For those with celiac disease, or others who try to eat a gluten-free diet, beer can be a bit of a challenge. Beer is made from fermented grains – generally wheat, barley, or rye – and is therefore a problem for those who are unable to consume gluten, a protein found in all three of these grains. You may have noticed that there are more and more gluten-free food options becoming available as food producers catch on to the fact that there’s a market hungry for gluten-free versions of common foods like bread. Have the beer producers caught on to this growing trend?
What is Gluten-Free Beer?
Brewers looking to create a beer product for the gluten-free market are using some very creative recipes. Gluten-free beer may be brewed in a manner similar to traditional beer, using malted rice, sorghum, or buckwheat instead of barley or wheat. Or, it can include more unusual ingredients, like honey and molasses. Technically, only beverages made from malted grains can be called “beer,” so the rice- and sorghum-based drinks make the cut, while those made with honey do not. But they’re all sold in the same section of the store and target the same beer-craving market, so we won’t exclude the non-malted-grain brews. Read on to learn about some gluten-free beer brands you might want to try.
Gluten-Free Beer Options
- Redbridge: This lager is produced by Anheuser-Busch, the same company that makes Budweiser and Michelob, so it is widely distributed.
- Dragon’s Gold: Produced by Bard’s Tale Beer, this craft-brewed option is marketed as “America’s first gluten-free sorghum beer.”
These are beers made with sorghum plus one or more other grains.
- New Grist: Made by Lakefront Brewery, this sorghum- and rice-based beer has won medals at the Great American Beer Festival, the World Beer Championship, and the Los Angeles County Fair.
- Sprecher Brewery: Sprecher’s two gluten-free brews, Mbege and Shakparo, are only available in limited release, so they may be trickier to track down. Modeled on traditional African beers, both are made from sorghum and millet, and Mbege also includes bananas.
- Green’s Gluten-Free Beers: Green’s originated in Belgium, but has three brews available in the USA. These Belgian-style brews are made from millet, sorghum, buckwheat, and rice. You can choose an amber, dubbel, or tripel ale.
Rice, Buckwheat, and Millet Beers
- Les Bières de la Nouvelle-France: This Canadian brewery’s beers are available at some locations in the USA. They offer three gluten-free options – a pale ale and a red ale, both made from rice and buckwheat, and a lager made from millet.
- Honey Beer: As its name suggests, this brew is made from honey. Other ingredients include molasses and hops.
The Bottom Line
You don’t have to give up beer to avoid gluten. With more and more gluten-free options becoming available, a gluten-free diet no longer forces you to avoid all foods and beverages traditionally made from wheat and barley. This list is by no means exhaustive – we tried to stick to brands that would be available across the country. Keep an eye out for local breweries selling gluten-free products regionally. We bet that after some taste-testing, you’ll find a gluten-free beer to call your own.
Christina Newberry is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in national and local magazines and newspapers. With a Bachelor’s degree in English and Anthropology from the University of Victoria and a Journalism Certificate from Langara College, Christina brings keen curiosity and the love of a good story to her work with HealthCastle.com.
Christina is a passionate traveler and urban gardener with an interest in vegetarian eating and making good, tasty food from scratch. Sharing lessons learned from her own experiences, Christina writes about lifestyle topics for HealthCastle, with a focus on eating well at home and on the road.