Twisted Tea is a favorite hard tea among consumers because of its refreshing taste and caffeine boost. Despite being canned, it tastes just like freshly brewed tea. However, people intolerant to gluten must consider if the drink has gluten to avoid a reaction to the beverage. So, is twisted tea gluten-free?
No, twisted tea is not gluten-free as it comes from a process similar to beer manufacturing.
This article covers everything about the ingredients and characteristics of twisted tea to help you understand why it is not suitable for a gluten-free diet.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a natural protein occurring in wheat, barley, and other grains that keep them together. While a huge global population consumes gluten regularly, some are intolerant to it. Gluten consumption can cause bloating and fatigue in people with gluten intolerance.
Besides gluten intolerance, people with celiac disease must also eliminate gluten from their diet. In celiac disease, the body thinks of gluten as a pathogen and attacks the intestines, restricting their ability to absorb micro and macronutrients.
What is Twisted Tea?
Twisted tea is a twisted (alcoholic) take on tea. It is a popular hard beverage combining tea, alcohol, and fruit flavors. The Boston Beer Company, known for manufacturing beer and alcoholic drinks, is the genius behind twisted tea.
Some of the twisted tea flavors are:
- Half And Half
- Slightly Sweet
Is Twisted Tea Beer?
Twisted tea is a malt beverage made from barley. Opposed to popular perception, it is not a beer despite being sold in the beer section in supermarkets. Despite similar manufacturing, twisted tea’s fermentation process makes it different from beer. The tea leaves are fused into the alcohol after fermentation, which gives it the alcoholic characteristics.
It contains 5% alcohol by volume, whereas twisted tea light has 4% alcohol. They also have a 4.5% variant for sale in some states.
Twisted Tea Ingredients
Knowing what is in twisted tea will make it easier to decide if it suits your diet. Let’s tell you about the ingredients:
Camellia Sinensis: Gluten-Free
Camellia Sinensis leaves are tea leaves used in twisted tea to incorporate the caffeine element.
This carbohydrate produced from rice, corn, or potatoes is a gluten-free sweetener that suppresses the bitterness of the tea and alcohol flavor.
Different variations of twisted tea include mango, peach, raspberry, half and half, and slightly sweet tea. The twisted tea flavors themselves are gluten-free, but not the beverage.
Citric Acid: Gluten-Free
Citric acid acts as a preservative and imparts the citrus flavor in lemon twisted tea.
Malt: Contains Gluten
Twisted tea has wheat or barley that gives it a malty flavor. Thus, it contains gluten.
Now that you know what twisted tea and gluten are, it’s time to answer the big question, “Is Twisted Tea gluten-free?”
Does Twisted Tea Have Gluten?
As the ingredient profile of twisted tea shows that most ingredients are gluten-free, a few might still take away the beverage’s “gluten-free” status.
Besides carbs, sodium, tea, and citrus (lemon), the drink also contains malt alcohol prepared from water-soaked wheat, barley, or other gluten grains.
Removing gluten from barley and wheat is not possible; thus, all drinks containing this gluten grain water have gluten in them. Their official website also mentions, “Twisted tea is not gluten-free since it’s made in a process similar to beer.”
How Much Gluten is in Twisted Tea?
The twisted tea label does not specify the amount of gluten in every can. However, beverages like twisted tea typically have 20 ppm of gluten, which is safe to consume if you can tolerate small amounts of gluten. Twisted tea, especially, is believed to have 5 ppm of gluten.
Is Half & Half Twisted Tea Gluten-Free?
Initially, consumers thought that the Half and Half Twisted Tea variant was gluten-free, but it is not. All twisted tea flavors and variants go through the same manufacturing process as beer production.
Does Twisted Tea have Caffeine?
Twisted tea is made with tea leaves and has caffeine. However, the caffeine quantity is relatively low compared to black tea and coffee. A can of twisted tea has 30 mg of caffeine, while a cup of coffee contains 100 mg.
