Gluten-free beer?

I’ve sampled some of the gluten-free beers available and, in general, have not been impressed. However, here is one I tasted recently and enjoyed it:

This is one of the Green’s Gluten-Free beers made from millet, buckwheat, sorghum, and rice. They have a choice of golden ale, premium pils, a dark ale, and a couple others.

While I am no fan of gluten-free foods in general, this line of gluten-free beers was a refreshing change from my usual glass or two of wine. I had the amber ale and it was tasty: a bit nutty, not sweet, and a lot like a belgian ale made from wheat. With 11 to 14 grams carbohydrate per 500 ml bottle in the Green’s line of gluten-free beers, it is a modest carbohydrate indulgence, but low enough to stay below the radar for most people’s carbohydrate tolerance if you only drink one.

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Comments & Feedback...

  1. I’ve started keeping gluten-free beer on hand even though I’m not drinking beer these days. It’s nice to have something to offer my guests that doesn’t make me feel I’m trying to undermine their health. Oh, and they taste good.

  2. Againsthegrain

    I haven’t seen this one yet. I don’t drink beer very often, but I do keep some Bard’s Beer on hand (brewed in Utica, NY from sorghum).

      • Boundless

        Tried a Bard’s yesterday. Interesting. It’s a sorhgum (milo) beer.

        First thing was a big surprise – a Nutrition Facts panel on the bottle. Someone must have recently gotten the BATFE to stand down on their goofy prohibition against telling people what they need to know about the nutritional consequences of adult beverages, which in this case is 14 grams carbs per bottle (that left only 1 gram in the budget for the rest of the meal :)).

        Tasted fine, but there was flatulence for hours later. I can’t say it was the beer, but it may have been the only time I’ve consumed a milo product ever.

          • Boundless

            To be fair to the Bard, I expect I shall repeat this experiment at some future date, purely in the interest of science, of course :).

  3. evelyn

    Going to try this; really miss the dark ale. Don’t you feel just a bit of a traitor with Lakefront in your backyard? :)

    • Hi, Evelyn–

      You mean Lakefront makes a gluten-free choice?

      I won’t pretend to be a beer expert, by the way. I’ll have one maybe every several months.

      • Melissa

        Lakefront’s webpage shows one gluten free beer, New Grist brewed from sorghum and rice.

  4. PJ

    I’ve always enjoyed beer but, alas, found my joints aching the next day after imbibing. There are a couple gluten free beers that are good and I can enjoy them on an evening out with friends. I do get tired of wine. And you just don’t go out for an evening of “wine and pool”!

  5. ibh

    will try it out.
    i am confused a bit. you say you are not a fan of gluten free food. if you have celiac disease, as i have, what should i eat then. other than meat, chicken, nuts, legumes, salads, fruits and veggies, the processed gluten free foods are the only choice. i agree that they are carbo loaded and often not very appealing, these gluten free products, as bad as you categorize them, are better than the gluten. i refer to those who are not celiac. i have no choice however.

    • Well of course, ibh, this is not a call to eat gluten.

      My rationale on this is fully detailed in Wheat Belly. Gluten-free foods, as they currently stand, are terribly destructive foods. Not as bad as wheat to a gluten-sensitive individual, but gluten-free bread, pretzels, bagels, etc. are little better than having jelly beans.

      You need to be armed with better information. That’s what this is about.

  6. Kim

    I found one from Anheuser Busch, since I was used to Bud Light, it’s called RedBridge and its pretty good. It’s also made from sorghum. The first taste is a bit different, but the after-taste and subsequent sips remind me of Bud Light. Not to mention, it was only a little over $6/6-pack, and found all around town. (Fort Wayne)
    Thank you for your information, Dr. Davis. Keep it up!

    • Kimberly Boecker

      Budwieser is rice beer. Is this one that is safe to drink on the Wheat Belly diet??

      • Dr. Davis

        Provided you don’t have celiac disease or are among the gluten-sensitive, yes.

