| Gluten Friendly Beers
by Amelia Walsh
Hi Bob -
I know I'm not alone in your readership as a beer person who is
gluten intolerant and still loves beer. The latest statistic I saw was
that there about 2 million Americans like me. This prevents us from
consuming wheat, barley, or rye. That means all of us are excluded
beer in our diets.
Well, I'm writing to spread the word there is a bright side. Compared
with a few years ago, craft beers catering to gluten-free and gluten-
sensitive audiences are aplenty. And they actually taste good.
There are three different types of “gluten-free-friendly” beers: gluten-
reduced, gluten-free, and dedicated gluten-free. Put simply, gluten-
free beer is beer made with gluten-free ingredients. This includes
sorghum, rice, buckwheat, millet, and other sugar sources that aren’t
malted barley, wheat, or rye.
Gluten-free labeling is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Adm. ).
A beer can be labeled gluten-free if it contains fewer than 20 ppm
(parts per million) of gluten. This is determined by lab testing at the
responsibility of the brewery.
Gluten-free brands made without any gluten-containing ingredients
that I like are Dogfish Head’s Tweason’ale, Lakefront Brewing’s New
Grist, and New Planet Beer Blonde Ale. But, here’s where it gets
tricky: If gluten-free beer is produced at a facility that also produces
beers with gluten it can technically be at risk of cross-contamination.
If beers are gluten-free and produced at dedicated gluten-free
facilities, they are called dedicated gluten-free, and do not pose a
cross-contamination risk. In addition, these beers must be made with
gluten-free grains grown in a specific region where neither barley or
The most common gluten-free-friendly options I've tried are gluten-
reduced beers. These are also labeled as “crafted to reduce gluten.”
Gluten-reduced beers are brewed just like regular beer, with malted
barley, wheat, rye, or other gluten-containing ingredients, then
exposed to an enzyme called Brewers Clarex during primary
fermentation. This enzyme is a filtration agent that has little effect, if
any, on beer’s flavor. So you see I wasn't kidding when I said the
beer still tasted good.
New Belgium’s Glütiny Pale Ale is gluten-reduced, as is its Mural
Agua Fresca brand. Interestingly, the former is labeled as gluten-
reduced while the latter is not; I recommend them both along with
Stone Brewing’s Delicious IPA which is well-known as a gluten-
reduced beer but is not labeled as such.
Unfortunately most beers like these are often demoted to the dusty
bottom shelf due to gluten-free beer’s less tasty past. It's like a
gluten-reduced stigma, Now things are changing since the taste is
One last thing. It's most important for your readers to know that
when exploring gluten-free options, safety is the key. When it comes
to consuming gluten-free-friendly beer, those with sensitivities like
me have a personal responsibility to be diligent about educating
Hope you might put this on BeerNexus. I think it has some
information that is interesting and helpful.
Best to you!
Thanks Amelia for your very informative and important article. You are
so right that gluten friendly beers have dramatically improved in taste.
It's certainly positive to see the beer industry respond to a need and to
know that more people can enjoy good craft beer.
Again, many thanks for sending your article. It's the first we've had on
the topic and I know it will be well received by all the readers.
I'd like to invite everyone to send me their own columns about anything
related to beer in any way just as Amelia did. I select the best and
publish them here. So join in and get writing!
|BeerNexus proudly presents
"the ombudsman of beer"
Bob and Friends Speak of Beer......
|Want to be a "friend of Bob"
and write a guest column?
Just e-mail your article to
|Bob does not verify authorship of
articles. All articles are assumed to
be written by the sender.