17 March 2020
There is no doubt that many people are restricting gluten from their diets. If barley and wheat sound like trouble to you, don’t fret, we have great news. With many brewers producing gluten free options, you don't need to forego beers completely. There are many mighty fine, hoppy, flavour-packed beers that will still tickle your fancy.
Beer is commonly made from water, hops, yeast and grain. The first beers were brewed by spontaneous fermentation and mixed grains. Brewing beer is a process that has been around for at least 6,000 years and in that time the basic premise of brewing has remained largely unchanged. Rye and barley have been popular since ancient brewing. Many other grains like millet and maize in African societies and persimmon in North America have been widely used in the past too. Now, the most common cereal grains used in brewing are barley, wheat and rye. Gluten is the protein found in lots of grains. This means that conventional beer is not gluten free. Unless specifically stated, beer has gluten in it. In most countries, to qualify as gluten free a beer must be less than 20 parts per million of gluten. In Australia however, beer must have 0 detectable particles to be considered gluten free. This is important to remember when drinking around the world.
Most conventional beers will have more than 20ppm of gluten, this is of course dependent on the beer. Healthline determine the average gluten in common beer styles as the following:
- Lager: 63 ppm
- Stout: 361 ppm
- Ales: 3,120 ppm
- Wheat beer: 25,920 ppm
As you can see, the gluten content can vary vastly from beer to beer.
Gluten free beers UK
Beer lovers who restrict gluten from their diet have more choice than ever. Gluten free beers are becoming more available, with a wide variety of styles now on the market. As awareness rises about the prevalence of wheat allergies brewers have been meeting this demand, resulting in ever-more gluten free products being developed and beers being launched. Bellfield Brewery and First Chop are both excellent examples of British breweries who brew exclusively gluten free beers. The award-winning Bellfield was the first craft brewery dedicated to gluten free in the UK. Setup by two friends with a coeliac diagnosis, their mission is to create great tasting beer that everyone can drink. They are continually adapting their range with future plans to expand all beer styles from lagers and ales right through to porters and stouts. All their recipes are designed in-house too! First chop too, take care great to remove gluten throughout the brewing process and have a wide variety of styles in their assortment. Proof that beer does not need gluten to be delicious!
Gluten free brewing
Barley malt, a dry, germinated and heated form of barley is the main ingredient in almost all beer. Despite the gluten naturally reducing at each stage of thr brewing process; malting, mashing, boiling and fermenting, the end product still contains some of the gluten protein. This too is important to note if you are coeliac and your health is impacted by any traces of gluten.
There are two types of gluten free beers, those that are brewed conventionally and then had an enzyme added to remove the gluten (deglutination) or brewed using gluten free ingredients, with no gluten from the outset. This method of brewing is why many brewers are looking to ingredients such as millet, buckwheat, rice and sorghum to replace the barley. All of which do not contain gluten. Some breweries still brew with barley and rye but reduce to levels to the recommended level, which is less than 20 ppm of gluten.
Since awareness has grown there has been no shortage of gluten free beers. The market has expanded and paved the way for many delicious gluten free alternatives. Some breweries, like Bellfield Brewery and First Chop, have even dedicated themselves to brew exclusively gluten free products! We are almost spoilt for choice now.
Here’s a list of some excellent gluten free beers. There are UK based examples but also great brews from France and Belgium too. We have selected styles to suit every beer lover, pale ale, Blond, IPA and Pilsner. These are all great beers; you should try them whether you consumer gluten or not!
Gluten free beer list
1. First Chop AVA
First up is AVA by First Chop, a delicious gluten free light blond ale. In fact, their whole ale assortment is gluten free, with all batches tested to prove they are less than 5ppm. First Chop is about premium quality, great taste and small-scale production, that’s why they are proud to only “remove the gluten- nothing else!
2. La Cristal IPA du Mont Blanc
La Cristal IPA du Mont Blanc is a fresh, delicately hopped IPA brewed with water from the French Mont Blanc. The Saaz hops give floral and citrus aromas that are followed by a well-balanced, spicy, hoppy, refreshing body. The gluten is removed during the brewing process and tested to below 20ppm.
3. Grisette Blond Gluten Free
Golden in colour with a smooth, white head. You can easily identify Grisette Blond Gluten Free by the distinctive bitterness and herby, spicy taste. This award-winning gluten free pale ale is brewed with traditional methods and does not undergo any biochemical treatment.
4. Brunehaut Blond Organic
A very well-balanced organic beer with a fruity and slightly herbal taste. Brunehaut Blond Organic is a very pleasant aperitif! Burnehaut has a fantastic range of barley beers (yes, barley!). They have developed a natural way to remove the gluten during the brewing process. They attest to less than 5ppm gluten!
5. Bellfield Session Ale
Set up by some friends, Bellfield Brewery has an exclusively gluten free craft brewery. The Bellfield Session Ale is a real easy drinker, an effortlessly balanced pale ale with a hoppy, fruity character. The light body and 3.8% alcohol make this session beer incredibly moreish.
6. La Bleue du Mont Blanc
Another great one from Brasserie Du Mont Blanc but this time in a sour beer. It's sweet, floral and subtle. Made with water from Mont Blanc and sumptuous blueberries, it's fruity, refreshing and remininscent of the Alps.
7. L'Ambrée Sans Gluten de Vézelay
This amber coloured beer from Brasserie de Vézelay has a flavourful aroma mix of citrus, gingerbread, dried fruit and caramel. Not only are they gluten free, but they are also leading the way in organic beer. The 12 medals at the Concours Général Agricole and 5 World Beer Awards are testament to this.
8. Mongozo Premium Pilsener
Brewed by the same brewery famed for Delirium, Brouwerij L. Huyghe promote Mongozo Premium Pilsener as the "world's first organic, gluten free and Fairtrade lager". Brewed with high grade ingredients it is mild, slightly bitter and hoppy. It is also easy and refreshing to drink!
There are now lots of gluten free options, gluten free lagers, gluten free and alcohol free and even gluten free SUB Kegs!
Gluten free beer on tap
That’s not all, gluten free beers are not just limited to bottles and cans. We have options in SUB Kegs also, so now you can load up your SUB with gluten free brews!
Non alcoholic gluten free beer
Gone are the days were non-alcoholic beer means watery and tasteless. And, now you can even get very tasty non-alcoholic gluten free beers! Removing the gluten and alcohol needn't be a sacrifice. Check out the Big Drop range!