After my blog post listing some of my favourite gluten free beers, I’ve been getting messages from people saying that they can’t drink them, for various reasons. As someone who always tries to make everyone in the online coeliac community feel included, I thought I would do a little bit of research and show people that gluten free beers made with gluten free grains do exist! And best of all, they’re exciting.
If you’re new and wonder how gluten free beer is made, here’s a quick lowdown of three ways.
- Beer is brewed with gluten-containing grains, then an enzyme called Brewers Clarex breaks down the gluten protein. This additive is added to prevent haze formation in beer but is also used by many breweries in order to create gluten free beer. I don’t know the exact in’s and outs of it, but I’m not a brewer.
- Beer can also be brewed with grains with a lower gluten content, then the brewing process breaks down the gluten.
- Beer can be brewed with alternative grains such as millet and buckwheat, making it gluten free, naturally, without any barley or additive.
Beer that’s had the gluten removed must be tested for gluten before being labelled gluten free, and the result should be less than 20ppm, a level which is deemed safe for coeliacs here in the UK. More information is available on Coeliac UK’s website.
However, not everyone following a gluten free diet is coeliac, and not all coeliacs’ bodies are the same. Some people react to gluten free beers, regardless of the final gluten content being less than 20ppm. I’m not entirely sure why that is, but people’s lived experiences are just as valid as any science sometimes.
With this in mind, and lots of messages from people, I did what any craft beer loving coeliac would do, and have a look for some breweries.
There is a website here in the UK, called Taylor’s Gluten Free Beer Network, and they stock any gluten free beer you can just about wish for, blondes, porters, bitter. You name it, they pretty much have you covered. This isn’t an ad for them in any way, if you haven’t guessed, I just really enjoy good beer.
On their website you can use their filter and select ‘NGCI’ – a filter showing beer brewed with 100% naturally gluten free grains. No enzyme, no barley and no gluten. This is also clearly labelled on each photo, making it easy to spot.
I went and ordered a mixed case of 12 NGCI beers, and here are the breweries that I discovered inside.
This brewery claim to be reinventing gluten free beer from the ground up, selecting gluten free grains, yeast and hops to push boundaries in their brewing, and expand people’s expectations of what gluten free beer can be. They offer seasonal, year round, and limited releases, making any craft beer lover excited for what’s next.
Their all year round beers include a Stout, brewed with roasts of malted millet, buckwheat and brown rice. They also have a Blonde Ale, Double IPA, and a grapefruit IPA to name just a few of their offerings.
These guys are ran by a Father and Son team, and their shared interest in home brewing, with one of them being diagnosed Coeliac at 1 year old, led to the creation of Alt Grain Co. They are extremely passionate about creating naturally gluten free and safe beer for all.
As well as selling beer, they also sell artisanal small batch malts and brew additions for home brewers and commercial breweries.
They have a Blonde Ale, a Session IPA and a Pale Ale, so they’re great if you’re after a pleasant crowd pleasing beer that’s truly gluten free.
Stirone BarleyFree are an Italian import available on Taylor’s Gluten Free Beer Network, and their range includes a ginger beer that is 7% ABV , an Amber ale, a Blonde ale, and a limited edition full-bodied Pumpkin ale which is 8.5% ABV and brewed with white sorghum and warming festive inspired spices.
They’re worth checking out if you want something different, and offer great alternatives to the gluten free beer that some of us are used to getting from supermarkets.
This brand aren’t on the website, but I thought I would list these too. You can find them in some supermarkets, and online at their website as well as Beerhunter. They create beer with ancient grains, such as sorghum, millet and buckwheat. They’re also Coeliac UK accredited.
I personally really enjoy their Gutsy Dark ale and their Pilsner, but they also do 9 more including an amber ale and a dry hopped lager.
What do you guys think? Have you discovered any other beers brewed with gluten free grains, or have you brewed a gluten free beer yourself?
I definitely recommend checking out this website to have a look at their full NGCI beer range, maybe you’ll find a beer style you’ve really missed!
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