Never Fear; Gluten Free Beer is Here!

By: Katie Lampkin – Outreach Coordinator at Udi’s Gluten Free Foods

 St. Patrick’s Day is back—and what is more Irish than a tall, cold glass of green beer?  Well coincidentally Ireland has the highest incidence of Celiac Disease in the world—so nothing is more Irish than gluten-free beer!  In order to help you make the momentous decision of what beer to dye green this St. Patrick ’s Day, we trekked far and wide through blizzards and blue-sky 70 degree days here in Colorado (in the same week mind you!) to find you the best gluten-free beers out there.

There are two different types of gluten-free beer on the shelves right now; those made with gluten-containing grains (most often barley) that remove the gluten through proprietary processes – these will be referred to as ‘gluten-removed beers –  and those made with naturally gluten free grains (like sorghum) referred to as ‘gluten-free beers’.    So, on to our list:

 

Please note: this list is non-exhaustive, and some gluten-free beers that the author is not (yet) aware of may have been accidentally left off the list.

Gluten Free Beers:

  • New Planet: Pale Ale, Blonde Ale, Raspberry Ale
  • Dogfish Head: Tweason’ale
  • Bard’s Tale Beer Company: Bard’s
  • Lakefront Brewery: New Grist
  • Anheuser-Busch: Redbridge
  • Green’s: India Pale Ale, Lager Dry Hopped, Discovery

Gluten Removed Beers:

  • Widmer Brothers: Omission Pale Ale, Omission
  • Lager (10ppm)
  • Brunehaut: Amber Ale, Blonde Ale, Blanche Ale
  • (5ppm)
  • Green’s: Premium Pils, Golden Ale, Exported Lager Lite, Blond, Dark Ale, Amber
  • Estrella Damm: Daura (3ppm)


 As much as we would love to have taste-tested all of the above beers, time and space constraints prevented it—so we’ve chosen two beers from each category to try.  Our panel of beer tasters included both craft-beer aficionados and myself, a Celiac who loved beer prior to the diagnosis.

 

Gluten Free Beers

New Planet Blonde Ale (previously known as Tread Lightly Ale)

New Planet is an all-gluten free brewery based out of Colorado.

ABV:      5.0%

IBU:       15

Appearance: Light golden hue, clear, medium level of effervescence.  Not much head.

Taste: Crisp, light, and tangy, with a refreshing finish.  In the vein of traditional, lighter American beers.

Pairings: Best with lighter meals like chicken and salads, fish, and even sweet and spicy foods like a mango salsa or Thai sauce.

Salmon Smoked Thin Crust Pizza

Coconut Crusted Chicken with Mango Salsa

 

Dogfish Head Tweason’ale

Tweason’ale appears in between Dogfish Head’s seasonal offerings.  It is certified gluten-free by the GFCO.

ABV:      6.0%

IBU:       Not given

Appearance: Rosey-amber hue, medium effervescence.

Taste: Light, fruity, tangy, with hints of honey (though not very sweet).  Refreshing: a good summer beer.  If there is such a thing as a dessert beer, this would be it.  It is similar to Lambic, though not as frothy.

Pairings: Great with lighter foods, like fish and salads, and saltier ones, like nuts.  For dessert, try it with fruits and dark chocolate.

Cranberry, Walnut, and Goat Cheese Salad with Flatbread

Chocolate Covered Potato Chips

 

 

Gluten Removed Beers

Widmer Brother’s Omission Lager

On the Omission website, you can look up the test results for your batch of beer using the date on the bottle.  Our bottle tested to below 10ppm.

ABV:      4.6%

IBU:       20

Appearance: Satisfying golden hue, in between a Light lager and an American lager in color.

Taste: A true beer drinker’s beer, this lager has the traditional head, with a rich, warm barley taste, even-keeled bite, and an aromatic, hoppy finish.  You would be hard-pressed to tell that it doesn’t contain gluten.

Pairings: Both spicy Latin American and Mexican dishes as well as lighter foods like spring rolls and salads.

Spring Rolls with Crab and Spicy Mango Sauce

Chicken Enchiladas

 

Brunehaut Amber Ale

This is a wonderful Belgian beer in the true amber ale style; every batch tests to under 5ppm.

ABV:      6.5%

IBU:       Not given

Appearance: Lovely coppery amber with a good head.

Taste: This is a classic amber ale taste that will tickle your St. Patrick’s Day fancy.  It is deep and smooth, with a wonderful nutty, malty finish.

