Chris Guest's picture

Dad's Fridge Now Has Gluten-Free Option

Until alternatives came along, my father only used beer as a gardening tool.
Green's Gluten-free beers
Photo Credit: newschoolbeer.com

When I was in kindergarten, our teacher asked each student to name something that was always in the fridge at home.

Most children quickly responded with apples or cheese or orange juice, but as a future beer connoisseur, my thoughts were elsewhere. My answer was beer.

I drew a simple childish drawing of a Budweiser can, and my teacher, Mrs. Waddell, was more than a little befuddled. When I came home and told my parents, they were bemused. “You could have picked anything in the fridge!” my mother said. “We always have eggs and butter in the fridge too, why didn’t you pick those?” my father asked. They recognized the humor in the situation though, as they still regale friends with this story.

It’s true, our fridge was a veritable cornucopia of chilled foodstuffs, yet nothing piqued my interest quite like that red and white can. Of course, the reason we had those beer cans in the fridge was rather unusual. Budweiser, it turns out, makes for an excellent slug poison. For my green-thumbed father, slugs were the scourge of his existence when he was tootling around in the yard, and he was always looking for ways to defeat the slimy parasites.

My father couldn’t drink the beers anyway, as he had been diagnosed with celiac disease many years before. That means he is extremely allergic to gluten, and too much of it can be deadly. Thus, sadly, he cannot have beer in its truest form.

Since joining The Beer Connoisseur, I have attempted to educate my dad on the impressive gluten-free and alternative grain beer options that exist in today’s extremely varied craft beer world. While my parents were visiting England last year (where my father was born and where he is still a citizen), they sent me a picture of a beer that my father was drinking – one of Belgian brewery Green’s exclusively gluten-free offerings. I was glad that my father was able to imbibe my favorite beverage, and I was even gladder when I heard that he thoroughly enjoyed it, saying the beer “tasted like what I remember beer tasting like.”

My dad had a few beers when he was younger (and less concerned about his longevity). They were pleasant, but they weren’t anything he felt he would deeply miss. Even so, not being able to partake in something your only son deeply enjoys would be a bummer to even the most stoic paterfamilias.

So when I realized that Green’s beer was relatively easy to procure in my area, a new tradition was born: whenever I visit my parents, I make sure to bring my dad a nice gluten-free beer. They might not be the perfect facsimile of hops, malt and barley-filled beers, but some of them certainly come close.

Gluten-free beer helps me bond with my wonderful father, in that we can discuss the differences between “real” beer and gluten-free beer. Also, drinking any booze with your father makes you feel special. It's a rite of passage, like when Rusty Griswold downs a can of suds in National Lampoon’s Vacation, though I’m happy to say my dad has a lot more intelligence and people skills than Clark Griswold.

(Editor's note: in honor of Father’s Day and our Kickstarter, the BC online staffers are writing about the role beer played in their fathers’ lives.)

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