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Gluten Free Beer Guide

| January 9, 2012 | 7 Comments

Gluten Free Beer Guide

They say beer is an acquired taste and I know it’s true.  When I was a kid my father occasionally let me have a sip of his beer.  In the Summertime he would sometimes come home from work after a long day and he would pull out a cold bottle of beer, give me a sip and I would inevitably gag, spit it out, and say how bad it was. I imagine that this was most people’s initial reaction to beer, but over time, many of develop a taste for it. In college I worked at a bar and was able to drink many different beers regularly and I was hooked. I became a beer lover.

Then one day: nothing. No more beer. In 2004 I was diagnosed with celiac disease and I was immediately on a gluten free diet and for all intents and purposes there was no gluten free beer.  For years I didn’t try one gluten free beer that is worth mentioning here. None of the very few products available at the time tasted anything like the “beer” taste I grew to love.

Then something changed. More people started becoming gluten intolerant. More people were asking for gluten free beers from their bartenders, servers, grocers and brewers. The call was answered. Gluten free beer still isn’t as good as beer made with wheat and barley, but now there are several good and readily accessible gluten free beers available in the United States and Canada, and even more in Europe. Some of these brews are so good that they are enjoyed by people who aren’t required to drink gluten free beer. These beers taste the way beer was meant to taste!

For the most part, gluten free beers are brewed with sorghum as a substitute for barley. Other ingredients including Millet are used as well. Sourgum has a distinct bitter and sometimes sweet taste, which isn’t bad, but can be a little to strong at times. It seems that, to overcome this taste, several brewers have added fruit to gluten free beers. The fruit is generally used in a subtle, complimentary way, and not in a sweet and overpowering way that one might imagine.

We have compiled the below guide of gluten free beers available in North Carolina to let you know what is available, and what to expect from each. This is a “living” list, which will be updated as new beers become available. Please let us know if we have missed any beers you know are available in NC, or if you disagree with any of our comments on these beers.

Gluten Free Beer Guide

Bard's Sorghum Malt gluten free Beer

Bard’s Tale

www.bardsbeer.com/

Notes: Bard’s Beer is an American Lager It was the first gluten-free sorghum beer and the only beer brewed with 100% malted sorghum.  Ingredients: Sorghum, yeast, hops and water—contains no wheat, barley, rye or oats and is naturally gluten-free

Alcohol by volume 4.6%
Reviews from Beeradvocate.com

 

 

Brunehaut

www.brunehaut.com

Brunehaut Bio Gluten free beer bottles Brewed in Brunehaut, Belgium. An artisanal brewer, Brunehaut employs ancient Belgian brewing recipes, dating from the First Crusade and documented from 1096. Combining top (in-bottle) fermentation with modern production technologies, Brunehaut’s  signature beers include Dubble and Tripel bottle-conditioned ales, consistent with 1000+-year-old Belgian brewing tradition.

Brunehaut Gluten-free Bio Amber
Belgian style Amber, Alcohol by volume
6.5%
Reviews from Ratebeer.com

Brunehaut Gluten-free Bio Blonde
Belgian Ale, Alcohol by volume
6.5%
Reviews from Ratebeer.com

 

Estrella Damm DauraEstrella Dam Daura Gluten free beer bottle

www.estrelladamm.com

Brewed by the S.A. Damm beer company, Barcelona, Spain.

Notes: Made using barley malt, but is reported to have less than 6 ppm of gluten. Less than 20ppm is generally considered safe for people with gluten intolerance & Celiac disease.

In 2011 the gluten-free beer Estrella Damm Daura won Three Gold medals for Best Gluten free beer. First, a Gold Medal at the World Beer Championships in Chicago, IL. Secondly the won Gold at the International Beer Challenge in London, UK. Third they won the World’s Best Gluten-free Lager Award (for the 3rd consecutive time) at the World Beer Awards, also held in London, UK.

Because barley is used instead of sorghum, it has a taste that is much more like “normal” beer than ant of the other on this page. Possibly my favorite of the gluten free beers currently available.

Alcohol by volume 5.4%

Reviews from Beeradvocate.com

Greens Quest gluten free Beer

Green’s Quest

Green’s Beers

www.glutenfreebeers.co.uk

Brewed by Baildon Shipley West Yorkshire, United Kingdom

Discovery Amber – English Strong Ale

Notes: this Amber beer has a bitter-sweet, malty taste.

