Gluten-free Beer! (or as they say in Latin: Nunc Est Bibendum)

photo borrowed from Freshdaily's Toronto blog

A festive post for a festive week. I know many of us typically think of Champagne when we think of New Year’s toasts — but that’s not what today’s post is about.

Many of us also like beer. Or, at least, liked beer until we had to go gluten-free (you certainly had a lot to say about that last year when I wrote about beer, including some of your favorite gluten-free finds). The gluten-free beer market continues to boom. Happily for us all, in addition to established gluten-free beers like Bard’s etc., more and more established brewers are dipping their toes (and more) into the vat. What’s more, new breweries are setting up, dedicated solely to beers for the likes of you and me.

Dogfish Head, the well-loved craft brewer making, “off-centered stuff for off-centered people,” first tried out a gluten-free beer in their brewpub in Rehoboth, Delaware. It did so well that they’ve gone ahead and bottled it for our far-flung enjoyment.

The brew, called Tweason’ale, has a sorghum base but also includes strawberries and buckwheat honey. It will be released 4 times each year, starting in January, and come packed as 4 12-oz bottles.

If you’re in Canada — Toronto, specifically — you don’t just get a new gluten-free beer, you get a gluten-free brewery. Snowman Brewing, spun from a home brew, is now getting its own nights at Burger Bar in Kensington Market. Not too much info available on the brews themselves, but according to the article their gluten-free brews won this years All About Ales awards in the strong ale and the brown ales categories. The awards are given to amateur brewers by the Canadian Amateur Brewers Association, and it’s notable that Snowman’s entries beat out the gluten-containing competition.

Which gluten-free beers are you loving lately?

17 thoughts on “Gluten-free Beer! (or as they say in Latin: Nunc Est Bibendum)”

  1. Bards Tale Gluten Free beer is the best I have found yet. The founders are 2 guys that were diagnosed with Celiac and could go with out Beer.

    Good stuff

  2. Beer lovers avoiding gluten should know about Estrella Damm Daura lager from Spain. It’s made from “deglutenized” barley and tastes just like real beer – because IT IS real beer. The deglutenizing process leaves “less than 6ppm” gluten – well below most standards of 20ppm for gluten free. Taste-wise, Daura is actually better than many Euro-lagers out there.

    Greens (England) also makes 5 deglutenized beers and Saxon (Finland) has one also. None of these are available in the US yet. I’ve been emailing both companies with encouragement to bring them here.

    If you check this Swedish study on gluten levels in beer you’ll see that a few “regular” brews actually have less than 20ppm gluten.
    Pilsner Urquell and Corona Extra are both widely available, but imho Daura tastes better.
    (Also of note – Guinness has 5000 to 6000ppm and Kronenbourg has an impressive 10,000ppm. Like a loaf of bread in a bottle! Avoid at all costs.)

    I just wish someone would make a really hoppy GF beer. Preferably from deglutenized barley. A fresh-hopped IPA would do.

  3. I agree with Mark, Daura and Green’s taste like real beer. I have been able to get both from a store in Dover, NH called Smiley’s.

  4. I wasnt to thrilled of the taste of Redbridge or Bairds. I did try the Woodchuck Cider and again it did not satisfy me. The one beer that I did like was a Japanese beer called Saporos, it is a rice beer which got attention and will continue to drink.

  5. Greens beer is excellent and IS avaliable in the US. I get it at my local liquor store in Vermillion, South Dakota. Which makes me think it has to be avaliable in larger areas.

  6. Greens (UK ) is my hands down favorite. There are two local beer distributors that carry it here in Philadelphia and even a local restaurant. Have been enjoying it for a couple of years now. Bit it is expensive 6.75 per pint at the distributor and $10 at the restaurant.

  7. Green’s is available in the US. In the DC area, Total Wine & some Whole Foods carry 3 of the varieties. They are very good but also the priciest of the GF beers I’ve had. I also found the Estrella @ Total Wine but found it too light for my taste. Bard’s & New Grist are still my staples, though Dogfish’s beers are available in this area so I’m looking forward to trying it.

  8. Bards is my favorite, followed by Redbridge. Unfortunately, a local brewery makes a GF beer that I really dislike (New Grist), but because they’re local they’re pretty much the only GF beer that most bars will carry, IF they carry any at all. I’m glad Redbridge is made by a big brewery so I can at least find it sometimes.

  9. A buddy of mine, he is a home brewer, brewed me up some GF beer. It was an Amber Experiment…he used the deglutenizing agent Daura uses in their barley based beer and I did not get sick. He brewed a regular Amber ale and added the agent. Usually I get sick from a microscopic amount of gluten, so I was nervous about trying it. But I was fine!! I even used it in batter for frying oysters and they turned out fantastic!! Normally my husband won’t even smell a GF beer, but he finished off the six pack, he loved it!! Brewers, big brewers, should jump on the band wagon. If using this deglutenizing agent will make their standard brew safe for us to drink…they are missing out on a Huge market base of people!!

  10. New Planet’s “Off Grid Pale Ale” is my newest favorite. Deliciously hoppy, and best of all, it’s coming to my state very soon. Hooray!!

  11. I can’t believe no one has mentioned St. Peter’s sorghum beer! It’s the best hop taste for a GF beer I’ve found yet. I also like New Planet, but for me, St. Peter’s beats out all the competition. Of course, it’s pricey, but what GF product isn’t? We need tax breaks for having to live like this!

  12. I also like New Planet and Green’s the best. They both are a cut above for me. I didn’t think I would find a beer that I enjoyed until I tried these two.

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