Thursday, November 11, 2010

To Drink or Not to Drink?...oh what a question!

With the Holidays coming up I figure now is a good time to touch on this topic and give a few reviews of some YUMMY adult beverages to help out my fellow GI/Celiac suffers. Alcohol is not something I thought I would miss. I am was not a big drinker, except in college when that was "the thing" to do. Parties aren't the same in college without a little underage drinking...I know shame shame, so I suffered and drank beer or the "malt" bottled drinks not knowing that I was GI. I did shots of red fruity schnapps (ugh what was I thinking) and I paid dearly for it.

Once I turned 21 (the legal drinking age in Iowa) it didn't really appeal to me any longer. The people around me all drank, but it wasn't something that made me "feel good" and I'm not a particularly fun drinker, it makes my brain/mouth filter (what little of one I have) malfunction. So I spent 10 years after that not really drinking, the occasional "taste" to see if it had gotten any didn't, so I just didn't bother.

Last year in July I went gluten free. I decided I should try some of the GF beers that are out there. I tried Redbridge and Bards. One of my friends was excited when she saw that Woodchuck Cider/Beer is naturally Gluten free, so I tried several of the flavors they offered.

Redbridge is made by Anheuser Busch. I thought it tasted very similar to what I remembered full leaded Budweiser had tasted like back in my college days. I liked it, but it's heavy, too heavy for me to drink consistently. I did use it in making homemade corn dogs - it was good there. Hy-Vee on W Kimberly has this product on the bottom shelf in the gf section of their Health Market. It's on the back wall.

Bard's makes gluten free beer too. Again this was pretty heavy for my taste. If you like a heavy beer - give it a shot. You can get it in most grocery stores that carry gf products. I have only seen it in 6 packs, but you might be able to get it in bigger packs if you like it.

Woodchuck Cider was really good. The only flavor I didn't like was their Spring Cider Flavor - YUCK! It tasted like Cotton Candy mixed with Beer - Gross! I did like all the other flavors, but they leave a sweet/sour taste in your mouth after a couple, so it's not something to drink a lot of at one time. I really like the Amber and Granny Smith flavors.

Over the summer my sister got hooked on Vodka Lemon Water (wow that makes her sound like an alcoholic - she's not). It tastes like Lemon Water - the lemon juice cancels out any alcohol flavor. She searched for a vodka I felt comfortable drinking with my belly issues. We went camping in July and she proudly came out of her camper carrying a bottle of Opulent Vodka - its made from Corn. We enjoyed quite a few Vodka Lemon Waters on that camping weekend :). I still have a bottle in my fridge that has about 3 shots left in it (I should just finish it since it's probably costing me more to refrigerate the bottle than it cost to buy the whole bottle). The vodka water I will admit was very refreshing and perfect while camping in 106 degree temperatures.

Fast forward to today and I am enjoying wine. I blame two of my best girlfriends for it. They had me try Moscato and I liked it. I am slowly branching out. I have found a sweet red wine (Serena) that I like too. I have tried many kinds of wine and even went to a wine tasting. I am not a Port Wine drinker, holy brandy spirits in there. I'm a little too weak for Brandy in any form and it did not lift my spirits in any way.  I have recently tried Rieslings and White Merlot as well as a little Mogan David Concord (referred to as gutter punk punch by Wikipedia). I like all but the White Merlot, had to sweeten it up with a little diet 7-up, but it worked out alright.

Even being GI, I have found I have a lot more options when it comes to alcohol than I realized. When people hear you can't have wheat/gluten they say, "OMG you can't have beer". That's okay with me...I can have lots of other kinds of drinks as long as I'm careful I don't usually have any ill effects. When in doubt don't drink it.

Also - always drink responsibly, do not drink and drive!! Hope this helps someone realize that if they once enjoyed Adult Beverages before they were gluten free that not all is lost being gluten free. Here is a Link to a site that has more options than I have listed: Gluten Free Alcohol Options.

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