The 7 Best Gluten Free Beer and Cider Brands

beers1 I’ve recently hit my 2 year gluten-free anniversary. Which is crazy, because it feels like a lifetime. The things I miss most are still bread baskets, fried clams on the side of the road, and homemade pastas at hole-in-the-wall red sauce joints. But each summer, beer moves to the top of the list.

Sure, when it’s warm outside and you’re feeling like a little mid-afternoon siesta, without loosing your mental cool, there’s nothing better than a cold frosty brewski. But for me it’s really the social aspect – the summertime chilling by the pool, the coolers at the beach. A vodka soda just doesn’t cut it under those conditions. Ick.

But gluten free beer can sometimes be hard to find, and though I’m usually a pretty good planner when it comes to packing 1 whole loaf of Udi’s in my weekend bag, I often forget to prepare for what I’m drinking with it. Take this last weekend in Montauk for instance. It was Memorial Day, which I thought meant rose would abound. But come Friday night, my friends and I found ourselves in a cold rainy house with no prospect of leaving it. We had no cards or games, so naturally, someone suggested we play quarters. We had run out of wine, and due to lack of beer alternatives, I ended up playing with tequila. Huge mistake.

So I wanted take a moment to assess the gluten-free summer drinking playing field. I’ve been much more of a cider gal these past two years, especially since it’s something that your gluten-free friends might actually want to drink too. But I asked around and got some great beer recommendations from long-time gluten-free friends. I included some of their notes when I didn’t have my own to share.

I hope this helps all of you with similar beverage woes with your summertime siesta-ing. You know I won’t be caught dead in Montauk again without a case of Magners.

Have I missed any of your favorites? Please let me know in the comments! Looking for the best Gluten-Free hard liquor? I have a great list here.

Xo
Phoebe

beers2

1. New Grist
My friend Oliver, who’s had CD for a while, says that this is his all-time favorite. In the early days of my gluten-free-dom, when I was reeeeally unprepared, I would often steal from Oliver’s beer stash at parties. I didn’t pay much attention to the brands, but I assume this is probably what I was drinking, and it wasn’t bad at all. He says it tastes like a standard ale to him, but that others have claimed it’s more like a Blue Moon.

2. Magners
I would consider this the Bud Light of ciders. It’s the most widely available at bars, and probably the most widely consumed by people who can drink the rest of the tap options if they wanted to. Still, I put Magners towards the top of the list because of it’s drinkability, which is kind of what you want in a go-to summer beverage….otherwise, why would people drink Bud Light?

3. Green’s
I haven’t tried this one. But it was recommended to me by my acupuncturist, Heidi, who claims that non-glutards like it as well. She’s never led me astray on any GF recommendation (I am forever grateful for an awesome pizza joint called Mozzerellis), so I’m going to take her word for it.

4. Woodchuck (original)
This is my go-to cider whenever I’m buying at a store or bodega. You’re also likely to find it on many hipster-y restaurant menus. It’s got a great flavor – a little bit heavier and more concentrated than Magners. I would equate the difference to how Coke tastes from the soda machine versus the bottle. But it’s damn delicious. I will note: I accidentally picked up the “summer” version once and it was undrinkable. It had blueberry flavoring in it, and that is clearly not my thing.

5. Omission
For those who used to drink Sierra Nevada as their summer beer, this is the GF IPA for you. Unlike some of the other brands, it uses a gluten-removal process. I have no idea how this works. But it sounds impressive.

6. Angry Orchard
This is a great, slightly more niche cider. I love the packaging and the taste, especially of the “crisp” flavor. It’s still easy enough to find in stores in New York, but you might not find it on restaurant menus or at bars. It’s worth a try if you come across it.

7. Bard’s
This is a sorghum-based craft beer, also recommended by Oliver. It’s a bit harder to find, and I haven’t come across it. But if you’re reeeeeally prepared, why not order some for the summer?

Click here for my full list of The Best Gluten-Free Hard Liquors

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68 Responses to The 7 Best Gluten Free Beer and Cider Brands

  1. GW says:

    Strongbow and Crispin ciders are near the top for me. They’re a bit dryer than Magners, which means no sugary aftertaste. Everybody should try them, with some ice!

    • Thanks GW! Yeah I don’t know why I don’t drink as much Strongbow. I think it reminds me of highschool and college, pre-GF, of ordering it when I didn’t really want to get drunk. Mike’s hard of cider? But it’s nothing against the taste I suppose!

  2. Dave says:

    Great list. Thanks for putting it together!

    I’ve not had Strongbow, but I’ll second the Crispin and Woodchuck ciders. New Grist is light and summery, but a bit too acidic for my taste. Bard’s is good, but I like Redbridge better and I can find it at almost any place that has a GF menu.

    Omission is the big taste winner to me – brewed like a “normal” IPA and then the gluten is removed by an enzyme that was designed to remove chill haze. So it’s real beer that just happens to be GF.

    • I’ve had crispin too and it’s delicious. I don’t know why I didn’t add it to the list – maybe because it feels fancier and less everyday? Glad you guys are talking about it though. Taste-wise, it’s a total winner for cider.

