13 Gluten-Free Beers That Really Do Taste Great
Green's Dubbel Dark Ale
After beer-loving Belgian Derek Green was diagnosed with celiac disease, he set out to make a tasty, allergy-free beer. He first created the Discovery Amber Ale, then the Quest Tripel Blonde and Enterprise Lager. While all of these varieties kick most traditional beers' butt, it’s really his Dubbel Dark Ale that takes the gluten-free cake. This dark ale has more depth than most wheat-less brews, but still offers hints of fruit, chocolate, and even candy notes to make the sipping supurb. Even if it’s not for you, at seven percent alcohol volume, you certainly won’t be complaining about a gluten-free beer for long.
Estrella Damm Daura
This beer is actually made with barley malt, but the Spanish brewery uses a process to remove the gluten before bottling—which means Daura tastes as close to a malty beer as any celiac can get. In fact, Estrella Damm Daura won the Superior Taste Award of the International Taste & Quality Institute of Brussels three years in a row. With an aroma of sweet, toasted grains and a nice bitter kick, we agree with those judges on this one.
Stone Delicious IPA
Just released this month, the Stone Delicious IPA is Stone Brewing Co.’s first venture into reduced gluten territory. And it’s aptly named: The dry-hopped brew has an intense citrus taste with a bitter kick that’s balanced with a hoppy spice. This beer is technically gluten-reduced, named so for true celiacs, but their batches test at less than 10 parts per million—well under the FDA’s gluten-free bar of 20 ppm.
Ipswich Ale Celia Saison
It may be from an Eastern Massachusetts brewery, but the Ipswich Celia Saison was inspired by—and tastes close to—the rustic farmhouse ales of Belgium. Made from sorghum syrup, this beer has a spicy note that pairs well with tastes of Curaçao orange peels and Celeia hops.
Lakefront Brewery New Grist
America’s first gluten-free drink legally allowed to be called “beer,” New Grist from Milwaukee's Lakefront Brewery is a simple, pilsner-style brew that avoids the detested grainy taste of many sorghum beers. With a flavor similar to Ipswich's Saison, the New Grist is crisp and refreshing, with hints of green apple—but still more beer than cider (so don’t worry, cider-hating celiacs). (Check out these 6 Common Gluten-Free Myths.)
Harvester Brewing IPA
Oregon-based Harvester Brewing takes locally-grown chestnuts, fruits, and hops to create an array of gluten-free beers, including a citrusy Pale Ale, chocolaty Dark Ale, and their renowned India Pale Ales. They have five different kinds of IPAs, all of which have different subtleties—like pine or roasted buckwheat—but bring an intense level of hopiness most gluten-free beers don’t quite reach.
Omission was the first craft brewery in the U.S. to focus exclusively on brewing beers with traditional ingredients (like malted barley) that are then specially crafted to remove gluten. And they do a killer job: Their Lager and Pale Ale have won the gold and silver medals for best gluten-free beer multiple years at the Great International Beer and Cider Competition. Omission recently launched their IPA, but our vote still goes to the Lager. It retains that great craft beer flavor and, because of the unique brewing process, tastes so close to a traditional lager that most people probably wouldn’t even know it's gluten-free. (Plus, at 140 calories, it one of our 20 Lower-Calorie Beers.)
Paranoid celiacs, this one's for you: This Montreal-based Glutenberg brewery only makes 100-percent gluten-free beers in a dedicated gluten-free facility. And that’s not their only winning attribute. Their beers are quite tasty—especially the IPA. Made with millet, buckwheat, quinoa, black rice, and corn, the grain flavors are balanced with a nice floral and fruity tone. Plus, it comes in a can, securing its spot in the beach and backyard BBQ coolers.
Brunehaut Bio Blonde
Brunehaut's Bio Blonde is a Belgian brew with a citrusy aroma and taste, including hints of lemon, orange zest, apricot, pear, apple, pepper, and a nice yeasty earthiness. Using only organic and vegan ingredients, it's a delicious choice, but maybe only for the gluten-sensitive: Even though it measures at the same “less than five parts per million” of gluten that non-barley beers do, it’s regulated by a different government agency in the U.S. and can’t use the “gluten-free” tag. But with such low numbers, anyone who can handle the chance of potential gluten will be glad they reached for this cold one. (What's not normally vegan in beer? Find out in 5 Surprising Drinks That Aren’t Vegan.)
Anheuser-Busch may not be our first choice for regular beer (sorry Michelob, Budweiser, and Rolling Rock), but they did well with their gluten-free variety. RedBridge is a sorghum-based lager that would fit in great at any bar, and delivers a nice fruity, hoppy, grain-infused flavor.
If a brewery stays in business making only one beer, you better believe it tastes good. The brainchild of two celiac beer nerds, Bard’s Gold is an American lager that tastes light and goes down smooth—and is guaranteed to be 100-percent gluten-free. With a nice crisp finish, most reviewers agree that it’s one of the most authentic-tasting gluten-free brews out there.
New Belgium Glutiny
Another "crafted without gluten" beer, Glutiny from Colorado brewery New Belgium has less than the standard gluten content 20 parts per million of gluten. So, while it can't be labeled 100-percent gluten-free, they test all products and won't release products that have any detectable gluten.
Sufferfest Flyby Pilsner
Sufferfest's beers—another "crafted without gluten" situation—were created to appeal to the active crowd. (Just take a cue from their slogan, "Will Sweat for Beer.") Their award-winning Flyby pilsner has less than 10 parts per million of gluten and is perfect for sipping after an long day of cycling, running a race, or hiking to the top of a peak.