Alcohol by volume 6.0%

Discovery Amber Reviews From Beeradvocate.com

 

Endeavour – Dubble Ale 

Notes: The Dubble is Double brewed, and tastes like it. Double brewing involves using double the amount of ingredients and inevitably increases the alchol content as well. If you enjoy dark, stout beers, chances are that you will enjoy this one.

Alcohol by volume: 7.0%

Endeavour  Reviews From Beeradvocate.com

Greens Discovery gluten free beer

Green’s Discovery

 

Quest Tripel Ale – Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Brewed and bottled in Lochristi, Gent, Belgium

Notes: This triple ale is quite a strong beer, with triple the normal beer ingredients, and 8.5% alcohol. Yet the taste is deceiving light, and it doesn’t taste as strong as Green’s Double. Slightly sweet and tart. This is one of the best gluten free beers I have tasted.

Alcohol by volume: 8.5%

Quest Tripel Ale Reviews From Beeradvocate.com


Hambleton Toleration gluten free beer bottle
Hambleton Toleration

http://www.hambletonales.co.uk/gfa.htm

A tawny ale with aromas of Cascade, Liberty and Challenger hops and specially prepared dark sugars providing full bodied initial sweetness giving way to pronounced fruit and hop character with a strong citrus finish.

English Pale Ale, Alcohol by volume: 4.4%
Reviews from BeerAdvocate.com

New Grist

http://www.lakefrontbrewery.com/gluten_free.html6 pack of New Grist gluten free beer

Lakefront Brewery, Milwaukee, WI

Alcohol by volume: 5.75%

Notes: New Grist won the silver medal in the Gluten Free category at the 2011 Great American Beer Festival. This beer is very light in color and a little on the sweet side. New Grist is more readily available that some of the other beers in this guide.

Reviews From BeerAdvocate.com

 

New Planet 3R Raspberry gluten free ale

New Planet 3R Raspberry Ale

New Planet

brewed by New Planet Beer Company, Boulder, CO

http://newplanetbeer.com

All of New Planet’s Beers are sold in 4 packs.

3R Raspberry Ale

Notes:  This Raspberry ale has a light, subtle raspberry flavor. Made from sorghum, corn extract, raspberry puree, orange peel, hops, and yeast, it’s just a tad bit sweet. Good refreshing taste. FYI: 3R stands for Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.

Alcohol by volume: 5%

Tread Lightly Ale

off-the-grid gluten free pale  ale

Off-the-Grid Pale Ale

Notes: Tread Lightly Ale is a gluten free ale made from sorghum, corn extract, orange peel, hops, and yeast. It’s a bright and light bodied beer.

Alcohol by volume: 5%

Off  The Grid Pale Ale

This gluten free pale ale does the classic pale ale style justice. It has a deep amber color and good character and body. Made with three varieties of hop, this beer provides the satisfying “hoppiness” that you would look for in a pale ale.  It’s made from sorghum, brown rice extract, molasses, tapioca maltodextrin, caramel color, hops, and yeast.

Alcohol by volume: 5%

 

Omission Beer

Brewed by Widmer Brothers Brewing in Portland, Oregon
omissionbeer.com

Notes: Omission is the first craft beer brand in the US  focused on brewing craft beers with traditional beer ingredients, including malted barley, specially crafted to remove gluten. Gluten levels in Omission beers are reduced through a proprietary process and tested to be gluten free, (contains less than 20ppm of gluten) by an independent lab .

Omission LagerOmission gluten free lager

Notes: Light in color, slightly sweet, brewed in the traditional lager style.  Very similar to many light American lager beers. It’s refreshing to taste a gluten free beer without a Sorghum aftertaste!

Alcohol by volume: 4.6%
Reviews from BeerAdvocate.com 

 

 

 

Omission Pale AleOmission pale ale gluten free beer, 6 pack

Notes: Bold and hoppy, golden orange in color, hints of citrus zest with malty undertones. Since this beer is brewed with barley malt instead of sourghum, it has an authentic: “beer taste” that beer lover who have to stay gluten free crave.

