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Gluten-free beers - it can be done!

October 5, 2018

Gluten-free beer is tough to brew. No matter what you do, it won’t taste like a normal beer. If you’re used to standard beer, the use of non-traditional grains will throw you off immediately. Not only do gluten-free beers generally use sorghum in place of barley, but they have to use it in a way that makes a presentable, tasty beer. Luckily, Minnesota and Wisconsin are brewing for those who can’t have gluten. These drinks won’t taste exactly like a normal beer, but they’ll please your palate.

Sociable Cider Training Wheels

This is a sweet one more akin to an apple ale than a cider — and that’s a good thing. Sociable brews an eclectic mix of gluten-free ciders, but this is one I really like. The apple aroma is enticing, and the flavor is a little sweet without being cloying. Really, you can’t go wrong with any of Sociable’s ciders. What’s really great is they are not afraid to experiment. They will make a stout-cider hybrid or throw habanero into an apple concoction without looking twice.

Lakefront Brewing Co. New Grist

The Milwaukee brewery makes organic and gluten-free beer in addition to a variety of top-class brews. Of the two gluten-free beers (the other featuring ginger), New Grist is the best. It’s actually the first beer approved and labeled as gluten-free by the U.S. Government, and was made because a brewer’s father was diagnosed with celiac disease. A backbone of sorghum and rice props up a sweeter pilsner. “Sorghum is pretty sweet,” Lakefront co-founder Jim Klisch said last summer. “It’s almost like a molasses type of flavor, so we kind of dried it out by adding rice to it. And it became a bit more balanced with that.” The flavor is indeed sweeter, full of pear and apple. Plus, Lakefront says each batch is tested for gluten before bottling and shipment.

Burning Brothers Most Coast IPA

PYRO pale ale gets all the love, but Most is more interesting, full of caramel, pine, and sap notes. If you didn’t know, all Burning Brothers brews are gluten-free. The St. Paul brewery began with co-founder and brewer Dane Breimhorst deciding to brew beers he could drink after being diagnosed with celiac disease.

Gluten-reduced beer

While these breweries present plenty of options for gluten-free suds, there’s a larger variety of options if you’re able to consume beer that has some gluten. Surly started canning its Hop Shifter series and hasn’t announced plans to stop. Another, less local beer is New Belgium’s Glütiny pale ale. What’s great about the reduced beers is that they taste much closer to actual beer. If I didn’t know it, I wouldn’t be able to tell that Hop Shifter is gluten-reduced. It tastes like a Surly IPA—bold, hoppy, a little bitter. However, if you’re unable to consume any amount of gluten, these won’t be good for you.

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