Gluten free beer. Is there any hope?


Before I got diagnosed with Celiac disease, I was an admitted total beer snob. Loved the microbrews. Hated the cheap, mass produced, over advertised, tastes like water…well, you get my point. I still wish I had some inkling of my diagnosis beforehand and I would have savored over one final Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA.

So I did what most people in my shoes probably did. Went to the liquor store with fingers crossed and hoped for a miracle. “Do they even make gluten free beer?” (keep in mind this was five years ago). So I scan the shelves and there it is…Red Bridge beer made with sorghum. Gluten free. Grab a six pack. Go home. Open one up. Take a sip. Oh boy…this is not good. The other five beers stayed in my fridge for years to come. So I did what any sensible person would do. I switched to Vodka!

But there is hope

Lately, there has been good news coming out of the gluten free beer market. I have since tried a handful of other beers. Some not drinkable, but some very drinkable. Now, admittedly, my expectations and taste buds have changed. Whenever I think I have found a decent beer, I will let somebody else try it who still has their senses, and nine out of ten times, they respond with empathy that this is what I’m stuck with. But I’m ok with that. Hey, you gotta play the cards dealt to you.

The best gluten free beer I have found so far has been New Grist. Nice flavor, good aroma, decent aftertaste. And there are more and more coming to the market as the brewers realize that the demand for gluten free beers is just going to get stronger. Finding them can be the problem as my local stores only carry a few of the brands but hopefully that will improve with time as well.

And the best news of all? Dogfish Head is coming out with a gluten free beer in December. It may not be a 90 Minute IPA, but in my eyes, it will be even sweeter.

March 2013 Update: There are indeed some decent gluten-free beers!

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11 thoughts on “Gluten free beer. Is there any hope?”

  1. Have not heard of Estrella, but will need to check it out. And I’ve had the Green’s and it is quite tasty (and strong!).

  2. A lot of people feel the same way about New Grist, although others complain it’s too fruity or light. You should really give Estrella Daura a try as soon as you can…I’m in the process of building a website and mobile application to help people find gluten free beer and Celiac friendly restaurants around the world.

  3. Have you tried Bard’s? I really like that one. I also tried Estrella and really enjoyed it! Have you found the Dogfish yet?

    1. Can’t stomach the Bards…sorry. Can’t find Estrella near me…heard it’s great. And no Dogfish yet either. Supplies are indeed limited for gluten free beers around me. Bummer.

  4. Buy Omission or New Grist beer and then add OnTap Beer’s liquid beer enhancer ( A friend just gave me some and it makes for a great tasting gluten free beer!

  5. i don’t drink but i had a few none alcoholic becks blue beer and did not have a celiac reaction do you think it would be ok if i drank it again ?

    1. I know this is an old post but there is an interesting website a chap has set up for home testing beers for gluten ( and Beck’s came up with a ppm of not detectable (ie less than 1ppm). Lower than some of the advertised ‘gluten free’ ones!

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Who I am. And who I'm not.

Who I am. And who I'm not.

I AM someone who's been gluten-free since 2007 due to a diagnosis of severe celiac disease. I'm someone who can steer you in the right direction when it comes to going gluten-free. And I'm someone who will always give you the naked truth about going gluten free.

I AM NOT someone who embraces this gluten-free craziness. I didn’t find freedom, a better life or any of that other crap when I got diagnosed. With all due respect to Hunter S. Thompson, I found fear and loathing of an unknown world. But if I can share my wisdom, tell my stories and make the transition easier on you, I’ve done my job.

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