    • Andrew says:

      Omission, though tasty, is not technically gluten-free. It is gluten reduced. This is also clearly stated on Omission’s website as their beer “may contain gluten”. It’s just important to be aware of this as some people are highly sensitive and may not like the side effects, especially if they thought it was “safe”. Otherwise, I find that the Pale Ale is much better than the Lager!

      • Interesting. It was recommended by one of my celiac friends who hasn’t had a problem. but a very important caveat. Thank you for mentioning!

      • Kathleen in Baltimore says:

        I definitely love the taste of Omission; however, I’m always glutened and sick the following few days! Beware, it does contain gluten, as its packaging states- “May contain gluten”

  3. Bailey says:

    love this! beer is what i covet in the summertime and my absolute favorite is Daura Estrella. you can find it at whole foods and some harris teeter’s along the east coast. i personally love it because it reminds me amstel light- here’s their website! http://www.estrelladamm.com/en/daura_gluten_free_beer/

  4. Anna K. says:

    Love angry orchard apple & ginger blend, I think they may be around me (northwestern mass) somewhere because they seem to have it on tap all over the place and it’s just so nice and refreshing.

  5. Kim says:

    Love this list. Thanks for the recommendations!

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  7. McKenzie says:

    New Planet beer is another great gluten free beer! It’s not widely available, but the raspberry is definitely the best of the varieties that I’ve tried. http://www.newplanetbeer.com/

    I second the vote for Crispin. I also really like Original Sin & Scrumpy’s http://organicscrumpy.com/.

    • Thank so much for the recs, McKenzie! Will definitely try the new planet. xo

      • Brad says:

        I honestly can’t say enough about New Planet. I’ve tried a majority of the gluten free beers out there. My main issue is that by the secondone of the night i’m done with the flavor and dont want that beer again for along time. new Planet is different, it feels a lot more like a normal beer to me. i’ve literally embraced this like it was a long lost relative or something. my fridge is never without it. There are 5 different varieties that they’ve come out with and they’re all amazing. Popping up in a majority of liquor stores including chains like bevmo and total wine. They’re also in sprouts and whole foods. As interesting(disgusting) as this might sound, their raspberry beer with OJ is like a non-headachy version of a mimosa with more flavor (ratio is somewhere around 50/50 beer to oj). I had a chance to meet with a few people that work there, and they’re incredibly warm welcoming, nice and most importantly knowledgable about gluten free anything. The owner is Celiac and is extremely sensitive. Again highly recommended. Varieties include a pale ale, blonde, the raspberry, Belgian and a brown. The brown is amazing, it reminds me why i enjoy beer, which i never thought i would again after being diagnosed celiac.

        • Brad! Thank you so much for the great info. It comes at the perfect time: I just received an amazing care package from New Planet and can’t wait to crack open one of the brown ales to try. I foresee an addendum to my list. Love the idea of the beer mimosa. Thank you so much for sharing your GF wisdom with me + my readers! – P

  8. Connie says:

    Foxbarrel is my cider of choice…. Love all the different flavors. I prefer pear to apple ciders.

  9. Debs says:

    Another amazing gluten-free beer is by Dogfish – it has a tricky label that doesn’t clearly look gluten-free (it is in funky print), but you should really try this one:
    http://www.dogfish.com/brews-spirits/the-brews/seasonal-brews/tweasonale.htm

  10. Trace says:

    In Canada (and perhaps in the States as well) we get a beer called Against the Grain. It’s sometimes difficult to find, but well worth the search. I am almost 2years GF as well, and beer is #1 on the list of things I truly still miss the most. Thanks for your list, though. (PS – love your site)

  11. Weezee says:

    Estrella Damm is wonderful if you like a more full-bodied, darker-tasting brew.

    I also tried Redbridge recently, a sorghum-based beer by Anheuser-Busch that was good but definitely not a light-tasting beer.

    I would love a calorie count list along with the gluten-free beer. I think many of the ciders have upwards of 300 calories per bottle and a TON of sugar. Yikes!

  12. Diana says:

    The only one we have available in our area is Redbridge beer, and I actually really like it! There is only one restaurant in town that serves it but there are a couple of grocery stores that carry it.

  13. Kerry says:

    Greens Amber Ale is definitely my new favourite. Don’t feel like I’m being deprived of the real beer taste when drinking it. I have also tried New Grist and did not enjoy it. Still siting in the fridge. :(

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  15. Leta Rogers says:

    i love Omission, and also New Planet’s Belgian Ale helps me from morosely mourning Fat Tire’s Trippel lack in my life:

    http://www.newplanetbeer.com/gluten-free-beer/belgian-ale/

  16. Steffen says:

    Hi, beside the various GF labelled beers I can recommend Corona – the regular Corona you can get anywhere which is probably half-price to Omission & Co.