Twisted Tea Nutrition Facts
Each 12 oz can of Twisted Tea contains:
- Calories: 230
- Carbohydrate: 55 g
- Sodium: 46 mg
Each 12 oz can of twisted tea half & half contains:
- Calories: 211
- Carbohydrate: 53 g
- Sodium: 51 mg
Can You Drink Twisted Tea Daily?
Twisted Tea is yummilicious and has become popular among consumers. However, drinking it daily is not the right approach as it may negatively affect your health.
- Each twisted tea bottle contains 24.3 grams or 7½ teaspoons of sugar. It is way more than you would take in your tea throughout the day. So, it is better to opt for a sugar-free alternative if you want to drink it daily or more than once a day.
- Twisted tea also contains caffeine, and drinking too much caffeine comes with the risk of dehydration. You may also feel sleep-deprived after drinking multiple cans of twisted tea.
- It may lead to anxiety in people sensitive to caffeine. Thus, it is advisable to maintain your twisted tea in a moderate amount.
Gluten-Free Twisted Tea Alternatives
Hard ciders are a suitable alternative to twisted tea as they do not use barley or wheat for fermentation. Instead, their fermentation process involves fermenting apple or other fruit juices with yeast and sugar. Eliminating gluten grains makes it a fruity, gluten-free alternative to twisted tea.
Despite having rye, wheat, and barley, spirits are gluten-free hard tea substitutes. It is because of the removal of starch and sugar from gluten grains. Thus, the spirits you drink have no gluten.
While the name contains ‘beer’, which typically indicates gluten, tea beer by Wild Ohio Brewing has a gluten-free version. You can find them in mango, peach, blueberry, and black cherry flavors.
If you are not a fan of twisted tea only because of the caffeine content, you may try a few gluten-free beer options. These include:
- Rice Beer: It is a good choice for people looking for a gluten-free alternative, as rice beer is made from fermented rice instead of barley or wheat.
- Gluten-Free Ale: Besides rice beer, ales from buckwheat, millet, and quinoa are also suitable for gluten-intolerant individuals.
- Sorghum Beer: Sorghum Beer constitutes sorghum grains instead of barley, eliminating gluten content.
The Bottom Line
Twisted tea is a popular hard tea made with tea, alcohol, and lemon. Ingredients like tea, citrus, maltodextrin, and fruit flavors do not contain gluten. However, the drink gets its alcohol from barley fermentation that contains gluten. So, if you are wondering, “Is Twisted Tea gluten-free?” it’s not. It typically contains 5 ppm of gluten, which might suit people with slight gluten intolerance, but you must avoid it if you have celiac disease.
Will 2 twisted teas get you drunk?
Twisted tea contains more alcohol than most beers. However, you can find various craft beers stronger than twisted tea. So, if you have a high beer and alcohol tolerance, two twisted tea cans or bottles will not get you drunk. Yet, if you are not habitual to alcohol intake, two in a day might be too much for you; it depends on your tolerance and body characteristics.
Why is alcohol gluten-free but twisted tea is not?
Alcohol production like whiskey involves malt distillation, making it gluten-free. On the other hand, twisted tea manufacturing does not involve distillation. Thus, the gluten is a part of the final product you get.
How many calories are in twisted tea?
Each 12 oz can of twisted tea contains 230 calories. At the same time, twisted tea half and half a can of the same quantity has 211 calories.
Is twisted tea safe for celiac?
While twisted tea contains only a small amount of gluten, it is not safe for individuals with celiac disease. Mostly, people with slight gluten intolerance also avoid twisted tea. Yet, if you can tolerate small amounts of gluten, you can try the drink.
Meet me; I am Paulina Zaniewska, who’s more hooked on providing the best health blog. I’ve always been so determined to compete as a nutritionist, and here I am, done with a Master’s in food technology. My brilliant performance throughout encouraged me to help people.