Hello! Welcome to Beyond Soy!
Beer and wine are some of the most frustrating foods to avoid soy in. Since they are alcoholic, beer, wine, and cider are regulated differently than food and are not required to display a list of ingredients. That's right - they don't need to tell you what they contain. At first glance this shouldn't be a problem since the ingredients in beer and wine are pretty straight forward, but Ashley has exhibited soy intolerance symptoms after having a beer.
They only way we've been able to determine which beer or wine is soy-free (or at least doesn't cause Ashley to exhibit symptoms) is through trial and error. That sucks! If you want to enjoy a beer, you don't want to be worried that it will make you feel bad later. When a beer does seem to contain soy, she feels really bad and therefore we aren't eager to try it again to confirm.
Generally we've found that high quality beer is soy-free, but unfortunately that isn't a universal rule. More specifically, European beers are more likely to be soy-free, but again it isn't universal. It really comes down to trial and error and sticking with what you know. Just like pizza and other breads, locally made beer is much more likely to be soy free.
In practice, Ashley and I stick to beers that we know are okay, or choose beers that are locally made in smaller breweries. At the end of this post we've included a list of beers that Ashley has tried that we've categorized as okay (i.e., seems to be soy-free) or not okay to drink. By no means are these lists exhaustive, but they are a good place to start. The only way to really know if a specific beer is safe to drink is to try it and see how you feel.
We've also started experimenting a little bit with home brewing (mainly hard cider at this point), as it can be a great way to know what is going into your beer. When making your own beer, make sure you know what all of the mash ingredients are as soy could sneak in if you aren't careful.
Overall, wine seems to always be soy-free. We have a smaller sample size of wine, but we haven't had any specific soy-related issues with it. Choosing white or red seems to make no difference.
Cider also usually goes pretty well. Because the ingredients are pretty straightforward (i.e., apple juice), cider is a pretty safe bet for a soy-free drink.
The Bottom Line:
Based on our experience, both cider and wine are good choices if you have to avoid soy. Some beer is safe to drink as well, but the only way to identify a specific beer is by trial and error. If you'd like to learn from our tests, our lists of beer are below. Good luck with your soy-free drinking!
- Dogfish Head
- New Belgium
- Local Beers
- Any cheap beer
- Sam Adams