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Traditional beers are made from water, yeast, hops, and wheat or barley — two grains that contain gluten (
As an alternative, many gluten-free beers that are made with gluten-free grains like sorghum, rice, and millet are available.
This article reviews the gluten-free beer market and some factors to consider when choosing the best one for you.
Unlike most traditional beers, gluten-free varieties are made from gluten-free grains and regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) instead of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) (2).
According to FDA regulation, gluten-free beers must contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten (
You’ll likely come across beers labeled “gluten-removed” or “gluten-reduced” on your quest to find gluten-free beer, but these are not gluten-free.
Gluten-removed beer is made from a gluten-containing grain like barley, wheat, or rye. It’s processed using enzymes that digest gluten particles into smaller fragments, which may pose a low risk of causing an immune response in someone with a gluten allergy or intolerance (
Furthermore, a test-tube study revealed that gluten-removed beer could still cause an immune response in some people with celiac disease (
Hence, gluten-removed beers are not recommended if you have a severe gluten intolerance or allergy.
Gluten-free beer is made with gluten-free grains like sorghum, rice, or millet instead of wheat or barley. Gluten-removed beers undergo a process intended to reduce their gluten content.
A growing number of gluten-free beers are available.
If you enjoy regular beer, you may find that gluten-free beers have a different taste profile due to the grains used. Early gluten-free beers often used sorghum, but many brewers have moved away from this ingredient because of its sour flavor.
Instead, many gluten-free brewers now make flavorful ales, Belgian whites, and India pale ales (IPAs) using creative ingredients and other gluten-free grains like millet, buckwheat, rice, and corn.
Some breweries are dedicated gluten-free breweries, which means that they do not handle gluten-containing ingredients at all.
Here are some popular gluten-free beers available around the globe:
- Buck Wild Pale Ale by Alpenglow Beer Company (California, USA)
- Copperhead Copper Ale by Alt Brew (Wisconsin, USA)
- Redbridge Lager by Anheuser-Busch (Missouri, USA)
- Felix Pilsner by Bierly Brewing (Oregon, USA)
- Pyro American Pale Ale by Burning Brothers Brewing (Minnesota, USA)
- Third Contact IPA by Divine Science Brewing (California, USA)
- Glutenator IPA by Epic Brewing Company (Utah, USA)
- Celia Saison by Ipswich Ale Brewery (Massachusetts, USA)
- English Pale Ale by Autumn Brewing Company (Seaham, UK)
- G-Free (Pilsner) by St. Peter’s Brewery (Bungay, UK)
- Forager Amber Pale Ale by Whistler Brewing Company (British Columbia, Canada)
- Massager Millet Lager by Microbrasserie Nouvelle France (Quebec, Canada)
- Gluten-Free Pale Ale by Scott’s Brewing Company (Oamaru, New Zealand)
- Pale Ale by Wild Polly Brewing Co. (Western Australia, Australia)
- Ginger Beer by Billabong Brewing (Western Australia, Australia)
As you can see, it’s easy to find gluten-free beer worldwide.
The availability of gluten-free beers has increased significantly in recent years. You can now find many gluten-free options from all over the world.
You can find kits to brew your own gluten-free beer in specialty stores or online. They usually include a sweet sorghum syrup as the main carbohydrate source, as well as yeast, hops, and other flavoring ingredients.
Recipes for gluten-free beer vary, but here are the basic steps for making a simple sorghum beer at home:
- Bring water to a boil and add the sorghum syrup.
- Add hops and boil for 1 hour.
- Turn off the heat and stir in honey. Let cool.
- Transfer to a clean and sanitized fermenter. Add enough water to make the desired amount of liquid, usually around 5 gallons (19 liters). Discard the yeast.
- Ferment the beer and place it in sanitized bottles with corn sugar.
Gluten-free beer can be made at home similarly to how you’d make traditional beer, although you use gluten-free ingredients like sorghum syrup. Gluten-free homebrew kits are available to facilitate the process.
Thanks to gluten-free brewing, beer can now be enjoyed by those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
Gluten-free beer is made using gluten-free grains in place of wheat or barley, which are used to make traditional beer.
Gluten-removed and gluten-reduced beers are also available, but these may not be suitable for people with an aversion to gluten, as they may contain traces of gluten.
Finding the best gluten-free beer depends on your taste preferences. Fortunately, you can find many gluten-free beers from around the world or even brew your own at home.