissecting malt grains and tweezing gluten molecules." That said, I also wanted to address the previous comment from Anynomous regarding GMOs: under definitions accepted by the US Government, Omission beers do not contain genetically modified organisms and are not brewed with genetically modified organisms. We do have plans to share additional details about the Omission program the coming weeks, which will help clarify similar questions and others that we’ve received since we launched Omission in Oregon, so stay tuned for those.The plot thickens. It never occurred to me to ask what was added to the beer to replace that which was taken out. I think it's a perfectly reasonable question, but it looks like we'll have to wait to learn more. Caveat emptor. Perhaps rumors of millet beer's death were premature.