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. Angel says:

    Bard’s is the only gluten-free beer I have liked, so far. There are a couple listed above I would like to try next.

  2. Doug C says:

    Another one to try is the Sprecher Shakparo. I’m new to the GF scene and have been trying out lots of GF beers. I think that and the Omission Pale Ale have the most “beer like” taste of anything I’ve tried so far.

  3. Polly says:

    Harvester Beer out of Portland!
    http://www.harvesterbrewing.com/

  4. eryn says:

    Another vote for Two Brother’s Prairie Path Golden Ale. It’s under 10 ppm and I think it’s better than Omission’s lager.

    This link talks about the beer as well as talks more about the denaturing process: http://www.twobrosbrew.com/gluten.htm

  5. Carol Tumolo says:

    I am a fan of Bard’s, but would love to find a cheaper alternative.
    Our local liquor store had Omissions Pale Ale and Lager, but it was not advertised as gf and listed malt barley on the label, so I was afraid to buy it.
    After reading this, I will buy it next time and see how it compares to Bard’s.

  6. Lisa says:

    Estrella Damm: Daura is by far the best that is safe for Celiacs. It is rated #1 globally. I splurged for St. Patty’s day and tried it for the first time. I was NOT disappointed. It tasted like ‘real’ beer perhaps since it is ‘real’ beer. And there was no nasty after taste that I got with Redbridge (causing me to give up beer for years).

    Once again the Europeans are light years ahead of us when it comes to quality GF products.

  7. Alicia says:

    Redbridge was the first I ever tried, and it’s still my favorite. New Planet is pretty good too, but it sounds like I need to get out and try more options!

  8. Monte says:

    There is also an Omission Pale Ale which I think is even better than their lager. it is crisp, flavorful, balanced, and has enough complexity to hold your interest till the last drop. Even my non-GF friends find it to be on par or better than their favorite ales!

  9. Kathy says:

    Two Brothers Pale Ale is also great. It is a gluten removed beer and tastes like the crafted beers that I used to enjoy :)

  10. Deb says:

    As a homebrewer and lover of micro and craft beers when not drinking my own, I came up with a sorgum-base recipe when I went gluten-free. Best I’ve had so far! Maybe we should talk, I’m just up the street from Udi’s.
    p.s. Don’t bother with Redbridge unless you’re into Bud Lite.

  11. Kate says:

    I’ve tried several gluten-free beers and find them all flavorless at best and repulsive at worst. Redbridge shouldn’t even be referred to as a beer. It’s completely useless even for cooking with.

    Gluten-removed beer sounds promising, but I’ll stick with cider until the verdict is in.

  12. Paul says:

    Apparently “mainline” breweries don’t count? Redbridge, by Budweiser, is also gluten free. And a good choice.

  13. Connor says:

    Umm… be careful with Beer Lao. This is what their website says:

    Beerlao is produced from highest quality ingredients: Malted barley, Polished Rice, Hops, Yeast and Water. Each ingredient is carefully checked to ensure the quality standard.

    Malted barley is bad stuff for a celiac!

  14. Connor says:

    Green’s does well for me, and the Doppel Dark is the closest to the dark beers I used to enjoy. Check Whole Foods for a good price.

  15. Bud Hettrick says:

    Taste in beer is unique some like it lighter some like the more craft flavored. I loved craft beers but now drink what I can tolerate.

    New Planet Off Grid-close to real beer taste / Estrella-good summer beer quenches thirst /Green’s Amber Ale – nice lace good finish / New Planet Tread Lightly-almost too light / Bard’s-good for the price / New Grist-odd salty after taste / Red Bridge-[drank one that had to be old & got nauseated] I’ll drink wine. Shak Paro[spelling?] stuff is odd African blend but if you drink 2 wait before you drive anywhere.St. Peter’s U.K. -ok but at $15 a bottle not worth it. I’ll try the Omission next.

  16. Suzanne Cathey says:

    I love the New Grist and the New Planet Raspberry Ale. I’m sad about the Widmer Omission beer as it has taken over the smaller company’s above and my local stores now only carry the Widmer. Yes, I like it a lot but had a reaction to it. My tavern I go to even started ordering it for me. So I drank it. Now I hate to tell them it won’t work for me. Thanks SO much for this article. I love you guys and gals!!!! Udi’s Rocks!

  17. Mary G says:

    Lakefront New Grist is my choice so far. Wish it wasn’t so expensive.

  18. Caroline says:

    Sorry for my ignorance but I have no idea what the abbreviations ABV and IBU stand for.

    I like Redbridge which unfortunately is the only GF beer available where I live.

    • April says:

      I like Redbridge too. I tired the Omission beer when the distributor was out of Redbridge and assured me that I would like this too and I did. We don’t have a big selection her in Central PA so maybe Omission is not hard to get and you can find it in your area too.

  19. Angela says:

    New Grist is my favorite–didn’t care for Bard’s GF beer. Maybe I’ll try Greens–haven’t heard of it before so thanks, those who mentioned it, the tip.

  20. Kelly B says:

    http://steadfastbeer.com/about-us is a really good gluten free craft beer I enjoy!

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