    • Jim

      Bud Lite is wheat free! So is Coors Lite and Guinness. I love Woodchuck hard cider too, but a lot of carbs

  7. Kirk Bennett

    I usually don’t drink at all but I was out at the ranch this past weekend and picked up a six of AB RedBridge ($8.49+tax at Whole Foods in Plano TX) because I new my hunting buddies would give me crap about not drinking, then I had to listen to thier crap about drinking gluten free beer. Who would have though peer pressure would be an isuse at 41 years old. I usually just drink Coor’s Light or Bud Light if I drink at all. I wouldn’t say RedBridge was good or bad. But if you’re used to drinking the mainstream beers then I think you’ll like RB. It beats the hell out of wheat beer. I did notice that 4 beers didn’t give me a headache or make me sleepy like CL or BL would have.

      • Steve T.

        I had just about the same experience this past weekend, going on a camping trip with some buddies. I hadn’t tried gluten-free beer before and so bought two six-packs, one of Redbridge and one of Bard’s. I liked the Bard’s quite a lot and finished those first before I went onto the Redbridge. It had an odd, sweet taste which made me look at the label. I was surprised, to say the least, when I saw that corn syrup was one of the ingredients. Corn syrup! I couldn’t believe it, so I poured my unfinished beer on the ground and drank water for the rest of the weekend.

        • John

          Corn is a non-gluten grain, just like sorghum. The use of corn syrup may not be ideal, but it’s mainly there to help the fermentation process. The amount of sugar in the finished product is less than a gram per bottle.

      • Jim

        Coors Lite, Bud Lite, miller Lite and surprisingly Guinness are wheat free. Woodchuck hard cider is Gluten Free. I noticed the Gluten Free are hi in carbs

  8. cynthie

    just learned of your website – very informative! i’m confused here – i thought all beer was forbidden, due to the malt – “liquid bread”. do the gluten free beers not have malt?
    i’ve been on an eating plan like this for soon 2 years – i went to a nutritionist after many years on anti-estrogen drugs for breast cancer; these meds had given me severe joint pain. my nutritionist refers to beer as ‘liquid sugar’ – so i guess she agrees w/you.
    (i’ve wondered if the low-carb, 55-calorie types are better/ok?)
    i will stay on the eating plan – not only for the relief from pain – but also to keep inflammation, and therefore chance of recurrence down.
    thank you for your work – i look forward to reading your book.

    • Hi, Cynthie–

      I do believe that this beer is, indeed, gluten-free. It is not, however, carbohydrate-free.

      So I believe it was meant to be enjoyed . . . but not over-enjoyed!

  9. Tim S

    Daura is the best I have had. It is a beer out of Barcelona and though it is a bit pricey it blows away any other GF options I have tried.

  10. Mike

    Just curious – just how bad is the odd beer? Is its effect the same as having two slices of bread, or more like having some bad carbs, but not quite as bad as going back to wheat?

  11. Mark Stefanov

    I posted on then FAQ blog, then got the idea to use the blog to search for beer. I have a few beers about once or twice a month. Mostly during the warmer months. However, here is why I question any at all now:
    Sorghum starch consists of 70 to 80 percent amylopectin, a branched-chain polymer of glucose, and 20 to 30 percent amylose, a straight-chain polymer.
    The wheat free beers are made from sorghum. Sometimes they use rice and other grain products to enhance. I can make at home if I can find the right recipe.

    • Boundless

      > Sorghum starch consists of 70 to 80 percent amylopectin …

      Uh oh. A family member was contemplating using milo (sorghum) flour in recipes. The above seems a bit alarming (entirely apart from the simple carb load that sorghum represents).

  12. Mark Stefanov

    We will be trying almond flour this weekend. It seems to be a suitable alternative. I used to snack on raw almonds, but my teeth did do well crunching them. I did not know that there was a flour, but there is at one of our store stops, Sprouts. I know cookies made from it will be good. Any data on Sprout”s brand. Can I brew beer with it in my home brewery, probably.

  13. David G.

    Why is beer made with just barley malt bad? Many craft beers are made this way, without any wheat whatsoever. I thought the primary concern was with wheat gluten, not barley gluten (which I understand is different). Especially if one is a home brewer, one can make a very low carb but fully-flavored beer from barley malt (no wheat nor any other cereals) without resorting to sorgham or other flavor-killing tactics. And if one is afraid of even the barley gluten, I have heard of some who use an enzyme (clarity-ferm) to break down the barley gluten to very low levels. Any thoughts?

    • Dr. Davis

      Yes, the avoidance of barley malt is only an issue for the genuinely gluten-sensitive, not for most of us trying to avoid wheat.

