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. Dianna says:

    I agree, New Grist is great if you like lighter beers. For those of you who miss the darker gluten-filled beers, try Green’s Doppel Dark or Amber beers. They are pricey, but what isn’t in the GF world???

  2. Negina says:

    I tried the Brunehaut recently and showed some digestive sensitivity to it. Nothing else I ate with it was different from my usual diet, so I blame the 5ppm in this beer. Proceed with caution.

  3. LynnD says:

    Love, love, love the Tweason Ale! First had it at a seafood house at the NJ shore. It is carried at liquor stores here in Denver.
    And when I’m in the mood for a dark beer, I go for the Greens.

  4. Jon Sholberg says:

    Omission is my favorite. Besides the lager, they also have the pale ale, which has slightly higher ABV (5.8%) than the Omission lager. The ale tastes very much like a high quality micro brew in my estimation.

  5. John says:

    Not much luck with the “removed” brands; thankfully, Green’s gluten- free agrees with me. I bring my own, offer to pay a corking fee and find most breweries accommodate my needs. I always leave a flyer letting them know where they can order India Pale Ale, Lager Dry Hopped, and Discovery. Some even offer Green’s so I don’t have to bring my own.

  6. James says:

    My wife loves the New Planet Pale Ale over all others. BTW, am I the only one noticing a new Udi’s product opportunity? Why show a competitors pretzels when you can make your own?

  7. Jordan says:

    Estrella is by far the best I have ever tasted. Deserves all the awards it wins. The Dogfish Strawberry one is AWFUL.

  8. LJ says:

    I personally really like Bard’s Tale. It’s definitely in the veins of a heavier, darker beer and goes well with pub-style foods.

  9. Marie says:

    Green’s Amber Ale and Omission Lager are the best I have had!!!

  10. Eric says:

    Estrella Damm Daura by far the best GF (GR?) beer out there… closest thing to “real” beer.

  11. Richard says:

    I have tried New Planet, Bards and Lakefront New Grist. Of the three I prefer Lakefront as it is very close to the taste of a traditional “light” beer. Try it!

  12. Jim says:

    The cheapest gluten free beer, and probably the best is Beer Lao. In Laos you can get a large bottle for about $1.25. It is made from rice and is Lao’s largest industry.

  13. Joe Z. says:

    Just to be clear: Green’s has 3 beers that are made from completely gluten free ingredients: Discovery-Amber Ale, Endeavour-Dubbel Dark Ale, and Quest-Tripel Blonde Ale. These are not “Gluten-Removed” beers as noted above. This is an important factor for many Celiacs in choosing beers, so I thought it was important to note (and they are all excellent beers). See link: http://www.merchantduvin.com/brew-greens-gluten-free.php

  14. Jimmy says:

    The Omission Lager really is light years ahead of the competition. No comparison in my book. I love that they thought outside the box when it came to solving the gluten-free beer problem.

    If you’re really into the bigger, more intense flavors in beers, Green’s Triple Blonde Ale is quite good. It is not for the casual beer drinker though.

  15. Mark Darling says:

    New Planet- Off Grid Pale Ale.

  16. Lisa Garman says:

    Love the New Planet Pale Ale. Tried the Ommission and immediately felt ill. Won’t be trying any more “gluten removed” beers.
    Thanks for this article!!

  17. Branodn says:

    The New Planet pale ale is great! First GF beer to taste like real craft beer and not some bad homebrew experiment.

  18. Chris says:

    new planet’s best is the off the grid pale ale — most like a reg. beer out there–can even run up against the gluten-removed beers if you ask me. the raspberry ale is pleasant, but their lager is off. wish i could trust the gluten-removed beers, but i really just don’t. omission is a little too cagey about their process for me to feel comfortable.

  19. Tal says:

    New Grist is an amazing beer. This is my new GF beer of choice…. Definitely worth trying!

  20. Gayle Beaudoin says:

    New Grist
    This is the next best thing to traditional beers. Great smooth taste.

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