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Five Gluten-Free Beers To Try

Just how good are the gluten-free beer options out there? Ali Dedianko road tests five of the best to find out.

It’s summer, an uncertain time of year here in the UK; one minute the sun is warming your cheek and the next you’re caught in a sideways rain storm without an umbrella, wearing open-toed shoes. But luckily, this year, the weather gods have spared us a soggy summer and sent us glorious sunshine (mostly) to enjoy on the numerous roof tops, open-air terraces, and beer gardens this fine city affords us.

But hold onto your lederhosen, while most of us can happily sip a Schneiderweisse and polish off a pretzel without a second thought, for some amongst us, the gluten found in these treats results in more than just a sore stomach. Coeliac disease, otherwise known as gluten intolerance, affects roughly 1 in 100 people. And if visiting a beer garden isn’t already traumatic enough for those with a weakness for wheat, imagine spending a lifetime deprived of beer – malty, delicious, gluten-laden beer! 

But fear not our bloated belly friends, you needn’t be thirsty no more! While there may never be a suitable substitute for authentic German Brezel, at least we’ve got your beer covered.

Altiplano: Biere Bio au Quinoa 4.5%

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Conceived by a Frenchman, and named for the Peruvian plateau where the raw material is sourced, Altiplano is made of 100% certified organic quinoa. This naturally gluten-free grain lends a fresh, citrusy quality, resulting in a beer that is both light and refreshing. Sessionable and saison-eque, Biere Bio au Quinoa would pair perfectly with Saint Tropez sunshine and a killer tan. Mais bien sûr!

Mikkeller: K:rlek 5%

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This gluten-free pale ale from one of Denmark’s most beloved craft producers is brewed using oats flakes. Certified less than 5ppm, where gluten is concerned, which is well below Europe’s legal limit of 20ppm, this full-flavored ale would fool even the most informed imbiber. A beer drinker’s gluten-free beer, complete with a bitter finish. 

Brewdog: Vagabond 4.5%

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The gluten-free offering from Brewdog, one of Britain’s original craft breweries, is actually made from malted barley, a raw material that is very much NOT gluten-free. The difference here, however, is that the gluten has been removed during fermentation by the addition of an enzyme that breaks down the protein, and therefore is said to be safe for Coeliacs. Vagabond is malty and hoppy, if not slightly sweet and metallic; a good beer to pair with food.

Black Isle: Goldfinch 3.5%

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A golden-hued IPA from Scotland’s only organic brewery, Black Isle’s Goldfinch still manages to be full of flavor despite its low ABV. In addition to making damn tasty beer, the team at Black Isle are committed to sustainability; the spent grain from the brewery‘s mash is used to feed the inhabitants of the farm-cum-brewery, Allangrange, which include 200 black Hebridean sheep, a hoard of hens and horses, and one jersey cow.

Wold Top: Against the Grain 4.5%

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The King in the North…of gluten-free beers! Yorkshire’s finest is brewed from lager malt and maize, bringing it in well below the required 20ppm required to be certified gluten-free. Citrusy and slightly bitter, Against the Grain has been the recipient of more than a few great taste awards, thanks to its creamy head and refreshing taste.  

BONUS BEER ALTERNATIVE!

Gosnells London Mead 5.5%

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Mead, a beer-like beverage made from fermented honey and water, is no longer reserved for patrons of Ren Faires and lovers of Dungeons & Dragons. This is in large part thanks to Gosnells, a pioneering Peckham-based brand whose aim is to bring mead to the masses. Slightly effervescent with refreshing citrus and floral notes, there is hardly an occasion when Gosnells London Mead isn’t the perfect match.