Big News in Gluten-Free Alcohol: Michelob Introduces Gluten-Free ULTRA Light Cider

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I think we can all agree on one thing. The gluten-free diet sure does take a toll on your selection of alcoholic drinks.

Being able to order and enjoy a beer is one of the simple pleasures of life (or so I’m told), and having that taken away from you can be the toughest part about this diet we’re all forced to follow.

We all cope with it differently. Some stop drinking. Some take up an interest in wine. Some take their chances with hard liquor. For me, it’s hard cider, and brands like Strongbow, Woodchuck and Angry Orchard are some of my favorites. After all, cider looks like beer, it has roughly the same alcohol content as beer, and it is available in almost any bar or liquor store you go to.

The problem? Traditional ciders are LOADED with sugar… that is unless it’s a new Michelob Ultra Light Cider!

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Following on the coattails of their Red Bridge beer’s wonderful success in the gluten-free market, Anheuser-Busch has recently introduced a new gluten-free cider. Just as Red Bridge revolutionized the gluten-free beer industry, Michelob Ultra Light Cider is bringing big changes to the gluten-free beverage market as well as the hard cider scene.

Michelob Ultra Light Cider is a lighter-tasting, lower-calorie version of hard cider. It is naturally gluten-free, and is marketed as a great alternative to champagne, white wine or light beers. Hard cider is a refreshing option for hot summer days, as well as seasonally appropriate for autumn. Equally as important, Michelob Ultra Light Cider contains only 120 calories per bottle, compared to the 150-180 calories in regular hard cider. This makes it appealing to dieters and health-conscious drinkers.

 

What We Think of the Newest Gluten-Free Alcohol

 

Here at the CeliAct Blog, we reviewed Michelob Ultra Light Cider to see if it lived up to its claims of being as delicious as regular cider without the extra calories.

We found that Michelob Ultra Light Cider tastes best when served ice cold. In fact, you may like it best poured over ice. It is noticeably lighter in color and taste than traditional hard cider. We were surprised to find that it has a yellow color instead of the darker brown that is traditional for cider. According to Michelob, it is made of “hand-picked apples.” It tastes only mildly of alcohol, which is a plus for people who don’t enjoy the alcoholic flavor of some drinks but a drawback for more sophisticated palates who may find it tastes too much like apple juice. It contains 4% alcohol by volume, and it’s sweet but not overly sugary like some ciders.

When we reviewed Michelob Ultra Light Cider we were happy to find that it doesn’t have any artificial flavors, although it’s sweetened with both sucralose (an artificial sweetener also known as Splenda) and stevia (a natural non-caloric sweetener). Press releases have touted this cider as being “sweetened naturally”, but we found this claim to be disingenuous since sucralose is certainly not a natural sweetener.

Anheuser-Busch’s vice president of premium lights, Ryan Moore, said in a statement this spring that, “as more people continue to discover cider, we’ve found that many view traditional ciders as either too heavy, too sweet or both… This perception has oftentimes limited ciders to a seasonal beverage during fall and winter, but we saw an untapped potential to expand the category as a year-round option for adult drinkers. Michelob Ultra Light Cider fills this void with a lower-calorie cider with a milder, but distinct, sweetness that can be enjoyed straight or over ice.” It is produced at a brewery in Baldwinsville, N.Y.

Look for Michelob Ultra Light Cider on the shelves or in the refrigerator of your local liquor purveyor alongside Michelob’s (gluten-containing) malt beverages or near more traditional gluten-free ciders such as those made by Woodchuck and Strongbow. It is a great gluten-free drink option for hot summer days, fall picnics, and any time you crave a light, sweet adult beverage.

Have you seen this product at a bar or liquor store near you? Have you tried it? Let us know what you think!

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