Yes, you can celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with beer! As you know, most beer is made with wheat and barley, grains that contain gluten — not good for Celiacs and others on a gluten-free diet. Fortunately, there are some breweries that are starting to make beer from gluten-free grains. Each one I’ve tried is a little different from the others (pale ales, ambers, etc.), but all of them taste like you would expect beer to taste! We haven’t found one yet that replaces Guinness, but we’ll keep looking.
The most widely distributed gluten-free beer in the United States is Redbridge. It’s only been on the market for a couple years. It is made from sorghum and is distributed by Anheuser-Busch. It is a good-tasting beer that we keep stocked in our house. The Redbridge website has a great search function for finding where you can purchase their beer, both in stores and restaurants.
Another good gluten-free beer is New Grist made by Lakefront Brewery, a microbrewery located in Milwaukee, WI. I think this was the first gluten-free beer we ever tried. The New Grist website says it’s “the first beer brewed without malted barley or any gluten-containing products to be recognized as beer by the U.S. Government.” It is made from sorghum and rice. This is another beer we keep stocked at our house.
Bard’s Beer (or Bard’s Tale) was also one of the first gluten-free beers we found. An American lager made from malted sorghum, it is a darker beer than New Grist and really tastes great. Unfortunately, it’s not available in our state yet. It is, however, available in many states — well worth the search on their website.
Green’s Gluten-Free Beers are brewed in England using sorghum, millet, buckwheat and brown rice. Their beers are not only gluten-free, but also free of many allergens. Green’s beers do not contain eggs, soy, peanuts and other nuts, fish, shellfish, milk and lactose, celery, mustard, sesame seed, sulphur dioxide and sulphites. (I don’t know how common it is to see these allergens in beer, but I’ve listed them anyway for our friends with numerous allergies.) Green’s distributes three styles of beer in the United States: Quest, a light-bodied blond beer; Discovery, a medium-bodied amber; and Endeavor, a dark beer. I was very impressed with both the Quest and Discovery beers. I have yet to try the Endeavor. I recently found these beers at our local Whole Foods Market, but was told that availability varies. To find them for yourself, check out their North American distributor’s website.
Check out these other websites for more information on gluten-free beer:
Barley-Free Gluten-Free Beer for Celiacs from Lakefront Brewery [informative article about Lakefront Brewery and review of New Grist] by Carolyn Smagalski and BellaOnline.com
Celiacs Guide to Gluten-Free Beer [includes information on a variety of gluten-free beers] by Carolyn Smagalski and BellaOnline.com
Gluten-Free Beer Festival [Click on "Available Beers" for tasting notes on a variety of gluten-free beers brewed in the US and other countries.]
Gluten-Free Passport [a good list, with website links, of gluten-free beers distributed in countries around the world]
Redbridge gluten-free beer [a well-written review of Redbridge beer] by Mike Pomranz and Slashfood.com