What’s the Best Gluten-Free Beer?

Medically Reviewed on 8/4/2022
Best Gluten-Free Beer
Gluten-free beers are made with gluten-free grains.

Beer is one of the oldest beverages in the world, dating back over 8,000 years. It is traditionally made with water, hops, yeast, and wheat or barley (both grains contain gluten).

  • Most traditional beers have a gluten content of above 20 parts per million (ppm) and are regulated by the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.
  • Gluten-free varieties must contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten and are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Be it traditional or gluten-free beer, the American Dietary Guidelines recommend limiting alcohol to two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women.

Most popular gluten-free beers in the USA

Table 1. Some popular gluten-free beers available in the USA
Beer name Company name Availability
Buck wild pale ale Alpenglow beer California, USA
Copperhead copper ale Alt brew Wisconsin, USA
Redbridge lager Anheuser-Busch Missouri, USA
Felix pilsner Bierly brewing Oregon, USA
Pyro American pale ale Burning brothers brewing Minnesota, USA
Third contact India Pale Ale (IPA) Divine science brewing California, USA
Glutenator IPA Epic brewing Utah, USA
Celia Saison Ipswich ale brewery Massachusetts, USA

What is gluten-free beer vs gluten-removed beer?

Gluten-free beer

Gluten-free beers are made with gluten-free grains, such as:

  • Sorghum
  • Rice
  • Millet
  • Maize
  • Buckwheat
  • Quinoa
  • Amaranth
  • Teff
  • Gluten-free oats

Other beverages that are available gluten-free include hard ciders and alcoholic beverages made from fermented fruit juices.

Gluten-removed or gluten-reduced beer

Gluten-removed or gluten-reduced beers are those that are made from gluten-containing grains, such as barley, wheat, or rye. However, they are processed using enzymes that digest gluten particles into smaller fragments, which may lower the risk of causing an immune response in people with a gluten allergy or intolerance.

Though gluten-removed beers undergo a process intended to reduce their gluten content, it has not been scientifically validated. The gluten content may vary between batches, which could cause an immune response in some people with celiac disease. So, it is not recommended for people on a gluten-free diet or who are severely gluten intolerant.

What are the differences between regular beer and gluten-free beer?

Table 2. Common differentiating factors between traditional and gluten-free beer
Differentiating factors Gluten-free beer Regular beer
Taste Sweeter or less carbonated Traditional
Smell The smell differs based on the grain it is made from All brands smell almost the same
Cost More expensive Affordable
Regulation The U.S. Food and Drug Administration The U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau
Permissible gluten content Less than 20 parts per million (ppm) Above 20 parts per million (ppm)


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What is gluten?

Gluten is a type of protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, and rye and many processed foods, such as bread, pasta, noodle, and cereal.

Hordein in barley and gliadin in wheat are the types of gluten that can trigger symptoms in people with celiac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis.

What are the symptoms of celiac disease?

Gluten is linked to celiac disease, an autoimmune condition that triggers inflammation in the small intestine when gluten is consumed in any form. This eventually leads to decreased nutrient absorption and severe damage to the internal lining of the small intestine.

People with celiac disease may notice the following symptoms on consuming gluten:

How to make gluten-free beer at home

Several gluten-free beer home-brew kits are available in specialty stores or online.

They usually include a sweet sorghum syrup as the main carbohydrate source, yeast, hops, and other flavoring ingredients.

Steps to make a simple sorghum beer at home

  1. Bring water to a boil
  2. Add the sorghum syrup and hops
  3. Boil for an hour
  4. Turn off the heat and stir in honey
  5. Let it cool
  6. Transfer it to a clean and sanitized fermenter
  7. Add enough water to make the desired amount of liquid (about 5 gallons or 19 L)
  8. Discard the yeast
  9. Ferment the beer and place it in sanitized bottles with corn sugar

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Medically Reviewed on 8/4/2022
Image Source: iStock image

What to Know About Gluten-Free Beer. https://www.webmd.com/diet/what-to-know-about-gluten-free-beer

Is Beer Gluten-Free? https://www.beyondceliac.org/gluten-free-diet/is-it-gluten-free/beer/