Beer was always my go-to for alcoholic beverages. Sampling the many types of craft beers was once one of my favorite past-times. After switching to a gluten-free diet, though, I had to change my usual order at the bar to a gluten-free (or at least low-gluten) beer.
At first, I was disappointed by the lack of variety at the local breweries and pubs in my area. I was just starting my gluten-free diet and it wasn’t half as popular back then as it is these days.
Thankfully, going gluten-free is a lot more common now, and a lot of popular breweries are introducing specialty beers sans gluten. There are even entire breweries dedicated to making gluten-free beer!
In today’s post, I’m going to show you what I think the 10 best low-gluten beers are of 2023.
Drink Up: The Best Gluten-Free & Low-Gluten Beers of 2023
I know what you’re probably thinking, “Wait; beer has gluten?”
Beer is usually the last thing that anybody on a diet is willing to give up. So when most people find out that some beers have more gluten than bread, it can be a bit of a shock. Before I jump into my list of the best gluten-free beers, let me give you a quick breakdown of why most beer isn’t friendly to gluten-free diets.
Most beer is made out of three key ingredients (other than water):
Hops don’t have gluten, which is why there are many hop-heavy IPAs that are gluten-free. However, wheat and barley have copious amounts of gluten. Drinking most wheat or barley-dominant beers will affect you the same as if you ate a couple of slices of wheat bread.
Depending on how sensitive you are to gluten, this could mean anything from mild indigestion to a severe allergic reaction.
Now that you know why most beer isn’t good on a gluten-free diet, check out my list of the best gluten-free and low-gluten beers!
1) Glutenberg White Ale (Glutenberg Craft Brewery)
I’ll be honest; I enjoy hoppy beers, but sometimes I want something for something light, crisp, and smooth. If that’s what you’re looking for, then you can’t go wrong with Glutenberg’s White Ale. It’s made from two “ancient grains,” quinoa and amaranth, which are used in place of wheat and barley.
These grains give the White Ale a strong wheaty taste without any gluten, and it’s very similar to some of the light wheat ales that I used to drink before my gluten-free diet. Despite its smooth intro, though, the Glutenberg White Ale has a wonderfully spicy and earthy aftertaste that’s reminiscent of curaçao and coriander.
Overall, Glutenberg is easily my favorite brewery. Every product made by the Canadian brewery is 100% gluten-free, and they have a constantly rotating line of delicious beers for any taste profile.
The only downside to Glutenberg is that it’s a bit expensive in the US since it’s imported, and extra taxes are applied.
2) Drink This Or The Bees Die (Duckfoot Brewing Co.)
If you like sweeter beers or you just love honey, then you will love this one. Crazy-long name aside, Drink This Or The Bees Die by Duckfoot Brewing Co. is one of my favorites when I’m looking for something warm and sweet. At 6.5% abv, it’s also pretty strong compared to some of the lighter gluten-free beers on the market.
This golden honey ale has a sweet aroma, crisp flavor, and a soft palette that’s guaranteed to appeal to anybody with a sweet tooth.
For those who enjoy watching shows like How It’s Made, here’s a cool video of Duckfoot Brewing Co. producing a fresh batch of Drink This Or The Bees Die:
3) Roasted Coffee Ale (Burning Brothers Brewing Co.)
Some say that coffee is just for breakfast… others (like me) enjoy it at all times of the day. If you’re looking for a smooth, nutty beer that’s bursting with the flavor of roasted coffee, then the Roasted Coffee Ale by Burning Brothers Brewing Co is nothing short of perfect.
At first, it tastes very similar to cold brew coffee but has a sweet caramel finish and a texture similar to a porter.
Like the previous beer I mentioned, the Burning Brothers Brewing Co. was co-founded by Dane Breimhorst, who has celiac disease and wanted to create his own gluten-free craft brewery.
4) Delicious IPA (Stone Brewing)
Some might debate the term delicious, depending on how you feel about IPAs. I personally love them. That being said, others may find they are a bit bitter for their liking. Stone Brewing’s Delicious IPA is far more tolerable than some of the other over-hopped IPAs that I’ve had in the past.
It’s also 100% gluten-free with an abv of 7.7%, making it one of the strongest beers on this list. If you’re the type who doesn’t want to have to drink an entire six-pack to catch a buzz, then I guarantee a couple of these will make you feel perfect. Just be careful, because they can hit you hard!
5) Glütiny Pale Ale (New Belgium Brewing)
New Belgium Brewing is one of the world’s most popular breweries and is well known for its Fat Tire Amber Ale and Voodoo Ranger IPA. Although New Belgium isn’t necessarily a gluten-free brewery, their Glütiny Pale Ale is made with the same level of quality as their other gluten-containing beers.
Overall, it’s a light-tasting beer with a fruity entrance reminiscent of papayas and citrus. It has a medium-bodied flavor and a nice hoppy finish that keeps the pale ale from being overly sweet. This pale is also perfect for pairing with a tasty gluten-free snack!
6) Ultimate Light Golden Ale (Omission Brewing)
Heavy, hoppy beers are good and all, but sometimes I prefer something a little lighter. After finding out that most of my favorite light beers like Bud Light were not gluten-free, I had to find a new gluten-free replacement. That’s when I first tried the Ultimate Light Golden Ale by Omission Brewing.
It has a super smooth, light body that reminds me of light beers like Coors and Miller Lite. The flavor is fruity with notes of pineapple and mango, making it a perfect fit for a day at the beach or on the boat. It’s also diet-friendly and only has 5 grams of net carbs!
