One of the first questions you may ask yourself after starting a gluten-free diet is: does beer contain gluten? Most beer is not gluten free, since beer is most often made from malted barley and hops, and sometimes wheat. Barley and wheat both contain gluten.
If you are a fan of an ice cold brew, don’t despair. Several companies make delicious gluten-free beer so good you’ll hardly notice a difference. Gluten-free beer is mainly brewed from rice, buckwheat, corn, sorghum or millet, all of which contain no gluten.
Brands that make gluten-free beer
- Güten Beer
- New Planet
- Alpenglow Beer Company Buck Wild Pale Ale
- Alt Brew
- Autumn Brewing Co.
- Ghostfish Brewing
- Moonshrimp Brewing
Check out our gluten-free beer roundup for taste, availability and even food pairing information for more than 65 brews.
Glutenberg is widely regarded as a favorite in the world of gluten-free beers. Glutenberg’s beer is all brewed from 100% gluten-free ingredients and no gluten-containing ingredients are allowed in the brewery, eliminating any chance of cross-contamination. The beer is also vegan, sulphite free, and the cans are made of 100% BPA-free materials. Buy them here.
Is gluten-removed beer safe?
So-called gluten-removed beer may not be safe for people with celiac disease. The Gluten Intolerance Group raised this concern after testing a new method for detecting gluten.
The Gluten Intolerance Group tried testing reactivity of beer with antibodies from human blood. The study took blood samples from 31 people with untreated celiac disease and 29 without celiac for comparison. These were used to test samples of barley, regular commercial beer, gluten-removed beer and gluten-free beer.
Antibodies from 11 of 31 celiac patients reacted significantly to barley. Four of the 11 also reacted to conventional beer while three reacted to gluten-removed beer. A variable response was expected, as people with celiac disease are known to react differently to different strains of wheat and barley. Meanwhile, one of the 29 control samples reacted with barley but not with any of the beers. The results show both conventional beer and gluten-removed beer can contain protein residue potentially harmful to people with celiac disease.
What are some gluten-free beer alternatives?
If beer isn’t your thing, there’s hard soda, hard sparkling water, vodka and more that you can enjoy even on a gluten-free diet. Check out some of our lip-smacking gluten-free beer alternatives here. You can also make your own cocktails!
Gluten-free cocktail recipes
- Tommy Bahama Pomegranate Mimosa
- Fiesta Mule
- Rum Root Beer Float
- Frozen Sangria
- Pineapple Green Chile Margarita
- Spiced Cider Cocktail
What is gluten?
Gluten is a name for the proteins found in wheat, rye and barley. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together. It is found in many types of foods, even ones that would not be expected.
Many people choose to follow a gluten-free diet because of celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder in which the body mistakenly reacts to gluten as if it were a poison. When someone with celiac consumes gluten, the immune system reacts by destroying the part of the small intestine that absorbs vital nutrients. This malabsorption can lead to serious illness. Learn more about celiac disease here.