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Best Overall: Glutenberg Blonde Ale at Drizly
"What began with a blonde ale has developed into a gluten-free paradise of well-crafted ales."
Best Wheat Beer: Ghostfish Shrouded Summit Witbier at Drizly
"Brewed with millet, buckwheat, and rice, this ale rivals the taste of any Belgian wheat beer."
Best U.S. Craft Beer: Holidaily Brewing Co. at Drizly
"The company is impressing beer drinkers, winning awards, and growing quickly in distribution."
"This is the gluten-reduced ale that you’ll want to invite to dinner."
Best Lager: Omission Lager at Drizly
"This is a crisp, refreshing, reduced-gluten lager that discloses the gluten content of every batch."
Best IPA: Stone Brewing Delicious IPA at Drizly
"A citrusy, hop-heavy IPA, this reduced-gluten beer really is delicious."
Best Belgian-Style: Ipswich Ale Brewery Celia Saison at Drizly
"Brewed with sorghum, this naturally gluten-free beer is a great representation of Belgian farmhouse ales."
Best African-Style Beer: Sprecher Shakparo African-Style Ale at Drizly
"Millet and sorghum ensure this African-style ale is gluten-free."
Best Macro Brew: Redbridge Gluten-Free Sorghum Beer at Drizly
"Produced by Anheuser-Busch, this sorghum beer has characteristics of the popular macro brews."
Beer is traditionally brewed from cereal grains like barley that naturally contain gluten. That makes it a challenge to find good-tasting beer when you need to cut gluten from your diet. Fortunately, a revolution has taken place in the brewing industry, and a good selection of gluten-free beers are now available in a variety of styles.
The gluten content varies—some breweries produce only gluten-free beer and don't allow any gluten ingredients in their facilities. Other beers are "crafted to remove gluten" ("gluten-reduced," according to U.S. FDA standards). Keep this in mind when choosing a beer that fits your personal gluten sensitivity.
Here, the best gluten-free beers to try.
Best Overall: Glutenberg Blonde Ale
Region: Canada | ABV: 4.5% | Tasting Notes: Grainy, balanced, bready
Glutenberg is a Quebec microbrewery that is completely gluten-free. Started in 2011, it has a growing distribution in Canada and the U.S. If you can find the brand near you, it's sure to have a beer that matches your taste.
All of the beers are made with naturally gluten-free grains, including amaranth, buckwheat, corn, millet, and quinoa. The impressive portfolio starts off with Glutenberg Blonde Ale. This golden, refreshing, 4.5 percent ABV beer was the brewery's first release, and it remains a favorite. Glutenberg also produces a hoppy American pale ale and a few IPAs, while Blanche is inspired by Belgian wheat ales but brewed without the wheat. A tart gose, robust stout, and nonalcoholic beer round off the collection, and each beer is so well-crafted that they taste like normal beer.
Best Wheat Beer: Ghostfish Shrouded Summit Witbier
Region: Washington | ABV: 4.8% | Tasting Notes: Juniper, citrus
Ghostfish Brewing Company is a gluten-free Seattle brewery that offers an inspiring lineup. It's distributed to a number of states in the U.S. and a few Canadian provinces. The primary grain is malted millet, but some also use buckwheat, brown rice, or sorghum. It’s like any other craft brewery with a variety of year-round and seasonal beers. The IPAs are a hit with hopheads, and the blonde and pale ales offer a pleasing maltiness. The seasonals include sour and spicy beers, a pumpkin ale, and a stout.
In Shrouded Summit Belgian White Ale (4.8 percent ABV), you’ll find a beer that rivals any Belgian witbier. How Ghostfish pulled it off with millet, buckwheat, and rice is an amazing feat of brewing genius. With the help of a few adjuncts, this hazy golden brew even has the style’s signature kiss of sweet orange and coriander spice.
Best U.S. Craft Beer: Holidaily Brewing Co.
Region: Colorado | ABV: 5.2% | Tasting Notes: Caramel, toasted malt
Colorado's craft-brewing reputation extends into the gluten-free realm. The state's first 100 percent gluten-free brewery was Golden's Holidaily Brewing Co. The company is impressing beer drinkers, winning awards, and growing quickly in distribution.
The brewery's flagship is Favorite Blonde Ale, and the Boombastic Hazy IPA won gold at the 2019 Great American Beer Festival. Among the other beers are brown and red ales, a dunkelweiss, and stouts, including a seasonal Santa's Nightcap, which is a bourbon-barreled imperial stout. All of these are on point with the respective styles, and to make that happen with such diversity using buckwheat and millet shows off the talent and skill of these brewers.
Best Ale: Two Brothers Prairie Path Golden Ale
Region: Illinois | ABV: 5.1% | Tasting Notes: Grainy, smooth, balanced
Two Brothers Artisan Brewing produces some amazing beers that are sure to impress anyone. The Chicago brewery was founded by two brothers and remains family-owned. That independent spirit is evident in every well-crafted beer the brand produces.
Prairie Path is the bottle to look for when you want to cut gluten, and it’s not terribly difficult to find. This golden ale falls into the "gluten-removed" category but tastes like it is untouched. It's bottled at 5.1 percent ABV and has a moderate 25 IBUs. The taste is mellow, creamy, and refreshing with its fruity notes. It's designed to be enjoyed with a meal and there are few others that can touch it in that sense.
Best Lager: Omission Lager
Region: Oregon | ABV: 4.6% | Tasting Notes: Fruity, hoppy
Omission Brewing Co. produces reduced-gluten barley beers that any beer aficionado can appreciate. The company is transparent about exactly how much gluten is in each batch on its website. The tests reveal that the gluten content is consistently at less than 10 ppm. Beyond that, Omission's beers are simply enjoyable to drink.