7) Gose (Glutenberg Craft Brewery)
Goses are sour, fruity beers with a fermented taste similar to kombucha. By definition, a gose typically has a grain mash bill of at least 50% wheat, which means that most goses are a horrible idea for anybody with a gluten allergy to drink.
As I mentioned earlier, though, Glutenberg isn’t a regular brewer. Instead of wheat, Glutenberg uses a grain called millet to make its Gose. Everything else is still the same, and you can expect the same sour, citrusy flavor profile that you’d expect from any other popular gose.
8) Celia Saison (Ipswich Brewery)
Saisons are, by far, one of my favorite types of beer. They’re known for being spicy and fruity with a toasted aftertaste. Unfortunately, though, many saisons tend to be wheat-heavy, which is part of where their smooth, sweet flavor comes from.
The Celia Saison by Ipswich Brewery (based out of Ipswich, Massachusetts) goes great with a burger or pizza and isn’t overly heavy. It features a sorghum base, which takes the place of barley and wheat in typical saisons.
The flavor is one of herbal hops, oranges, and white pepper with a touch of cinnamon.
9) Oatmeal Cream Stout (Steadfast Beer Co.)
The Oatmeal Cream Stout By Steadfast Beer Co. is a heavy stout with a light, creamy finish that makes it an excellent choice for anybody who likes darker, butter beers. With a 6% abv, it’s not too strong either.
Steadfast Beer Co. uses special gluten-free oats to brew this dark beer (which, by the way, make for a great gluten-free breakfast). There’s a strong aroma of chocolate and oats with a mellow nutty taste reminiscent of a morning cup of coffee.
10) Grapefruit IPA (Ghostfish Brewing Co.)
The first time I had Ghostfish Brewing Co.’s Grapefruit IPA, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I’d just started drinking gluten-free beer, and I’d never heard of grapefruit-flavored beer before. Nonetheless, I decided to give in to the bartender and give it a try.
After the first sip, I was hooked! If you like grapefruit (or just citrusy beers in general), then you’ll love this. The tangy sweetness of the grapefruit really helps to offset the bitter hoppiness present in traditional IPAs. At 5.5% abv, it’s a light, medium-bodied beer that’s perfect for a warm sunny day.
FAQs About Gluten-Free Beer
Now that I’ve had a chance to show you some of my favorite low-gluten beers, you’ve likely got a few questions for me. I know that I certainly did when I first found out about gluten-free beer!
That being said, here are some of the most common questions I’ve received from readers wondering what makes gluten-free and low-gluten beer so special.
What’s The Difference Between Gluten-Free Beer and “Normal” Beer?
The main difference between gluten-free beer and a more traditional beer is that gluten-free beer doesn’t use any gluten-containing ingredients. Gluten is a small protein group that’s found in wheat, barley, and a few other grains.
Unfortunately, gluten and barley happen to be some of the most common ingredients in so-called “normal” beer.
Gluten-free beer is typically made using ancient grains that don’t contain gluten. Other gluten-free beers use a lot of hops, which are naturally gluten-free.
Does Gluten-Free Beer Taste Different?
I’ve had some delicious gluten-free beers. If I’m being frank, most of the time, I’d never know that I was drinking a gluten-free beer if I didn’t read the side of the bottle. The taste of an ancient grain gluten-free beer or a hoppy gluten-free IPA is almost identical to the taste of a traditional beer.
Is Light Beer Gluten-Free?
One of the common myths that I’ve heard from bartenders (who should know better) is that all light beers are gluten-free. Sadly, this is not the case, as I mentioned in my last post on whether or not Bud Light is gluten-free.
Although light beers typically have less gluten than a stronger, full-bodied beer (due to the extra processing), they often have more than 20 ppm (parts per million) of gluten.
You might be able to get away with drinking one or two low-gluten light beers, but if you have a strong sensitivity to gluten, then I recommend sticking to a 100% gluten-free beer.
Does Gluten-Free Beer Have Fewer Calories?
Gluten-free beer does not have fewer calories than regular beer. In fact, some of the heavier beers on this list (such as the Oatmeal Cream Stout and the Delicious IPA)have more calories than a traditional lager.
That being said, several low-calorie gluten-free beers offer the best of both worlds. The Ultimate Light Golden Ale by Omission Brewing is a great example that I mentioned on the list above!
If you’re curious, here are the average calories you can expect for a 12 oz. serving, depending on the type of beer you’re drinking:
|Wheat or GF Grain Beer||IPA (India Pale Ale)||Lager||Stout||Light Beer (Light Lager)|
Why Is Gluten-Free Beer So Expensive?
If you’ve been shopping for gluten-free beer, then you may have noticed that it tends to be a little bit more expensive than your average Budweiser or light beer. That’s because the vast majority of gluten-free beers are brewed in a craft brewery style.
Simply put, the demand for gluten-free beer isn’t as high as the demand for traditional beer. This means that the beer is produced and sold in lower quantities, which drives the price up. However, it also means that most gluten-free beers are made to a higher standard of quality.
See? You don’t have to quit drinking just because you’re going gluten-free! While I definitely don’t recommend chugging gluten-free beer all day long (for obvious health reasons), any beer on this list would make a weekend favorite for anybody on a gluten-free diet.
If you’re interested in reading more content on drinking and imbibing on a gluten-free diet, then check out Gone Gluten’s drinking blog!