Gluten Free Beer Exists (Sort Of)

Last night I went to a new cafe with a friend of mine who recently went on a gluten free diet as prescribed by his doctor. I was pretty excited when we walked in and saw a fairly good sized craft beer selection (probably over 40 different beers). While I was looking over the list deciding what I was going to drink, he was telling me about eating gluten free.

As I sat looking over the list of beers, he was excited that they carried 1 gluten free beer (Redbridge). Basically if he wanted to drink beer, he had 1 choice. That sucks. Apparently finding gluten free beers at most restaurants is pretty difficult.

To make it worse, I tried the Redbridge he had (which is brewed by Anheuser-Busch), and it wasn’t very good. At that point I was pretty thankful I can have gluten, but felt for those out there that are bound by very few beverage choices.

I did a little research and found a few interesting things about gluten free beer. It seemed that the UK had a lot bigger selection of gluten free beers. However their laws are a bit different as beers can be labeled gluten free as long as the beer has less than 20 parts per million gluten.

Most gluten free beers are brewed with sorghum or rice instead of grains which gives gluten free beer a fairly sweet taste.

Promote Gluten Free Beer

There are a few things you can do to promote gluten free beers and to make them more accessible. The main way is to request it at your local restaurants. Talk to owners and write letters asking them to carry a variety of gluten free beers. Also speak with your wallet.  Most bottle shops have a few gluten free beers so go try them. The higher the demand, the more that will be produced.

Gluten Free Beer List

Here are a few gluten free beers to check out. I haven’t tried any of them other than Redbridge, so let me know what you think.

What’s your favorite gluten free beer?

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About Logan Thompson

Logan is the owner of Blog About Beer. Along with blogging, he is also the author of two books, Beer Lover's Oregon and Beer Lover's Washington, an avid homebrewer, husband, dad of 2 girls, business owner and lover of ridiculously spicy foods.

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7 comments

  1. Last year I went up to Waterbury, VT for a weekend get away, and The Alchemist (their local brew pub) had three (if I remember correctly) gluten free beers on tap. There was an IPA, a lambic, and a style I am forgetting. It was the first time I had ever had a gluten free beer and they were all quite good. The IPA and lambic actually medaled at the GABF 2009. Unfortunately the Alchemist does not do any off-site sales, but it shows brewers can experiment with the gluten-free style. I’ll have to check the shelves of the local better beer stores and pick up a six of the gluten free stuff.

  2. I agree that there should be more gluten-free beer options out there for people who are avoiding gluten, but we run into a chicken-or-the-egg problem. So far, the few gluten-free beers I’ve tried are pretty horrible. Therefore, I won’t be requesting them at my local bar or speaking with my wallet at my local beer store. If there were some decent beers made with rice or sorghum, then it’d be a different story.

  3. The good news about gluten-free beer is that gluten intolerance is normally diagnosed when your doctor can’t figure out what’s wrong with you. Almost no one is actually gluten-intolerant. So go ahead and have a beer!

    • Is Axel a doctor? No. Is he giving free medical advice? Perhaps. Should you believe his claim that “almost no one” is gluten intolerant? Absolutely not. Some people are, and the consequences are far more serious than the benefit of any drink.

  4. I am allergic to yeast. My doctor told me the only beer he knew of that had no yeast was Corona. I tried it and my allergy did not act up.

    Are they others? Is yeast and gluten the same thing??????

    Thanks.
    RB

    • Hi RB,

      Gluten and yeast are very different. All beer is created with yeast. Many macro beers will filter out the yeast, so beers like Corona may have little yeast once they are bottled. I’m not sure of beers out there that would be best for you to drink if you can’t have yeast though. Best of luck.

  5. Try the Estrella Daura from Spain! It is by far the best gluten free beer that I have ever tried. I have had them at the Flying Saucer in Nashville and have loved them every since. I found the Redbridge horrible but the Daura from Estrella actually tastes like a beer. Slightly bitter, slightly hoppy with a smooth finish. Keep in mind my wheat gluten intolerance is not severe as in going into a shock episode. Mine triggers dermatitis (water like blisters that itch like poision oak) then crack open the skin. However the more I avoid gluten the more sensitive I get. I not cannot have dark colored soft drinks because of the use of caramel color. Anyway, this beer is the wheat gluten beer lovers beer! Estrella Daura! I am not a distributer but maybe I should look into it.

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