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Cooking for Special Diets: Grab a Gluten-Free Beer with Friends

Tap these options so you can raise a glass of brew with your pals or put a few bottles in the cooler during Dream Cruise weekend.

Ask any adult what they miss most about going gluten-free, and I bet high up on the list is a cold, crisp beer — especially during weekends such as this, when neighbors are gathering to enjoy the Woodward Dream Cruise.

For me, the Dream Cruise is more about community than cars. I love watching my neighbors spruce up their yards in the weeks leading up to the event, taking part in the festivities and meeting with friends.

Perhaps that is part of the loss people feel when it comes to beer and even pizza, bread, restaurant food, etc. It's not just about the food or beverage, it's about the spontaneity of each social event and feeling left out of a get-together or opportunity to enjoy something that once was so simple. I know I took it for granted — how easy it was to live without planning ahead, to simply drive by an establishment and decide to walk in because "this place looks good."

People go to restaurants, they gather in groups at local establishments and, in a way, it keeps us connected.

It's just what we do.

For me, and for many other adults, enjoying an adult beverage is also part of that experience — and one I can understand not wanting to give up.

Fortunately, no one has to. All around us, establishments are stocking up on gluten-free options. It was amazing to me how easy it was to find places with gluten-free beer on the menu.

in Ferndale is one such place where those who want to meet up with a gluten-free friend — or who are gluten-free themselves — can be served a cold one. The Emory offers "a gluten-free craft beer made in Milwaukee by Lakefront Brewery called New Grist. It is made from sorghum and rice extract and apparently is pretty tasty," General Manager Emily Husband said. The Emory also offers two English ciders, Strongbow and Samuel Smith, that are gluten-free.

"We try to be very aware of special diets and allergies and accommodate people as best we can, listing anything pertinent on the menu," Husband said.

, which boasts 43 beer selections on tap, also serves gluten-free Bard's Tale in the bottle for $3.50. Bard's Tale is a craft beer made of sorghum, yeast, hops and water. Founders Craig Belser and Kevin Sepowitz developed Bard's after feeling the burden of giving up one of their favorite pastimes, sitting down with some friends and drinking a beer.

"This was a cruel injustice and we just couldn't abide," according to the Bard's Tale website.

The is a great sports bar in the heart of Clawson's downtown, perfect for meeting with friends outside on the patio or inside in front of the game. The staff is warm and friendly and, oh yeah, it also offers Bard's Tale gluten-free beer and nonalcoholic varieties.

Across the street, chef Nicole Seals said that restaurant also is looking at adding gluten-free beer to its menu.

Want to pick up a six-pack for a neighborhood get-together? Check out or in Berkley; , or in Ferndale; in Clawson; in Troy; or in Royal Oak for a slew of gluten-free brewskies.

Cheers to being social, and not thinking (too much) about where to do so.

Slow Cooker Pork Ribs

This is easy and can be made on the barbecue after adding barbecue sauce. Country-style ribs are on sale at Hiller's this week for $1.99 a pound, so it's an affordable way to feed a crowd or your family before heading out to enjoy the evening with friends and neighbors. I use locally made and gluten-free Hot Rod Bob's barbecue sauce, which also can be found at Hiller's.

  • 3 lbs. boneless country-style pork ribs
  • 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • At least 1 c. barbecue sauce

In a slow cooker, layer ribs and onions and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low for seven to nine hours. Drain and discard juices. Add barbecue sauce and continue cooking for about 30 minutes longer. Serves 4 to 6.

Louise Giles August 20, 2011 at 01:14 PM
Thanks for the gluten-free info. Of course, Amici's Pizza in Berkley offers a wonderful gluten-free pizza and gluten-free beer, as well.
Alissa Malerman August 20, 2011 at 01:17 PM
MMMM.... love Amici's Pizza! Would go well with a cold one. Thanks!
jennifer faber August 20, 2011 at 03:01 PM
It is nice to be able to have choices for g.f. beer. My favorite gluten free beer is Red Bridge, which I find at Whole Foods (they also carry the New Grist brand). With the gluten free beers, I find that they taste much better when they are super-cold, so I put it in the freezer for about 10 minutes (just don't forget it in there!).
Amanda Bonser August 20, 2011 at 03:29 PM
My husband loves New Grist. He finds it and other GF beers taste better in a pilsner glass cold. Have fun cruising (sober).

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