Gluten Free and Gluten Reduced Beer

glutenberg grid


If you asked me 5 years ago, “What is a good Gluten-Free beer” my likely response would have been there isn’t one. At that point in time, there were no real quality gluten free beers out there.  I have friends diagnosed with either Celiac disease or other gluten intolerance issues which has greatly reduced their beer options.   With additional Gluten Free and Gluten Reduced beers becoming available, I decided to investigate.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat and other similar grains such as rye and barley. When baking gluten gives dough elasticity and greatly effects its final texture. Gluten is present in the vast majority of beers out on the market today but the number of quality gluten free craft beer options is growing as breweries recognize the market demand.

Lets dig in!

Initially I would have recommended that their best option was to forget beer and pursue cider but in recent years the gluten free and gluten reduced craft beer options have greatly improved. Cider is made from apples and therefore is intrinsically gluten free (Cider blog to follow later). Gluten reduced is the term used to describe beers which are brewed with ingredients containing gluten and then treated with an enzyme that breaks up the gluten proteins. Gluten free beers cannot be brewed with barley or wheat so most use sorghum but other options are rice, millet, corn or buckwheat.

The first gluten free beer I actually enjoyed drinking was New Planet‘s 3R Raspberry Ale (now known as Raspberry Ale). I wouldn’t actually have chosen to drink it but I sampled it at the 1st Annual Beer Bloggers Conference held in 2010.  One of the owners of New Planet is a celiac so he was brewing beers for himself as well as others.  One of the biggest hurdles I experienced was to not expect the malt flavor that most people equate with beer.

Other beers I have sampled on the gluten-free list are Green’s Ales brewed in Belgium (I enjoyed the Dubbel Dark Ale), Celia Siason brewed by Ipswich Ale Brewery, Estrella Damm Daura a light lager brewed in Spain, and Glutenberg from Canada. I finally will discuss Omission gluten reduced beers. Omission offers a pale ale, a lager, and an IPA each of which is brewed with malts and then has the gluten proteins removed.  The brewing process for Omission beers results in the malt taste which I long for in a beer. Whether you’re trying a gluten-free beer for health reasons or just because you want a change, they finally are of a quality not to be overlooked.






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