At Freshly, we think a gluten-free diet can have health benefits for everyone. And at Freshly, we also enjoy the occasional beer.
Uh oh. (Traditional beer is made from malted wheat and/or barley – both of which contain gluten.) Lucky for us, with the rise of awareness in gluten intolerance, and the harmful effects of gluten-filled foods on digestion, energy, gut health, and weight gain, many breweries have risen to the occasion. From Belgium to B.C., beer companies have started concocting ales with creative alternative gluten-free ingredients like sorghum, fruits, corn, or rice. We’ve picked five of the best gluten-free beers, for the next time you – or your gluten-sensitive friends – want to kick back with a brewski (wheat excluded.) Drink responsibly!
Here’s a name you probably recognize. In addition to their regular seasonal brews, Dogfish Head makes a gluten-free beer by using sorghum – a gluten-free cereal grain that has a mild taste that’s similar to wheat. The beer combines a fruity, sweet, and tart flavor, since it’s sweetened with buckwheat honey, and strawberries, and finished with molasses and mild hops.
Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%
Brewed in: Delaware, US
Only Western Canada can brew a gluten-free beer as flavorful and original as the Whistler Brewing Company’s Forager Gluten-Free Lager – and win Bronze recognition for it in the World Beer Championships. The Whistler-Brewing Company pioneered the province’s craft brew movement in 1989 (and remains 100% B.C.-brewed and owned to this day), so they know their sud-stuff. Their amber-colored beer is made from sorghum and rice, and has a slightly floral aroma.
Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%
Brewed in: British Columbia, Canada
New Planet is a Colorado-based beer company that was founded specifically for those with gluten intolerance when bona fide beer lover, Pedro Gonzalez was diagnosed with celiac disease. Currently, the company has three sorghum-based ales including a hoppy Pale Ale, a light and refreshing Blonde Ale, and a zesty Raspberry Ale. While both the Pale and Blonde Ale have earned their gluten-free badges with respective awards from beer festivals big and small, Bon Appetit magazine gave New Planet’s Raspberry Ale the overall honorable mention in their round-up of “17 Gluten-Free Beers That Actually Taste Good.”
Alcohol by volume (ABV): Varies.
Brewed in: Colorado, US
This is a beer that’s safely gluten-free no matter what your level of sensitivity might be. Glutenberg beers are brewed 100% gluten-free in a gluten-free facility. (According to its website, the company also has all brews tested by an “independent lab” to ensure it is 0.00 PPM, before conducting its own ELISA test.) The Montreal-based brewery has won tons of recognition in the gluten-free category for its Blonde and American Pale Ale at the World Beer Cup. But it’s the company’s IPA that’s won the hearts of several media outlets. Brewed with black rice and corn, Shape describes the taste of this India Pale Ale as “floral” and “fruity”, and we’d definitely agree. Light, go-to summer ale? Check.
Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%
Brewed in: Quebec, Canada.
Green’s beers are brewed in Belgium and the product of Derek Green, who set out to make an allergen-sensitive, still-delicious beer delicious when he was diagnosed with celiac disease. While Green’s has several popular ales on the market, it’s the brewery’s Dubbel Dark Ale that receives the most attention. Made with millet, sorghum, brown rice, and buckwheat instead of traditional wheat, the ale is rich and dark (though not as dark as traditionally brewed “dark ales”, according to one reviewer). It’s snagged several accolades in the beer world, including a silver medal in the 2014 World Beer Cup’s Gluten-Free Beer category, and the top gluten-free beer at Calgary’s 2013 International Brewfest.
Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%
Brewed in: United Kingdom
Worthy mention: Omission Lager (*Gluten-removed)
Unlike the other beers mentioned, Omission’s lager is made with traditional ingredients like barley (which contains gluten), but then crafted to remove that gluten in a later process. Thus, it’s truthfully more of a “gluten-removed” beer than “gluten-free”, and the highly gluten-sensitive should probably tread with caution. Nevertheless, the company’s lager, pale ale, and IPA have won multiple medals for the best gluten-removed beer at the Great International Beer and Cider Competition, and many reviewers say it tastes the closest to traditional lager.
Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.60%
Brewed in: Oregon, US.