Review: Wegmans Gluten-Free Beer Event


 gluten free beer eventThe story begins at the Making Tracks for Celiacs Walk on Sunday, April 27.  I was parousing each vendor station and came upon the Wegmans table.  There was a sign for “Exclusive Gluten-Free Beer Event” with a raffle box underneath.  Now, since I was diagnosed with Celiac AFTER college, I am a pretty big beer fan and this was pretty exciting to me.  So, I dropped my ticket in. 

 Almost a week later, I got a phone call from Wegmans saying that I had won 2 tickets to the event!  I felt pretty darn lucky, because I never win anything.  So I immediately emailed my Celiac Support Group friends and told them the good news.  First, Caitlin responded saying that her mom and friend had won too.  Then, Julie said she won tickets as well….and I began to feel less lucky, but still pretty excited.

I imagined the event would be a “standing event” where you walked around tasting different beers, enjoying passed hors d’oeuvres among a sea of people.  So I was quite surprised when I walked into the Wegmans Conference Facility and saw 10 dinner tables set up, a lot of familiar faces, and big signs for Omission Beer.  I knew the event was exclusive, but it seemed that the only people in attendance were from the Celiac Walk and that this was a kind of a test event.  

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That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the event, I did.  I loved that tiny beer mugs that the Omission team poured their three kinds of beer into (Pale Ale, IPA, and Lager).  Omission IS my favorite gluten-free beer so I was pretty enthralled with their presentation about HOW they take the gluten out of the beer (it has to do with brewers clarex read more here).  There was an interesting discussion on what the limits are for making gluten-free beer with this process and we learned that there aren’t many, except for maybe a Hefeweizen.  

We also tasted Stella Cidre, which I liked because of the drier quality, and Applejack, which I didn’t because it was too sweet.  The three course dinner was delicious.  We had a summer salad, salmon, and hanger steak – all recipes from Menu magazine.  However, I would have preferred a Wegmans gluten-free brownie at the end and skipped the steak.  I did really love the branded drinking glasses we got at the end.  

But, the event felt sort of confused to me.  I felt like it was not quite small enough to be intimate like the Next Door Gluten-Free Dinner was but not quite large enough to feel like a party.  And, I wasn’t sure if it was just a Omission marketing event.  I’d rather attend a smaller gluten-free beer dinner pairing event that features one brand OR an all out invite your whole friends circle beer tasting with more many different gluten-free beers and ciders and with lots of small plates to nibble on.  That’s my two cents, Wegmans, thanks for the free meal!

Making Tracks for Celiacs this SUNDAY!


On Sunday, April 27, the Greater Rochester Celiac Support Group (of which I am Vice President) is hosting a fundraising walk and gluten-free food fair at Monroe Community College called, “Making Tracks for Celiacs” sponsored by Wegmans and supported by the Center for Celiac Research at Mass General.  

This is the 13th year that the Center for Celiac Research is hosting this event, which has made over $2,000,000 to date.  Local celiac support groups host these walks in their community and are able to keep 25% of the funds they raise, while 75% goes to the support research and national projects of the Center for Celiac Research.

This Sunday, the Greater Rochester Celiac Support Group expects as many as 650 adults and children with celiac disease along with their friends and families to participate in the walk and gluten-free food fair, where participants will be able to samples from over 60 vendors.  This year, we’ve invited local food trucks Le Petit Poutine and Hello Arepa to provide samples and sell their gluten-free products.  In recognition that this disease also affects many children, there will be an area of the event to a “Kid Zone” with fun activities.

We encourage you to pre-register for this fun, family -friendly event online here:, but you can also register the day of the event as well starting at 11:00 AM.  Registration is $20 for those 13 and up, $15 for those under 13, and those under 5 are free.

See you there!


The Details:

What: Making Tracks for Celiacs

When: Sunday, April 27 11-3

Food Fair: 12:30

Where: Monroe Community College

Why: To support the Center for Celiac Research and the Greater Rochester Celiac Support Group

Jovial Foods Hosts Culinary Getaway Contest


My gluten-free readers will be familiar with Jovial Foods, the organic brand specializing in einkorn and gluten-free goods that seemed to have just sprung onto the market out of nowhere and became a top gluten free pasta brand.  Once a year, Jovial hosts a contest to win a Culinary Getaway to an 18th century Tuscan Villa.  Combining my love of food and travel, this kind of trip is right up my alley.  The contest is to submit an article for Jovial’s blog that conveys your passion for the food that Jovial produces.  These are the ideas Jovial put forth for some inspiration and guidelines:

“To enter, write a blog post on a culinary topic you’re passionate about. What is your favorite jovial product? Do you have a great recipe for einkorn bread? Do you live in a city that hosts fabulous gluten free restaurants that others would love to hear about? Have tips for those who are newly diagnosed with gluten intolerance?” (Jovial Culinary Getaways, 2014)

See that first question – “What is your favorite Jovial product?” That one, that’s when the idea hit me: I’d write a poem about Jovial’s gluten-free egg tagliatelle – my favorite gluten-free pasta – and tell my gluten-free story at the same time.  The first lines just popped in my head like divine inspiration,

“It was just as she feared,
When the Italian-American did hear,
A life of gluten she would lack,
Due to the diagnosis of celiac.”

You see, I wanted to write something playful about learning how to cope with having celiac disease.  Being diagnosed with the disease is often the end to many years of suffering for many people.  Being diagnosed is a good thing.  And while there is a learning curve to changing your diet and learning how to eat out that can be difficult, overall I am happy that I eat gluten-free because it means I am healthy.  That’s why I chose to write a poem, with a jovial tone (see what I did there) about my favorite pasta.

So guess what?  Thanks to friends and family and the internet community that voted for me, I won the first round!  I am now one step closer to winning that dream vacation to Tuscany.  There will be a total of 7 first round winners that will be judged internally by esteemed bloggers to determine the final grand prize winner.  Wish me luck.

To read my poem in full, click here.

Wegmans is Gluten-Free Top Dog


According to New York Time’s article on February 17, “A Big Bet on Gluten-Free,” Rochester’s very own Wegmans grocery store is now the #1 seller of gluten-free products in the US.  The article features photos from gluten-free sections in a New Jersey Wegmans and quotes from Wegmans gluten-free experts, Trish Kazacos, Charlie Gardner, and Tim Mahan, who remind readers that Wegmans started developing their own private label lines gluten-free in the 1990s.

Since I moved to Rochester, Wegmans and their gluten-free dominance here in the Rochester market has been a frequent topic of my writing.  I think many of us living in Rochester take for granted, the amount of support Wegmans gives the gluten-free community.  Their labeling practices and gluten-free sections alone rival much larger grocery chains.  Further, they are huge supporters of the local celiac support group “Greater Rochester Celiac Disease Support Group” – this year they are presenting sponsor at the Making Tracks for Celiacs Walk on April 27.  They come to the group’s meetings at least once a year and last year when they developed a freshly baked gluten-free product line, they debuted it at one of the support group meetings.

We are lucky to Wegmans here in Rochester, and it’s nice to see their recognition in a huge national newspaper for being a leader in gluten-free. Thanks Wegmans!