Alcohol by volume: 5.8%
Reviews from Beer Advocate

 
6 pack of redbridge gluten free beer

 RedBridge

www.redbridgebeer.com

Brewed by ANHEUSER-BUSCH, Saint Lewis, Missouri
Notes: American Amber / Red Lager.  Anheuser-Busch’s (Budweiser) gluten free offering. Their product was already 90% rice-based, why not tweak a few ingredients and make it gluten free to hit a growing market? Two good things about this beer: It’s inexpensive and you can find it in most grocery stores. The taste isn’t bad, it’s on the light side, comparable to Budweiser.

Alcohol by volume: 4.8%

Reviews from Beeradvocate.com
Sprecher's Shakparo Gluten free Ale

Sprecher’s Shakparo Ale

http://www.sprecherbrewery.com

Notes: Sprecher’s gluten free Shakparo Ale is a West African Shakparo-style beer brewed from sorghum and millet. Because barley and wheat are not grown in large quantities in sub-Saharan Africa, traditional Shakparos are brewed with sorghum and millet and are therefore able to be brewed gluten-free. This beer has a very strong Soughum taste.

Alcohol by Volume: 5.7%
Reviews from BeerAdvocate.com
St. Peters Gluten Free beer bottle

 St. Peter’s G-Free

Notes: launched in August 2007. A clean, crisp, gluten free ale with a but of a “skunky” taste that I associate with the Canadian beer Moosehead.  Made from sorghum, has a pilsner lager style finish and aromas of citrus and mandarin from American Amarillo hops. Excellent Beer, worth a try.

Alcohol by volume: 4.2%

Reviews From BeerAdvocate.com

 

 

 

Updated August 30, 2012

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Category: Gluten Free, Gluten Free Life

About the Author (Author Profile)

Jeff consumes most of his waking time on the inter-webs thinking about, and creating assets for digital marketing and social media strategies. He is a partner at the digital marketing firm Magnetic Ideas where his focus is to help businesses and organizations build a successful web presence that aligns with sales and marketing goals.

Jeff has been blogging since 2006 and writes about various topics including living gluten free, gluten free recipes, and digital marketing.

Jeff is also also an incurable entrepreneur, gluten free advocate, community organizer, social media addict , husband, father of three, and self-professed foodie.

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Comments (7)

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  1. Brunehaut says:

    Dear GF in NC

    We must admit surprise at the lack of inclusion of our two gluten-free labels. :
    Brunehaut bio, gluten-free Amber
    AND
    Brunehaut bio, gluten-free Blond

    But, as a new launch in Spring 2011, we are also certain this is just an oversight.
    Still, we are certain that our gluten-free beer is sold at Brusin’ Ales and Sip…a wine store.
    We suspect there must be other N.C. locations.

    Santé + cheers from Belgium

    • Jeff says:

      Thanks for letting us know about Brunehaut’s Gluten Free Beers, this is the first I’ve heard of them. They look great! I’ll be happy to add them to our list.

      Cheers!
      Jeff

  2. Good List, there are a few more Gluten Free Beers available in the US. You can find a complete list on the Gluten Free Beer Association website under links.

  3. You should check out a new and local Albany NY GF brew. Its called Steadfast Sorghum Pale Ale. Check them out http://brewcrewstore.com/

  4. Brad says:

    While not beers, hard ciders are a GREAT alternative for those with celiac disease.

  5. Jennifer says:

    Has anyone experienced a reaction from drinking Omission? I went to the Gluten Free Expo in Raleigh and was terribly sick for two weeks after. I still don’t feel 100% myself. I’m a religious label reader and I can’t think of anything else it could have been. I loved the taste, simply the absence of sorghum was awesome. But I don’t really feel like getting sick again to test my theory. So unfortunately I’m probably going to stay away from Omission.

    I agree Brad that hard cider is a good option, but there is nothing like a good beer. Cider gets too sweet for me after awhile, and isn’t always available when I’m at a bar or restaurant.

    • Jeff says:

      Jennifer, I had 2 or 3 servings of Omission at the Raleigh Gluten Free Expo and didn’t get sick. Interestingly, I usually DO get sick after tasting and sampling at Gluten fairs like that one. This is the third GF expo one I attended this year, and the first one I didn’t get sick at.
      According to omission, they are testing at under 10PPM, but I don’t blame you for not wanting to test it with your health at risk!

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