Written by Beverage Director Bill Norris:
If my physician ever told me that I could no longer eat foods containing gluten, I’d miss pasta. I’d long for pizza. I’d ache for bread. But losing beer would push me over the edge.
Fortunately, I wouldn’t have to lose beer. Did you know that all the Austin Drafthouse locations carry at least one gluten free beer option? Most of the gluten free beers out there use the gluten free grain sorghum instead of the more traditional barley. Beer has been brewed this way in Africa for centuries and the results range from the light, crisp Redbridge to the medium bodied Green’s Discovery Amber and beyond. And, of course, we also carry a selection of ciders that are gluten free guests can enjoy worry free.
Drinking gluten free is even easier at the Ritz. All distilled spirits, unless they are flavored or colored after distillation are gluten free. The act of distilling breaks down and destroys the gluten proteins, so unless the booze is adulterated in some way, there’s no gluten at all. I’d steer clear of the cheap stuff—sometimes the caramel coloring added to a product to make it appear older can contain gluten—and I’d be wary of certain flavored products and cordials, but straight liquor, even if it’s made from grains, is always gluten free.
In the kitchen, keeping gluten free can be somewhat more difficult. In all of our kitchens, gluten is present in many forms, and to ensure the health of our gluten free guests, we need to make sure we are serving our gluten free offerings without any cross contamination.
Right now, we are researching more gluten free products for our menus. In particular, we’re seeking pasta, pizza crusts and a quality burger bun that are gluten free and tasty.
In the meantime we have a number of gluten free offerings already on the menu. Our hummus with crudite, chips and salsa, crème brulee, cobb salad, queso magnifico, house salad,
green chile macaroni and cheese, spaghetti squash with pomodoro, chips and queso, and Greek salad are all gluten free. Most of our other salads can be made gluten free by simply holding the crouton. And, of course, all of our sandwiches are available as a lettuce wrap while we work on perfecting that gluten free bun.
EDIT: The green chile mac and cheese CANNOT be made GF at this point. We're in the market for GF pasta but we're not quite there yet. Sorry for the confusion!