The category of gluten-free beers has come a long way since the Great American Beer Festival started to honor excellent beers within the style. While historically, the flavor of gluten-free beers hasn’t quite compared to the real thing, we recently sampled an array of options and found that the current state of gluten-free beer is brighter than ever.
Made in breweries that specialize in 100% gluten-free beer, these options are safe for anyone looking for a delicious beer without the gluten.
Ghostfish Brewing | Double IPA
Seattle, WA, 9.5%
Hopheads, rejoice! This double IPA promises a big, bold body layered with bitter hops and caramel-like sweetness. Brewed with malted millet and buckwheat, brown rice and malted rice, an aggressive combination of Quinox, Azacca, Centennial and Summit hops adds complexity, while raw cane sugar lends a touch of sweetness.
Ground Breaker Brewing | Inclusion Dry-Hopped Pale Ale
Portland, OR, 5.7% ABV
Striking a balance between experimentation and high-quality production, Ground Breaker’s beers are standouts in the gluten-free category. Inclusion, the first beer the brewery nabbed a GABF medal for in 2012, is a dry-hopped pale ale that’ll appeal to anyone looking for a clean, crisp refresher.
Holidaily Brewing | Favorite Blonde
Golden, CO, 5% ABV
Built with a subtle hop character (Bravo, Cascade and Centennial) and mellow malt flavor (millet and buckwheat malts), this blonde ale was named after founder Karen Hertz’s Grandfather. The 100% gluten-free release is the flagship beer for the Golden, Colorado brewery.
New Planet | Pale Ale
Denver, CO, 5.3% ABV
Brewed with gluten-free oats, millet and non-gmo blue corn, this pale ale is a tad sweet thanks to the addition of cane sugar, but with rich citrus notes from a blend of Cascade and Sterling hops and a touch of toastiness on the finish to help balance things out.
Gluten-reduced beers can’t be certified by the FDA to be 100% gluten-free since they’re made as traditional beers first, then processed in a manner that extracts the gluten after the fact. But they’re still a viable option for folks who choose to live a gluten-free lifestyle but don’t have serious gluten allergies. More on the distinction here.
New Belgium | Glütiny Pale Ale
Fort Collins, CO, 6% ABV
In a blind taste test, we couldn’t tell this Pale Ale was tinkered with to remove gluten. A hefty dose of Equinox hops contribute tropical stone fruit flavors that shine over a base of toasty malts. One of the best non-gluten representations of the Pale Ale style.
Omission Beer | Lager
If you’re looking for a clean, crisp, no-frills beer, Omission is one to reach for. A blend of Millennium and Cascade hops adds layers of dryness to this balanced brew, which has won three medals in the gluten-free category at the International Beer and Cider Competition, plus others at GABF and beyond. Omission beers are brewed at Widmer Brothers in Portland and Redhook in Portsmouth, New Hampshire as part of the Craft Brewers Alliance.
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