  14. Jim G

    Are there any barley malt only beers on the market or must it simply be home-brewed? I’m not gluten-sensitive, like beer, which is one of the toughest things to give up in a wheat-free world.

  15. Jorge

    Just read Wheat Belly. What’s your take on Metamucil please. I take
    2 tablespoons in the evening before bed and it works
    great to keep me regular. Thanks

    • Erin

      I believe Metamucil makes an alternative from inulin (derived from jerusalam artichoke and other veggies). It’s a pre-biotic with many health benefits.

  16. Wolf-e

    I am not gluten sensitive, but am doing my best to avoid wheat and follow the practices in the belly book. While I mainly drink red wine at home in moderation, when boating and island hoping in the bay, I do drink my fair share. Beer simply goes well with the Water culture here in Tampa Bay. I keep reading in the blog that Bud Light is made from rice. I emailed Bush, and they responded that all their products are rendered gluten free in the brewing process or something. Therefore my question is, would it not be better to drink a few Mich Ultras, or Bud selects as opposed to the same number of bud light since they have half the carbs if you are not gluten sensitive?

    • Dr. Davis

      Probably.

      I say “probably” because the most gluten-sensitive people still react to wheat-based beers.

      The effect I worry about most with these beers in non-gluten-sensitive people is appetite stimulation. Perhaps you don’t experience this effect and those wheat-based low-carb beers are okay.

      Unfortunately, formal data on these questions is skimpy, at best.

      • Wolf-e

        Makes sense however I was under the impression that all Budweiser Products were rice and not wheat based. Your reply seems to suggest that ultra and select are wheat based where bud light is not. Is this true or am I misreading into your response.

        In any case I hear you In avoiding the “buzz munchies”

        • Dr. Davis

          I don’t want to pose as a beer expert, Wolf, since I rarely drink it, but my understanding is that Michelob Ultra is wheat-based, while Budweiser Select is not brewed from wheat but does contain gluten in the form of malt.

          So I believe that the Select is okay, provided you are not gluten-sensitive.

  17. Sammi

    For those of you drinking gluten free beer, Omission Pale Ale and Omission Lager is great! I am however not losing any weight despite being totally gluten free. I am not wheat sensitive, only trying to lose weight and get healthier. Could it be the barley?

  18. PATRICK CARMONA

    THREE MONTHS AGO I WAS TOLD THAT I AM TYPE 2 DIABETIC. AT THE SAME TIME I HAD STARTED TO DIET. BEING A TRUCKER IS WAS A LITTLE DIFFICULT BUT ALSO BEING A TRAINED COOK I DID THE BEST I COULD. MY WEIGHT WAS DOWN TO 260 WHICH FOR ME WAS GREAT. THEN I STARTED THE INSULIN AND I THOUGHT I WAS DOING GOOD BY EATING WHOLE GRAIN FOODS. DUH HA. I BALOONED TO 280. I WAS EATING OATMEAL FOR BREAKFAST AND LOTS OF OTHER LOFAT ITEMS. LITTLE DID I KNOW, UNTIL I READ “WHEAT BELLY” THAT I WAS DIGGING THE HOLE DEEPER. I WAS METERING ON THE AVG. OF 230 FOR MY BLOOD SUGAR. NOW, ONLY THREE DAYS AFTER READING THE BOOK I AM AT 104 THIS MORNING. THANKS DR. IAM GIVING YOU ALL THE CREDIT AS OF TODAY. EVEN MY COUNSLOR IS SURPRISED. IAM RE-READING YOUR BOOK SO I UNDERSTAND MORE AND I THINK THAT IAM ON MY WAY TO DROPPING THE INSULIN COMPLETLY.

  19. Ann Huth

    Dr. Davis …. i wanted to ask you please….. can i cook with beer? I have leftover bottles of beer and i was wondering if cooking with beer is out of the question.
    please let me know because…. if not… i’ll give them away. beer makes a wonderful beef stew in my crock pot when combined with a nice chick roast. the gravy is terrific.
    BUT… .. not worth it if its gonna mess up my proper eating.

    thanks

  20. jessica

    Woodchuck cider claims to be gluten free and its very tasty. The nutritional info is not easy to find though. Does anyone know if it is ok?