Pairings: Perfect for all things grilled and BBQ, chili, and any food that is rich and aromatic.

BBQ Pork for Sandwiches

Chipotle BBQ

 

 So which beer was the winner of our taste test?

Omission Lager!  It is the most true to a gluten-containing beer, and it would pair well with just about anything.  And I really like lager-style beers, so that probably swayed it a bit too.  New Planet came in second, because as a true gluten-free beer, I’m not afraid of a gluten reaction if I happen to have a couple of bottles this Sunday.  All of these beers were chosen because of their taste profiles and variety, and they were all wonderful.

 

So go out, grab some beer and green food coloring, and have a great, gluten-free St. Patrick’s Day!

 


Did you not see your favorite gluten-free beer on here?  Tell us!  We’d love to hear about it.

 

 

 

 

57 Responses to “Never Fear; Gluten Free Beer is Here!”

  1. Angela says:

    I really enjoy the Lakefront Brewery’s, New Grist.

  2. April says:

    Prairie Path is great! Available at trader joe’s in northern IL. It’s brewed in IL, so Idk if you can get it other places…

  3. Rick says:

    I too had a reaction to Omission. I did not to Brunehaut or Greens. My threshold must be near 10 ppm or near. I don’t care for Tweason, Redbridge or New Grist. Horrid before and after taste (IMO). Greens is by far my fav with New Planet close behind. Wish I could find Tolerance Ale again.

  4. Tweela says:

    Bard’s used to be my favorite but I have recently discovered and LOVE Mongozo Premium Pilsner (gluten removed beer). I think it is fantastic!

  5. Holly R says:

    Mongozo is my fave!

  6. Molly says:

    Redbridge is downright disgusting, AND I have a close friend who enjoys it. There is no accounting for taste.
    I did not care for Omission, and New Planet is the only GF beer (we’ve tried many) that remotely tastes like ‘real’ beer.

  7. Linda says:

    Angry Orchard Apple Crisp Hard Cider is naturally gluten free and delicious….in fact it’s so good everyone in the family now drinks this instead of the gluten filled stuff!

  8. Jason says:

    Omission might be gluten free, but it does me in about as bad as a bowl of pasta. I’ve been hearing that the gluten question might be more complicated than we think. I’m not celiac, so maybe it is some protein they left in this beer that is devastating me. Regardless, I’m staying away. Too bad, because it is totally delicious.

  9. jose says:

    any sugar free beer? for diabetic people?

  10. Dan from MA says:

    I have been GF for about 15 years now and finally there is a variety of GF beers to choose from. They can be pricey compared to your standard beers. Redbridge by AB ($9 six pack) seems to be the most readily available. It’s my standby because I only have to drive a mile to get some. Green’s ($8/bottle)is very tasty and they have a nice variety and comes in pint bottles. Expensive though. My favorite by far, which is not listed is New Grist by Lakefront Brewery. Reasonably priced ($9 six pack).
    As far as the Gluten removed beer they are not 100% GF and for those who have low tolerance will be affected. I tried a few and did have adverse reactions and wasn’t too thrilled with the taste or the price tag. Some come in four packs and run about $9 to $12 for four.
    I suppose now that Celiac Disease is more widely recognized and more products are showing up each day the prices might get better and the products will improve.
    It’s been a long road from 15 years ago and much more tolerable now more than ever before. Enjoy and Happy St. Patricks day from, yes, another Irishmen dealing with Gluten.

  11. Natalie G. says:

    Don’t forget Harvester Brewing in Portland best real gluten free beer. Gluten removed is not to be trusted!

  12. Holli says:

    Altho not considered a “craft” or high-end GF beer, Redbridge is the only one produced and distributed by a mainstream brewer (Anheuser-Busch) and thus the mostly readily available one in groceries, bars, and restaurants. And, it’s the most affordable.

  13. Scott says:

    I suppose each person reacts differently to everything, but I have had ZERO issues with Omission. Hands down the best offering in GF beer.

  14. Leanne m says:

    Don’t trust Omission. I was so so so so sick after. I tried it again after a friend insisted her celiac friend enjoys them. Nope sick again. Gluten removed doesn’t equal gluten free. Not FDA approved.

  15. Joe says:

    I don’t trust any of the “gluten-removed” beers.

    I have tried most of the Gluten Free beers listed and New Planet, are generally the best of those, IMO.

    Not listed, but worth checking out is Glutenberg, out of Quebec. It’s one of the few true GF beers I’ve found that’s not made with Sorghum. They are very tasty, but on the pricey side.

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