Last updated: August 7, 2021

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Welcome to our big gluten-free beer test 2021. Here we present all the gluten-free beers we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best gluten-free beer for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy gluten-free beer.




The most important facts

  • Thanks to gluten-free beer, people who suffer from gluten intolerance or coeliac disease no longer have to do without the pleasure of beer.
  • In terms of production, a distinction can be made between two types of gluten-free beer: Beer made with gluten-containing grains or gluten-free beer made from gluten-free grains.
  • In terms of taste, gluten-free beer often hardly differs from normal beer. However, depending on the variety, the taste can vary - just as with conventional beer varieties.

The best gluten-free beer: Our picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying gluten-free beer

What is gluten-free beer?

Gluten-free beer is beer that does not contain the protein mixture gluten, or only contains it in very small quantities.

Beers and gluten-free foods that contain less than 0.2 mg of gluten per 100 ml or per 100 g of food may be called gluten-free. In this case, they are suitable for a gluten-free diet.

Beer is one of the most popular drinks worldwide. People with gluten intolerance cannot digest the protein gluten and for this reason cannot drink conventional beer. (Image source: unsplash.com / rawpixel)

Small residual traces of gluten can therefore also be present in gluten-free beer. You can only get a 100% gluten-free beer if you use completely gluten-free ingredients in the production process.

Beers or foods may only be called "gluten-free" if they contain no more than 0.2 mg of gluten per 100 ml or per 100 g of food.

You can recognise gluten-free foods by a seal. These are usually marked with a crossed-out ear of corn or with the words "gluten-free". The seal was developed by the German Coeliac Society.

Only beers that contain the limit values for gluten are allowed to carry this seal. Regular controls in laboratories ensure that gluten-free beers meet the specifications.

Did you know that about 10 years ago, gluten-free beer was still unthinkable?

Gluten-free beer has not been around for all that long. More than 10 years ago, such a beer was still unthinkable.

The disease coeliac disease could not be defined precisely at that time. And therefore there was simply no market for a gluten-free beer.

Demand has only increased in recent years.

Who is gluten-free beer suitable for?

Gluten-free beers are suitable for people who have a gluten intolerance.

People who have such an intolerance cannot digest protein and are hypersensitive to the components of gluten. They are therefore very restricted in their diet, as foods containing gluten have to be avoided.

https://www.foodlux.de/glutenfreie-lebensmittel/

Conventional beer is made with cereals containing gluten, such as barley, wheat, spelt and rye. People with a gluten intolerance can therefore not drink "normal" beer.

If the gluten intolerance is very severe, it leads to a disease called coeliac disease. In this case, people react very sensitively to even the smallest amounts of gluten.

https://www.medmeister.de/zoeliakie/

People with coeliac disease should therefore eat a gluten-free diet and not consume any drinks or foods that contain traces of gluten.

If these people nevertheless consume good things, this can lead to abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, depression or inflammation in the intestines.

People with severe coeliac disease are therefore also advised to be careful about eating even small amounts of gluten. The only therapy for this disease is to avoid foods containing gluten.

In the following video you will find some important information about gluten intolerance and coeliac disease:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCTIhveD3q8

What are the ingredients of gluten-free beer?

Gluten is also known as gluten protein and is found in many common grains. It is formed as soon as grain comes into contact with water - and thus also during the production of conventional beer.

The protein mixture is responsible for the typical sticky consistency of the dough when baking, for example.

The basis of beer production is the processing of grain. Grain containing gluten or gluten-free grain can be used for the production.

Here you can find an overview of the different types of grain:

Grains without gluten

  • Corn
  • Rice
  • Millet

Cereals with gluten

  • Wheat
  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Spelt
  • Oats
  • Green spelt

"Pseudo cereals" without gluten

  • Buckwheat
  • Quinoa
  • Amaranth

In addition to grain, gluten-free beer also contains water, gluten-free hops and gluten-free barley malt

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To make gluten-free beer taste as close as possible to conventional beer, manufacturers often use flavourings such as sugar or honey in the brewing process.

Depending on the type of beer and the manufacturer, the beer may also contain allergenic ingredients, such as sulphites. These are often used as preservatives.

How is gluten-free beer produced?

Industrially produced gluten-free beer is made using modern brewing methods. Either gluten-free grains or conventional grains are used for the brewing process of gluten-free beer.

If conventional types of grain - such as barley, wheat or rye - are used, the beer is produced according to the traditional brewing process in accordance with the German Purity Law.

Technological processes are used to break down the gluten from the barley during the brewing process. This is done by adding enzymes.

If conventional types of grain are used, the beer may still contain traces of gluten even after enzymatic degradation of the gluten.

If gluten-free grains such as rice, buckwheat or millet are used in the brewing process, 100% gluten-free beer can be brewed.

The malt is not obtained from barley as usual, but from the above-mentioned varieties. Malt mixtures from different varieties can also be brewed.

Hops are also used in this case for the production. However, as hops do not contain gluten, they can be used without hesitation in the production process.

When adding yeast, however, it is important to make sure that gluten-free yeast is used, as there is also yeast containing gluten.

The types of grain used to make conventional beer all contain gluten. If 100% gluten-free beer is to be produced, gluten-free grains must be used as the basic ingredient. (Image source: unsplash.com / Johannes Plenio)

As a general rule, gluten-free ingredients must be strictly separated from gluten-containing ingredients as early as the supply chain. The same applies to processing in the brewing facilities as well as to storage.

The third possibility for production is based on innovations in grain breeding: there are already bred types of grain that are gluten-free and are used to produce gluten-free beer.

