There seems to have been an explosion in gluten free beer making over the past few years, with several breweries now producing only gluten free beers. Supermarkets are catching up too- last week I had a choice of gluten free Peroni, Old Speckled Hen, Daura, Celia, Meantime Pale Ale and Skinny Lager at my local supermarket. Admittedly, this is slow progress but it's progress all the same, a few multi packs were even on offer which was a lovely surprise.
Most gluten free beers that are worth the money are made by independent breweries. As such, a lot are Pale Ales or Pilsner but there are some brilliant stouts, reds, bitters and porters out there from the likes of Westerham, Green's and Black Storm breweries. I do my very best to be informative but the opinions held in this review are entirely my own, based on many pleasant evenings spent with gluten-eating friends, drinking gluten free beers.
There is some debate about whether ALL gluten free beers are safe for Coeliacs, so I have written a guide to help explain why this could be the case. If you are Coeliac or are concerned about exposure to gluten please read my article which explains the potential risks - https://www.aneasyglutenfreelife.com/single-post/2017/11/30/Is-Gluten-Free-Beer-really-gluten-free
Cheers! Jo x
THE BEST TOP 10 GLUTEN FREE BEER REVIEW
Number 1: Bellfield Brewery - Lawless Village IPA 4.5%
Citrusy and light but with a bold hoppy finish, this pale ale is perfect on it's own or with food. Winner of the UK Speciality Beer category at The World Beer Awards - Aldi Scotland are proud stockists of Bellfields two beers so let's hope Aldi UK are going to follow suit. The beer is available online if you can't wait that long! Bellfield only produce gluten free beer and both beers test as 'gluten absent'. Gluten Levels: below 10ppm. Vegan friendly.
Number 2: Black Storm Brewery - Alt Brew No.1 Pilsner 4.5%
Delightfully hoppy and smooth, you would have absolutely no idea that this is made from malted rice and quinoa. These produce a malty, clean base that allow the Tettnang hops to really sing. Black Storm Brewery recently bought the company who created these beers, Autumn Brewing Co - but they have stayed true to the creators recipes. They still don't use wheat or barley in any of their beers, so if you want to have a few beers at a BBQ or Christmas party, these are ideal. Gluten levels: n/a
Number 3: Wold Top Marmalade Porter 5.0%
An outstanding porter, sweet enough to tickle the taste buds without becoming sickly. Complex and dark, the roasted barley is rich and powerful. Full of coffee and chocolate flavours, it truly is a delight to drink. Gluten levels: below 20ppm
Number 4: Kennet and Avon Brewery - Rusty Lane 4.4%
A top quality Irish red ale, similar to Guinness Red but lighter and more hoppy. Without being too sweet, there is a lovely malted toffee flavour with a gentle floral finish. This would satisfy even the most picky of real ale drinkers. Available in bottles but also as a 9 gallon cask - risk of cross contamination from the cask/pumps is managed by individual pubs. Gluten Levels: below 20ppm
Number 5: Black Storm Brewery - Alt Brew 3, Dark Roast Stout 4.8%
I really can't get enough of Black storm Brewery's completely gluten free beers! Made with malted rice and malted millet, this delicious Stout is as good as any regular bottle of darkness. There is a real hit of toffee when you first drink this, which lingers for a while then settles down into roasted, malt goodness. Gluten Levels: N/A
Number 6: Brewdog - Vagabond Pale Ale 4.5%
Brewdog themselves describe this IPA perfectly - it does genuinely start as "citrus" and "tropical" finishing "with a raucously resinous bitterness". This impressed me, my husband, my family and my friends. Perfect for parties, a few drinks, the dinner table or the garden. Gluten levels: below 20ppm. Vegan friendly
Number 7: Meantime - Gluten Free Pale Ale 4.3%
This pale ale is only listed so low down because it won't be to everyone's taste - which is a shame, because Meantime have created a bottle of pure magic here. It starts with the perfectly smooth bitterness of a Pilsner, then without any mixing of flavours - turns into the most gentle bouquet of floral hoppiness that you will ever find. It feels like it should belong in Willie Wonka's factory - a lot of fun to drink. Gluten levels: below 20ppm
Number 8: Westerham Brewery - Double Stout 5.1%
I must admit, the thing I miss most about being gluten free, is Guinness. On the other hand, had I not been forced to stop drinking Guinness I would never have found this beauty. Powerful, rich, darker than molasses and just as thick - I personally think it's better than Guinness...there, I said it. Better than Guinness. It's much smoother and fuller, bitter enough but doesn't need cream to stop it biting. Gluten Levels: below 20ppm. Vegan friendly.
Number 9: Green's Gorgeous Blond 5.8%
Gentle and mild, this is much more like a wheat beer than a complex blond, despite the use of just barley as it's main grain. Clean, light and refreshing this is a perfect partner for food or a couple in the sunshine. As with most of Green's beers - it's very carbonated. Please note this is not one of Green's Ancient Grains beers which are naturally gluten free, it is made from de-glutenised barley. Gluten levels: gluten absent. Vegan friendly.
Number 10: Bellfield Brewery - Bohemian Pilsner 4.5%
A top quality Czech pilsner, this is seriously easy drinking but not a bit boring. It starts gently and has a good hoppy finish with just a hint of bitterness. Silver Award winner of the UK Speciality Beer category at The World Beer Awards (coming second to their other beer, Lawless Village IPA)- Aldi Scotland are proud stockists of Bellfields so let's hope Aldi UK are going to follow suit. The beer is available online if you can't wait that long! Bellfield only produce gluten free beer and both beers test as 'gluten absent'. Gluten Levels: below 10ppm. Vegan friendly.
* Autumn Brewing Co - Alt Brew No.2 English Pale Ale
* Magic Rock - Fantasma
* Westerham Brewery - Scotney Bitter, British Bulldog, Bohemian Rhapsody
* Green's - Gutsy Dark Ale, Dubbel Ale
* Nene Valley - Big Bang Theory
* Nene Valley - Release The Chimps