Bards, Beer and being Gluten-free

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Inspired Living Nutrition’s resident Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN) Cordelia McFadyen recently had the pleasure to speak with Bard’s Beer CEO Brian Kovalchuk to chat what makes there beer so special and why gluten free beer drinkers may not be so safe just yet after all.


CM: Hi Brian, thanks for taking the time to chat with me today! We’re big fans of your gluten free beer in this household so first off thank you for making such a quality product. Because this beer tastes so good I’m wondering if you yourself might have a food allergy as that would help to explain the real authentic beer taste of Bard’s.

BK: Great speaking with you too Cordelia. We love speaking about our product so it’s always nice to spread the message. I actually do not have food allergies and have given up gluten voluntarily to try and improve my health. I’m not obsessed about the small amounts that say a celiac or someone else would but I try to avoid the big stuff like pasta, bread, pizza, the really high carb stuff.

CM: Fair enough! Good for you. I always say it’s even harder to avoid wheat/gluten if you don’t have a reaction to it at all. Do you feel worse when you eat it now?

BK: Yes I do. If I eat a lot of wheat now I feel bloated and a little sluggish.

CM: Well thankfully those with allergies can normalize their lives a bit more while dining out as Bard’s becomes more and more available at the pubs and restaurants out here in BC and Alberta, Canada. It’s such a treat! When did you guys first start out exactly?

BK: We’ve been the first gluten free (GF) beer on the market since 2006-07. We have some great agents in Canada and we may be the #1 GF beer in Canada – no official stats.

CM: That’s great. How did the owners of Bards, Craig Belser & Kevin Seplowitz (diagnosed celiacs) start out creating the blend that we now know as Bard’s?

BK: Craig and Kevin were avid home brewers and self-described beer geeks when they were diagnosed with celiac disease. They had no options for gluten free beer at the time so they had to make it for themselves. There was a lot of experimentation with different GF grains. They understood the importance of a malted grain in beer and no GF malted grains were commercially available so they had to do the malting themselves. They determined sorghum was the best GF grain to make beer and the malting ensured the traditional flavor, aroma and color that beer lovers demand. We are the only brewer to malt sourgham to achieve the great taste we know as Bard’s today as commercially malted sorghum is still unavailable. We make the extra effort to provide a great tasting GF lager.

CM: We couldn’t agree more! I wanted to know what you thought about some of these so called gluten free products that are available but they still contain wheat/gluten just under that 20ppm number which the Government of Canada has set as the threshold for something to considered gluten free?

BK: It may be dangerous if you are a celiac and consume some of these ‘gluten reduced’ beers. Celiacs that consume these beers are reporting reactions and some community leaders are advising celiacs to avoid them. In the U. S., these beers are required to have a statement that the gluten content cannot be verified and they may contain gluten.

CM: Wow, definitely something that celiacs and those with wheat/gluten allergies need to be aware of. Look for a true gluten free beer, for example something that has never contained gluten such rice, sorghum, etc. as opposed to a wheat or gluten containing food that has been processed to reduce the allergen content. Thank you for taking the time to chat with us today Brian! We look forward to summer and some more Bards!


Well we certainly learned alot from our chat! with Bards so be sure to go and check them out today

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