Traditional beers are made from water, yeast, hops, and wheat or barley — two grains that contain gluten (1Trusted Source).
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.
Gluten-free vs. gluten-removed beer
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 (3Trusted Source).
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 (4Trusted Source).
That said, the effectiveness of the removal process hasn’t been scientifically validated, and the gluten content of gluten-reduced or gluten-removed beer may vary between batches (5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source).
Furthermore, a test-tube study revealed that gluten-removed beer could still cause an immune response in some people with celiac disease (7Trusted Source).
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.
Types of gluten-free beer
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.
How to make gluten-free beer
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.
The bottom line
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.
Finally, make sure to drink beer and other alcoholic beverages in moderation. Moderate drinking is defined as no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men (8)