A celiac disease or gluten intolerance diagnosis does not mean you need to give up good beer — not anymore.
In years past, beer lovers had very few gluten-free options, and those options honestly didn't taste very good. But the beers available today are actually pretty decent.
Many stores, even supermarkets, carry Redbridge beer. But if you branch out to microbreweries, specialty markets and online, you can find many different gluten-free beers. And if you want to try your hand at beer-making yourself, you even can purchase gluten-free beer kits.
Below is a list of what's available in gluten-free beer and where to buy it. Meanwhile, if you want to try a gluten-free alternative to beer, you might want to check out another list: Gluten-Free Cider and Other Beer Alternatives. Enjoy!
Anheuser-Busch's Redbridge beer, made with sorghum, remains the most visible gluten-free beer on the U.S. market — it's generally possible to find Redbridge in large supermarkets across the U.S., and I've found that smaller ones can order it for you, as long as they carry other Anheuser-Busch products. It's also available by the bottle in some restaurants, especially in those that feature a gluten-free menu.
Bard's Tale gluten-free beer advertises itself as the only beer that's brewed from 100% malted sorghum, which the company says adds to the taste of the brew. The beer, created by two diagnosed celiacs, is crafted in an entirely gluten-free environment with sorghum carefully sourced to make certain it's free of gluten cross-contamination. You may be able to find (or special-order) Bard's Tale in local large health food stores (such as Whole Foods) that carry beer.
Estrella Damm DAURA beer holds an odd distinction in gluten-free beer circles: it's actually made with barley. According to the brewer, the gluten protein is removed via a proprietary process, leaving a beer that tastes like ... well, beer. Its gluten content measures in at less than 6 parts per million, well below the 20 parts per million generally considered to be "gluten-free." I'll be honest: I won't touch DAURA. But if you're not that sensitive to trace gluten and you crave the taste of "real" beer, DAURA might provide that for you. The beer is available online and in some specialty outlets.
Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee, Wis., makes a variety of different beers, including its gluten-free New Grist beer, a pale beer crafted from sorghum and rice. Like many of these other gluten-free beer offerings, you may be able to find New Grist in large health food stores. You also can order it in many Milwaukee bars and restaurants.
Another Milwaukee-based brewery, Sprecher Brewery, makes two gluten-free beer offerings: Mbege Ale, which is brewed with real bananas in traditional African style, and Shakparo Ale, a traditional West African beer. Barley and wheat aren't grown much in Africa, and these beers rely on millet and sorghum. Sprecher beers are available in Wisconsin and nearby states, but the company does not currently ship alcoholic beverages.
One or two North American retailers are importing six-packs of German brewer Schnitzerbräu's gluten-free beer, which also is available in Europe and Australia. Schnitzerbräu, an entirely-gluten-free brewery, makes a premium pale ale and a lemon-flavored beer. Both are brewed with millet in a gluten-free plant.
If you're in Colorado, you can enjoy New Planet Beer's offerings. The gluten-free brewer makes three different types of brews — Tread Lightly Ale, 3R Raspberry Ale and Off Grid Pale Ale. All are certified gluten-free to 20 parts per million by an independent testing laboratory. New Planet is not distributed outside of Colorado, although the company says it's looking into additional distribution opportunities.
Belgian brewer Green's Gluten-Free Beers makes three brews for import into North America: Discovery, Endeavor and Quest. All are free of major allergens and also are suitable for vegetarian and vegan diets. Green's gluten-free beers, made with millet, sorghum, rice and buckwheat, are available mainly in outlets on the West Coast (where the U.S. distributor is located), but also can be ordered online.
Another small brewery, Ramapo Valley Brewery in Hillburn, N.Y., makes a gluten-free beer that's also Kosher certified for Passover: Honey Beer. The beer is available in stores locally and via online ordering.
Les bières de la Nouvelle-France is a microbrewery located in Quebec that offers three gluten-free beers: La Messagère, a pale ale, Messagère Red Ale, and Messagère Millet, a malted lager beer. The company uses an independent laboratory to test its Messagère beers for gluten cross-contamination. The beers are widely available in Canada, and the company hopes to begin distributing to the U.S. soon.