    I just started a website for beer lovers who are sensitive to gluten or diagnosed with CD. I tested Corona with a gluten home test kit where the detection limit in beer is around 1-2 ppm. And it was negative. You can find the complete test with pictures here: http://www.lowgluten.org

  17. Steffen says:

    I don’t know how they do this. They still list barley malt in the ingredients but it seems to be confirmed by some professional assays that it contains no gluten. Please see here a Swedish study, page 14: http://www.slv.se/upload/dokument/rapporter/kemiska/Gluten_i_maltdrycker_SLV-rapport-3_2013.pdf
    It says something like: no gluten in all three analysed samplesof Corona

    I also tested Heineken using another test kit which works with thresholds. Carlsberg and some German beers are next on my list. But as most of my visitors are from the US I will test Bud, Miller etc. very soon. Stay tuned.

  18. MB says:

    After trying a sorghum based beer from Trader Joe’s (Im spacing on the name) I definitely appreciate how good the Omission beers are in comparison. One note regarding the ciders too – the Magners comes in with 11g of sugar while the Angry Orchard was around 30g if I am remembering correctly. IMO Magners is the better tasting option and with 20g less sugar per bottle, there is no reason I would go back for another A.O. cider.

    • That’s so good to know, MB! I actually have always felt magners felt the lightest and least sugary. Good for people who are watching their sugar intake. Thanks for the advice!

  19. Suzanne says:

    I just want to warn people to be very wary of claims that things like Corona are “secret” gluten-free options, unless you have a testing kit and know you level of sensitivity. I tried Corona a few times, elated at the “news” that the gluten was not supposed to have survived the brewing process (the rumor-spreaders’ claim not the company’s). The first two times I had one, and did not notice any symptoms, but the third time, I had two in one sitting, and felt sick (like a major, unwarranted hangover) for about 2-3 days, so I’ve decided not to mess with non-gluten-free beers. Corona is probably best for people with very mild sensitivities. The same thing happened to me with a lesser-known variety of Guinness my celiac friend had researched and said he had no symptoms (he always seemed more sensitive than me). It’s possible I am more sensitive to the gluten in barley (vs. wheat) than some people, but now I take no chances. My favorites have been Green’s and Bard’s. My favorite cider is Strongbow.

  20. DM says:

    I love mad bark cider. They have awesome seasonal flavors. My sister loves the peach one in the summer and I am a huge fan of the winter apple cinnamon one that tastes like pie.

  21. Nikki says:

    I Live In Canada And I Have Tried The following Kinds Of Gluten Free Beer:

    Bard’s – Decent
    Mongozo – My Favourite So far
    Estrella Daura – Second On My list
    Glutenberg – Did Not like
    Lazy Mutt – Awful
    La MessagerG
    New Grist
    I’vE Only Tried The Last Two Once, But They Were Pretty Good, I Would Buy Them Again.

    (Sorry Abou The Capitalization, My Phone Is Acting Up)

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  23. Ethan says:

    I bought some Peak Organic IPA from Whole Foods and the cardboard box said Gluten-free but their website does not mention it. =/

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  27. amy says:

    For cider lovers out there, I highly recommend Samuel Smith’s Organic Cider – I prefer a dry cider, like Magners or Original Sin, but I think the Sam Smith’s tops those.

    And Omission’s Pale Ale is pretty darn good – thanks to whoever pointed out that some people may not be able to tolerate it since there may be traces of gluten.

    *Some ciders may also have trace amounts of gluten, due to the yeast being used – but if you look at the US vs European standards for parts per million (ppm) of gluten to be considered GF, the European standard allows a bit more. just interesting.

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  30. Kimberley says:

    Be careful with the Omission beer I tried it it got sick quickly which tells me Gluten!
    So if you can not handle gluten this is a bad choice!

  31. Gil says:

    Check our BSG (Brasseurs San Gluten) from Montreal – distribute across Canada and US .. http://glutenberg.ca/usa/locations

  32. JS says:

    I’ve been gluten free for 5 years. I MISS real beer. Omission is the best for me (not sure how someone got sick off of that since it’s specifically created as a gfree beer but stranger things have happened. I just found out about this tea fermented gfree beer out of Columbus Ohio. I hope to try it this week when I visit Columbus. Check it out :)

    http://lunakombucha.com

    Happy gfree beer hunting!

  33. Christopher says:

    My brother recommended I would possibly like this blog. He was entirely right.
    This post truly made my day. You can not believe just how muchh time
    I had spent for this info! Thanks!

  34. Dave says:

    The beers made with traditional ingredients like Omission and Estrella Damm are not able to remove all the gluten. They are ok for someone who wants to reduce their gluten intake but generally not ok for someone with celiac.
    This is from Omission…
    “The gluten content of this product cannot be verified, and this product may contain gluten.”

    ~Dave

  35. Dan says:

    I have been Celiac for 15 yrs. and was an avid beer drinker .
    But with the first gluten free beers available , gave up beer .
    With GF beers becoming available there are some good choices now .
    My 3 favourites are gluten reduced as i have no problems with them .
    #1 Brunehaut BIO Blonde
    #2 Omission IPA
    #3 Mongozo Premium Pilsener

  36. Mark Blommers says:

    you should check out BrickWorks Cider: Batch 1904 Delicious and no added sugars

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