Friday, June 27, 2014

Beck's (U.S. Brewed)

Becks gluten free low celiac lager beer German bier Lite Beck's test results
Beer: Beck's (U.S. brewed)
Style: Pilsner/Lager
Brewing location: St. Louis, MO
Originating country: Germany
Alcohol by Volume: 5.0% 
Ingredients: Bremen-brewed Beck's: Two row spring barley from the south of England, yeast, crystal water from the "Rotenburger Rinne" and Hallertau hops from southern Germany. St. Louis-brewed Beck's is unlikely to have the same quality ingredients!
Format tested: 12 oz. bottle purchased in Los Angeles, CA
Beeradvocate rating: 65/100
Ratebeer rating: 10/100
Test kit: E-Z Gluten

  • Beck's is the world's best selling German beer, sold in nearly 90 countries.
  • Owned by local families until February 2002, the Beck's brewery was then sold to Interbrew (now Anheuser-Busch InBev) for €1.8 billion.
  • Beck's logo, a key, is the mirror image of the coat of arms of Bremen.
  • Since 2012 Beck's has been brewed in St. Louis for the US market. Sales dropped substantially after that. See this very interesting Business Week article on AB-InBev "The Plot to Destroy American Beer."

Test result photo

Becks gluten free low celiac lager beer German bier Lite Beck's test results inconclusive

Test result
More than 20 parts per million (ppm).  Though standards vary from country to country, according to the FDA, "In order to use the term 'gluten free' on its label a food must meet all the requirements of the definition, including that the food must contain less than 20 ppm gluten." It is said that products with a gluten content below 20 ppm are suitable for people with celiac disease.

My experience drinking Beck's
I wasn't sure what to expect as I hadn't tried a St. Louis-brewed Beck's before. It's been a long time since I even had a German-brewed Beck's so I it's hard for me to compare. It tasted decent enough but not bursting with flavor. Although it's brewed in St. Louis by Anheuser-Busch, it's still Bremen prices – nice try AB-InBev – but I won't be buying it again. I am not sure where I fall in the gluten tolerance spectrum; I am gluten intolerant but not celiac. I definitely know what it feels like to be “glutened” i.e. gluten exposure, but I have not deliberately pushed my gluten consumption limits with any food or beer. I consumed this 12 oz. bottle in 30 minutes and felt no noticeable gluten-type reaction.