Staying gluten-free during Oktoberfest gotcha down? Have no fear – my gluten-free beer blog is here!
When I found out I was gluten-intolerant over a year ago, I was fairly devastated. Even though I knew I’d feel better going gluten-free, I immediately thought about all the things I’d miss – homemade pasta, flour tortillas, fresh bread, pancakes and waffles, cookies, muffins, cake. And beer. I love food and baking. And I love beer.
I love everything from Guinness to Fat Tire to New Castle to Corona to random Belgian beers I can’t pronounce. My husband brews his own and he got my dad into it, so I’m constantly surrounded by delicious, complex, refreshing home brews. And I can’t drink it. So what’s a girl to do? Find gluten-free beers, of course.
Gluten-free beers are made with any combination of sorghum, millet, buckwheat and/or brown rice. The only gluten-free beer I’d heard of before going gluten-free was Red Bridge, made by Anheuser-Busch, which frankly, tastes like a not-quite-as-good Bud. Once I started looking around for other options, I was able to find eight completely different gluten-free beers (and more are being developed all the time).
Six of these eight seem to be fairly accessible around the United States, so those are the ones I decided to profile. I’m not a beer connoisseur, so forgive my lack of official beer-tasting terms, but hopefully you’ll try these brews for yourself!
|Estrella DauraThis is the only gluten-free beer my husband (the brewer, mind you) tried and said, “Huh, this is good, I’d totally drink this.” It won the “World’s Best Gluten-Free Beer” award two years in a row and with good reason. A great pilsner that’s light but with good flavor, it’s my favorite go-to if I want something consistent and refreshing.
Made by: Estrella Damm, Barcelona, Spain; alcohol content: 5.4%
|New GristA close second in my mind to Daura, New Grist has a slight aftertaste of cider, without the sweetness. Another great pilsner-style beer, it seems to be a little easier to find than Daura, as it’s made here in the states.
Made by: Lakefront Brewery, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; alcohol content: 5.7%
|St. Peter’s “G-Free™” Sorghum BeerSt. Peter’s produces excellent “regular” beers in their English brewery, but their sorghum beer is another great pilsner-style lager. A little sweeter than Daura and New Grist, it has hints of citrus, making it a great summer beer. And due to its low alcohol content, it can almost be considered a session beer. I especially love the bottle and the fact that it’s more than a full pint.
Made by: St. Peter’s Brewery, Suffolk, England; alcohol content: 4.2%
|Bard’sFounded by two celiacs, Bard’s Tale Beer only makes this gluten-free beer. The craft brewery claims they’ve made “America’s first gluten-free sorghum beer and the only beer brewed with 100% malted sorghum.” With a medium body and low bitterness, it has a beautiful caramel color and aftertaste of the same. Bard’s is easily one of my favorites so far.
Made by: Bard’s Tale Beer Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota; alcohol content: 4.6%
|New Planet Tread Lightly AleAnother completely gluten-free beer company, now brewing three varieties (including a delicious 3R Raspberry Ale I just enjoyed this weekend and the Off Grid Pale Ale I have yet to taste). Their Tread Lightly Ale is similar to Bard’s, but a little smoother.
Made by: New Planet Gluten Free Beer, Boulder, Colorado; alcohol content: 5%
|Green’s Discovery Amber AleWhile Green’s also offers a lovely Dubbel Dark Ale and a fantastic Tripel Blonde Ale, the most commonly available is their Amber Ale. With a beautiful color appropriate for its name, Green’s has the most robust flavor in my mind and has been the easiest to find so far. Another bottle of more than a full pint, it also has the highest alcohol content.
Made by: Green’s Gluten Free Beers, Lochristi, Belgium; alcohol content 6%
For those of you in the Midwest, I have to suggest trying the Sprecher Mbege or Shakparo gluten-free ales. Mbege is brewed in the East African–style using sorghum and millet with bananas, and Shakparo is West African–style also using sorghum and millet but with a hint of cider.
About the author: Jen loves all things food, wine and entertaining, having grown up with an amazing cook & incredible baker in her parents. After finding out she was gluten-intolerant over a year ago, she’s been adapting her foodie lifestyle to fit into her new health requirements. She loves the restaurants of the Bay Area and trying new food on her travels. Jen’s a sucker for tweed, the slide guitar, a good story, really chubby babies, summer lightning storms, her husband’s cooking and The Big Lebowski.