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Gluten Free

Leaving No Beer Drinker Behind

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Here at First Chop we take gluten free Beer very seriously. That is why we believe we go further than any other brewery with our gluten free auditing and testing regime. Even going beyond what is required by the AOECS to obtain a license to use the Cross Grain symbol.

We also take Beer very seriously in general and see no reason why great beer should not also be gluten free beer. In fact we believe the two go hand in hand. We make great gluten free beer!

It is important to point out that our beer is made from ingredients that DO contain gluten. We believe this produces the best tasting beer. We then use a combination of the traditional brewing process and an added enzyme to remove gluten from our beer. We employ a meticulous auditing and testing procedure to ensure our product can be tested to show less than 5ppm gluten.

We tried beers produced using pseudo grains (non gluten containing grain) and feel they do not really come up to scratch. We prefer to make our beer in the traditional manner and to remove the gluten. After all, the removal of proteins is actually the backbone of traditional brewing, at almost every stage of traditional brewing the aim is to remove proteins (of which gluten is one). We believe that in removing proteins from our beer to the point where we can test to show less than 5ppm gluten we not only produce a gluten free beer but an exceptionally well made beer too.

We test every batch of our gluten free beer ‐ not just once but twice. Each of our recipes also undergoes an annual review and test at an independent UKAS accredited laboratory.

Our entire brewery is dedicated to gluten free production. We think it is important for the integrity of our processes that everything we produce is gluten free.

There has been much controversy concerning beer that is brewed with barley, but claims to remove the gluten in the brewing process.

This is why we choose to use both a R5 Competitive ELISA test AND a test using the G12 antibody. We want to do everything in our means to detect gluten in our beer. If you would like to know more about ❛ the science ❜ then please continue to watch and read the below…

The Science

Inclusive beer to be enjoyed by everyone
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In Europe the R5 test is accepted by legislators who allow a gluten free claim on the product if gluten is tested to show gluten content below 20ppm.

A 2013 study, reported by the Beyond Coeliac organisation, looked at the commercially most relevant cereal-based foods that had undergone fermentation during processing (thus, it obviously, studied beer) and found that the R5 Competitive ELISA assay was able to reproducibly quantify gluten in the beer tested.

Another recent study (Moreno et al., 2016) has shown that the most immunogenic peptides (responsible of 80-95% of immunoreactivity of celiac T cells) reacted to G12. The correlation between G12 reactivity and T cell immunogenicity has been largely studied in several difficult-to-analyse foodstuffs, such as pure oat varieties or barley varieties (Comino et al., 2011, Comino et al., 2012).

In hydrolyzed materials such as beers, the relative proportion of reactive peptides for celiac patients may differ, because of the diversity of the resulting peptide populations after fermentation. In a publication a few years ago (Comino et al., 2012), a wide variety of beers were analyzed with two different methods based on the G12 antibody (Competitive ELISA and lateral flow immunoassay) with similar results.

A beer legally labeled as gluten free (undetectable level of gluten by Competitive ELISA R5) was shown (in a 2014 test conducted by Real et al) to contain gluten peptides determined by ELISA G12 and by Mass spectrometry, which identified immunotoxic peptides for celiac patients. This was shown by exposing cells of the immune system of celiac patients to these peptides and measuring their response.

A more recent study (Picariello et al., 2015) analysed samples of WeissbIer (wheat beer) and detected immunotoxic epitopes with G12. They analyzed these beers with sera of celiac patients as a source of antigliadin antibody, confirming that the wheat beer contained peptides with reactivity with sera from celiac patients.

The G12 antibody was raised against the highly immunotoxic 33-mer peptide of the α- gliadin protein that induces celiac disease (Morón et al., 2008). More specifically, the region of recognition within the 33-mer is the hexameric epitope QPQLPY. This recognition sequence is repeated three times within the gliadin 33-mer peptide.

The G12 antibody recognises immunotoxic prolamins from wheat, barley, rye and also from some varieties of oat (Morón et al., 2008). The G12 antibody is also capable of reacting to other epitopes that are found in other toxic prolamins as QPQLPF, QPQLPL, QPQQPY, QPQQPF (Moron et al. 2008; and Real et al. 2014).

Oats are often subject to cross-contamination (in the field and/or during the manufacturing process). However, even if the oat has been grown and processed carefully, this does not mean that it is always considered as a gluten free food.