*Originally written by McKenzie Knowlden who quit
Though dieting soccer moms and hipsters alike have made the fear of gluten a trend, for some of us, the fear is very real. [Boring science stuff you can probably skip over: Gluten is a protein found in grain based products- wheat, barley, and rye. Those with Celiac Disease, an auto-immune disorder or intolerance, lack the ability to digest this particular protein(s) through the small intestine.] Whether “intolerance” is a lie people tell themselves to avoid carbs or a real and painful disorder, it sadly means that drinking beer is not an option.
I discovered my sensitivity at the age of seventeen after many failed experiments to figure out exactly what was causing all of my health issues. I started CWU with a massive list of “what not to eat” and was still trying to cope with the fact that I’ll never eat another Oreo. It didn’t occur to me until my first college party that along with my favorite midnight snack, I would never get to enjoy a lukewarm Keystone Light, nor any other beer. It was a tragedy.
Fast forward to the present; I am a twenty-one year old gluten intolerant server at a brewery. Ironic right? Though I cannot taste the awesomeness that leaves Iron Horse Brewery, and I may hold a slight grudge against my non-gluten challenged coworkers when they come in for a pint, I love talking about beer and am fascinated by the science behind brewing. I do the research necessary for each brew to make up for the lack of actually drinking them. Plus I can tell you all about smell, which is important… I think (High Five Hefe smells like a floral citrus body wash with a hint of ginger- “Smells good enough to bathe in” should probably be our new slogan for it.) As weird as it may sound, I love beer- from learning about it, to smelling it, to meeting great people in the industry (that includes you lovely drinkers). Beer has brought me joy, even without the buzz, and I have a hunch that with its sweet, dark chocolatey smell, Irish Death would be my favorite.
Disclaimer: Gluten free beer is garbage; don’t suggest it, don’t try it. You’re welcome.