Like I said when I wrote “11 Gluten Free Beers (and a cider) Reviewed,” I love beer.
I love beer. I don’t really understand wine, but I do like beer. Since I limit my gluten, gluten free (or gf) beer is a nice option.
Gluten free beer isn’t all that easy to find. Often, you can find Red Bridge at the supermarket, and Redbridge and Bard’s at the “natural food store.” Personally, I like Redbridge, but that’s coming from someone who likes the taste regular ol’ beers, like Corona and even the occasional Bud Light, so take that for what it’s worth. Of course, I do prefer more robust beers, but [almost] every beer has a spot in my heart.
Since that first list, I’ve sipped a lot of great gluten free drinks, plus some bad ones. Gluten free options are also getting easier to find, even at the grocery store (you might have to ask around). Common GF beers in the stores are still Redbridge and Bard’s, but now Omission (from Widmer) is often available at my local markets.
The taste of beer and one’s tastes for beer
There are perfectly good beers that I don’t like. Some people find them amazing, while I find them nasty. IPA is one example; I don’t like them (often), but my friend Jim loves them (almost always).
The same holds true for gluten-free beers. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you won’t like it because I don’t like it. I encourage you to try them, anyway, and please share your experience.
Still, my friend Chris asked me once “why bother with gluten free beer?”
Some people simply can have gluten, and don’t like (or love) the non-beer alternatives. Some people want the taste of beer, and even though it’s not the same, it’s can still be good.
Many people who can’t take gluten will be able to find one or more that they like, if not love. Over time, in fact, your tastes change, just like they might have with traditional beer.
I do see Chris’s point, though, and many people will not like a gluten free beer. For those people, I encourage you to try some of the increasingly better hard ciders; most are too sweet, but some are getting good!
Here we go…
The list is shorter, this time. There are only so many gluten-free beers that are readily available, and I haven’t gotten around to ordering anything special yet.
#3 Trader Joe’s ngb – gluten free lager
We have been waiting for this for a while. We knew it was coming because we have friends in the beer and wine department who could see it in the computer. Too bad it’s not all that good, especially straight out of the bottle.
To quote my wife, “it tastes like moldy citrus.” It sorta does, although there are full gluten beers that also have that kinda thing going on, too.
Now, pour the ngb (it’s lower case on the label) into a glass, and let it sit a minute; Suddenly it’s not just better, it’s actually good. …and it’s not like I’m decanting it and letting it rest for 20 minutes, it’s pour, dish up a plate of food, then drink up. In that short time, it’s better.
I really don’t understand the science of this one, folks, but ngb went from ‘do not buy’ to ‘buy if I don’t have something better at home and I’m at Trader Joe’s.’
#2 Omission Pale Ale (the blue bottle)
“It was good! Highly recommended. I’d compare the Omission to a micro brew. …flavorful, full-bodied …like real beer,” says my friend Breena, owner of The B.E.A.C.H., Ventura California’s home to Restorative Exercise™.
I have to agree with Breena, Omission is good stuff. it tastes like craft beer should taste, and if I was served this at a restaurant, I might doubt that it was a gluten-free beer.
Omission is a gluten-removed beer, meaning that it’s traditionally made (barley…) and has had the gluten filtered out using magic or something. It’s gluten-free according to the law of the land, and many gluten sensitive people do fine with it, but just be aware.
#1 Omission Lager (the yellow bottle)
This not as readily available as the pale ale, and I found it at Total Wines and More, not the grocery store.
I, Roland, prefer lagers to ales, so give this a slight edge over the blue bottle. I see from their web site that it also comes in an IPA (green bottle). If I find it, I’ll review it, but I’m not a fan of IPA, so I refuse to special order it. If you’ve tried it, please share.
Again, Omission is a gluten-removed beer, meaning that it’s traditionally made (barley…) and has had the gluten filtered out. It’s ‘gluten-free’ according to the law of the land, and many gluten sensitive people do fine with it, but just be aware.
Bonus Ciders – Trader Joe’s Newton’s Folly Apple Cider (green label – granny smith)
Trader Joe’s has two store brand ciders; red label (very sweet) and green (tart and less sweet). I’ve had the green many times, and the red once, because it’s just too sweet.
I can’t say it’s beer-like, because it’s not, but in a pinch, it’s certainly better than a wine cooler, ‘cocktail cooler,’ or hard lemonade, many of which are actually ‘malt beverages’ instead of actual hard lemonade, booze, or wine. Malt beverage means ‘made of tasteless, malted grain,’ which is almost always wheat and/or barley, and might contain trace gluten.
Also pictured is Hornsby’s Hard Crisp Cider, which is waaaaay too sweet. Their Amber version (not pictured) is still too sweet, but not sickly so.
Bonus Ciders – Redd’s Apple Ale
Ale? That is suggestive selling at its best, with this one. It tastes more like cider than ale. It is a lot less sweet than many ciders, but it’s still sweet and apply, and will never be mistake for beer.
As ciders go, I like it, and it’s often the best cider choice at the supermarket.
Neither of these ciders is beer or beer-like, but I have yet to find another cider that lives up beer since the Spire Draft Cider in my last gluten-free beer list.
Gluten Free Selections
The gluten free section at the beer and wine specialty stores keep growing. Whether you have Celiac disease or are just gluten intolerant, it’s good to know that you have options. …and some of them are nasty.
Let us know if we left off your favorite, or if you disagree with the review!