Omission offers four styles, including an IPA and pale ale, and each fits right in with regular beers of that variety. The Ultimate Light Golden Ale is also an excellent choice in the light beer category. The lager is unique in gluten-free beers, and it’s as refreshing as any other lager. This crisp beer has won awards against other lagers and is brewed with Millennium and Cascade hops. At 4.6 percent ABV, it’s an easy drinker worthy of a backyard barbecue.
Best IPA: Stone Brewing Delicious IPA
Region: California | ABV: 7.7% | Tasting Notes: Hoppy, tropical, dry, nectarine
Stone Brewing is known for its portfolio of India pale ales that are bold, flavorful, and well-distributed. Following the reduced-gluten trend, Stone Brewing released Delicious IPA (7.7 percent ABV) in 2015. Its bright green cans and bottles are unmistakable and hold a beer that (true to its name) is rather delicious.
The year-round release is hoppy (75 IBUs) and rather strong at 7.7 percent ABV. Using a combination of Nugget, Calypso, Lemondrop, and El Dorado hops, it has a tongue-tantalizing citrusy flavor and a bitter-dry finish. It's everything that the brewery's IPAs are known for, but an enzyme leaves only traces of gluten behind. The brand also employs methods to reduce gluten contamination in any of the equipment that this beer touches.
Best Belgian-Style: Ipswich Ale Brewery Celia Saison
Region: Massachusetts | ABV: 6.5% | Tasting Notes: Lightly spicy, hoppy
Massachusett's Ipswich Ale Brewery is known for crafting a nice selection of ales, a crisp pilsner, and a great variety of tasty fruit beers. Within its non-seasonal beers, you'll find the alluring Ipswich Celia Saison.
The name comes from the Styrian Celeia hops used in this 6.5 percent ABV ale. It is brewed from sorghum, so it's naturally gluten-free. Taking that grain into account, it's interesting how well the brewers stayed as true as possible to the saison style of Belgian farmhouse ales. It has a pleasant sourness of zesty orange and is a fascinating addition to the gluten-free beer scene.
Best African-Style Beer: Sprecher Shakparo African-Style Ale
Region: Wisconsin | ABV: 5.7% | Tasting Notes: Light, crisp, fruity, dry
From a gluten-free beer perspective, Sprecher Shakparo is pretty good. It doesn't rate highly on many traditional beer drinkers' lists, but it has lots of other beers to choose from. You'll find mixed reviews on this one, though it's simply best to try it and decide for yourself.
The 6.5 percent ABV African-style ale is brewed with wild yeast and a combination of millet and sorghum, the latter of which is traditional in African brews. It has a light body and carbonation with fruity notes and hints of spice that make it intriguing. Also rather surprising, this may be the easiest African beer to find outside of the continent.
Best Macro Brew: Redbridge Gluten-Free Sorghum Beer
Region: Missouri | ABV: 4% | Tasting Notes: Fruity, toasty. grainy
Macro brews typically stick with barley, so it's rare to come across one like Anheuser-Busch's Redbridge. It’s nothing new and was originally released in 2006. While Redbridge may not be the best gluten-free beer compared to those of the craft breweries, it has availability on its side. It's stocked in many U.S. supermarkets, making it an easy-to-find option for drinkers who do not have a lot of options in their area.
Sorghum beers naturally have a sour taste, so a beer like Redbridge takes some getting used to. It's brewed like a lager and there are some characteristics of the company's macro lagers in the taste. If you enjoy sour beers, it's a good option, and the taste can grow on you.
If you're on the hunt for a go-to gluten-free beer, we recommend Glutenberg Blonde Ale (view at Drizly). Not only is it completely gluten-free, but it is so well-crafted that you can hardly tell it's not a regular brew. If you're an IPA drinker, check out Stone Brewing Delicious IPA (view at Drizly).
What to Look for in Gluten-Free Beers
What's your favorite kind of beer? Or maybe the question should be, what are you serving? That will determine what kind of style of beer you buy. These days, you can find a gluten-free beer in almost any style of beer imaginable.
Alcohol Content (ABV)
Depending on the context in which you're drinking the beer, you might want something a little bit lighter in taste, or one that is on the lower end of the spectrum as far as ABV goes. You might want something in the 4 to 5 percent range if you're planning on drinking a few, whereas you might or might not consume a beer with a higher ABV in the same way.
Most beers will provide either a "best by" or "bottled on" date on the bottom or side of the can or label. Look for beers with dates that are at least 6 months out, and try to buy from purveyors that move a lot of beer on a regular basis and refrigerate a sizable proportion of it. Buying refrigerated beer is generally an assurance that the beer is fresh.
How can you tell if a beer is gluten-free?
Beer can only be classified as gluten-free if its original recipe does not contain any gluten whatsoever. Gluten-free beers are typically made with grains such as sorghum, millet, quinoa, and/or buckwheat. These types of beers contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten.
What is gluten-reduced beer?
While shopping for gluten-free beer, you may come across beer that calls itself gluten-reduced. These beers start with a recipe that contains grains with gluten such as malted barley, wheat, and/or rye. They are not gluten-free, but instead, an enzyme is added during the fermentation process that neutralizes the gluten in the beer.
What is dedicated gluten-free beer?
A beer that's labeled as "dedicated gluten-free" is a gluten-free beer that's produced in a brewery with absolutely no gluten-containing grains whatsoever. There's little concern about cross-contamination in facilities that are dedicated to producing gluten-free beers, whereas gluten-free beers produced at other breweries may contain some cross-contamination of gluten that may cause reactions for some drinkers.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Colleen Graham is a food and beverage writer with over a decade of experience writing about cocktails, beer, and wine. Over the years, she has researched and reported on many aspects related to the art and practice of creating fine drinks. She is also the author of two books, including “Rosé Made Me Do It.”