Sunday, November 4, 2012

GIG Recap: Gluten Free Beers and Simple Squares

Our October Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) meeting was all about healthy snacks and delicious drinks!

First up in our packed and tasty meeting was Simple Squares.  Founder and Chief Square Kimberly talked about the origin of Simple Squares and how they are a tasty snack.  All of the squares have five ingredients or less and are perfect for snacking on the go.  She shared samples of her soon-to-be released coffee flavor square.  What a great morning snack!  Simple Squares are organic whole food snack bars with vanilla and herbs - without any wheat. gluten, dairy, soy or refined sugar!  I try to always have some squares on hand for grab and go snacks.

In honor of Halloween, SurfSweets sent us their spooky spider gummies!  These are perfect treats to give kids for Halloween without worrying about allergens or high fructose corn syrup!  Their fun shapes even brought smiles to the adults in the room.

We sampled several different types of gluten free beers and ciders.  I tried everyone that was available, had around a dozen empty cups at the end (don't worry - they weren't poured to the top) and found some new favorites.

Gluten free beer has been transforming over the years.  Bard's Beer is perfect for traditional beer lovers - its sorghum flavoring hits the spot (and is perfect for making beer brats).  New Grist also carries a sorghum based beer that we tried.  We sampled three different options from Green's - wow - some of these had the largest amount of alcohol and tasted great!  Pace yourself!  Goose Island recently introduced Queen-OA, a quinoa based beer from Chicago's popular brewery.  My new favorite is New Planet beer - there are three assorted flavors (Tread Lightly Ale, 3R Raspberry Ale, and Off Grid Pale Ale) and are perfect for those who love fruity flavors in the style of malt beverages like me!

The best part about the tasting was that everyone had their own new favorite and we all tried some very delicious beers.  Gluten free beers can be expensive, so having several companies provide samples for our group has been the best way to see what is out there!  This was our second annual Gluten Free Octoberfest Beer Tasting and I can't wait to see what products are on the market next year!

What is your favorite gluten free beer?  Leave a message in the comments!

Our next meeting is Monday, November 5 and we will be talking about gluten free Thanksgiving, swapping recipes, and sampling some bread.  We meet in the South Loop Whole Food's classroom at 8:00pm!  Hope to see you there!

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