These have been bred through numerous crossings so that the grain hardly contains any gluten. However, this is not yet too common.

Type of grain used Brewing process Gluten content
Cereals containing gluten Gluten is broken down by enzymes Contains traces of gluten
Cereals free of gluten Normal brewing process - breakdown of gluten not required 100% gluten-free
Cereals bred Normal brewing process - breakdown of gluten not required Contains small traces of gluten

How much does gluten-free beer cost?

A bottle of gluten-free beer costs between 1 and 3 euros. Gluten-free beer is mainly available in glass bottles but also in 330 or 500 ml cans.

Beer packages" are often offered, which consist of several bottles or cans.

The greater effort and the high technical requirements in the production are the reason for the somewhat higher prices than for conventional beers. The price always depends on the manufacturer and the variety.

Some producers also offer "beer subscriptions". Here, customers can subscribe to their favourite beer. The beer is then sent to them every 1, 2 or 3 months. In such cases, you can often benefit from lower subscription prices.

If it is ordered online, it usually makes more sense to order larger quantities, as this often eliminates shipping costs for delivery.

Where can gluten-free beer be bought?

Gluten-free beer is available in retail stores as well as online. You can find gluten-free beer in health food shops, organic food shops and also in larger supermarket chains. However, larger chains such as Edeka or Kaufland usually offer a smaller selection.

It can be ordered directly from the online shops of numerous manufacturers. You can also find gluten-free beers on websites like Amazon.de.

You can find not only German beers online, but also imported, international beers. Generally, the selection is somewhat larger if you order directly from a manufacturer.

Decision: What types of gluten-free beer are there and which is right for you?

Based on the brewing process, gluten-free beer can be divided into two types: Beer made from gluten-free grains and beer made from conventional grains where the gluten is removed afterwards.

What distinguishes gluten-free beers made with gluten-free grains?

A beer that is completely gluten-free must be made with cereals without gluten. The gluten-free cereals corn, rice, soy, millet, quinoa or buckwheat are used here for the production of the beer.

The taste of these types of beer is often somewhat unusual and not very beer-like. However, since the production is just as cheap as that of conventional beer, these types of beer are also offered at normal beer prices.

People with gluten intolerance can drink these types of beer without hesitation and therefore do not have to miss out on the pleasure of a good beer.

Advantages
  • 100% gluten-free
  • Inexpensive production
  • Normal price
Disadvantages
  • Taste not always beer-like

What distinguishes gluten-free beers that are made with conventional grains?

This beer is brewed according to the German Purity Law and uses cereals containing gluten for its production. These include, for example, wheat, barley, oats and rye.

The beer is considered gluten-free because it complies with the gluten limits. Nevertheless, it may contain small traces of gluten.

In terms of taste, this beer is very similar to conventional beer. Since the process of subsequently filtering out the gluten is very time-consuming and cost-intensive, these gluten-free beers are often also somewhat more expensive.

Advantages
  • Taste resembles normal beer
Disadvantages
  • Cost-intensive production
  • higher prices

Buying criteria: These are the factors you can use to compare and rate gluten-free beers

In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate gluten-free beers. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a particular gluten-free beer is suitable for you or not.

In summary, these are:

  • Beer type
  • Flavour
  • Alcohol content
  • Country of origin

Beer type

The number of gluten-free beer varieties is growing steadily. For example, Pilsner, wheat, wheat beer, Indian Pale Ale (IPA) or dark beer can be found in the range of many breweries. In addition, alcohol-free beers and beers with organic quality are also offered.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BknqW1ZnffL/

Common gluten-free beer types in Germany are Pils, Helles or Weissbier. However, there are also more exotic types of beer, such as typical English Ales or Belgian Dubble or Tripple beers, in gluten-free form. Most gluten-free beers come in bottled form. However, there are also beers in can form.

Taste

In terms of taste, the individual gluten-free beers differ just as much as gluten-containing beers. Gluten-free beers, which are produced industrially, are based on the common types of beer. For the most part, an attempt is therefore made to retain the taste and aroma of conventional beer.

In terms of taste, gluten-free beers can also taste rather sweet or rather bitter. There are also gluten-free beers that have a fruity or citrus-like or even herbal taste.

Alcohol content

As with conventional beers, gluten-free beers also come in different strengths.

Type of gluten-free beer alcohol content
Alcohol-free gluten-free beer up to 0.5 %
Gluten-free beer with alcohol about 5 %

The average alcohol content for most lagers and ales is around 5%. However, there are exceptions in both directions. Even alcohol-free beers often contain up to 0.5% alcohol.

Country of origin

The German market for gluten-free beers is still rather small compared to other countries. Online shops also offer international gluten-free beers.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bs7igxyhAMy/

Traditional gluten-free beer and beer-like beverages are widespread in various regions of the world. Examples are the Japanese rice wine "sake", which is made from rice, or the South American beer "chicha" made from corn.

Did you know that there is an international gluten-free beer festival?

It was held for the first time in February 2006 in Chesterfield, in the United Kingdom. There are now several festivals and events that also feature gluten-free beer.

Trivia: Interesting facts about gluten-free beer

How should gluten-free beer be stored?

Gluten-free beer, like conventional beer, should be stored in a cool, dry, dark place and standing up. The shelf life of the beer depends on the type of beer.

In principle, however, you can store gluten-free beer at home for longer without any problems.

Basically, the following applies to the shelf life of beer: the more hops a beer contains, the longer it can be stored. However, the hops also control the taste: more hops means that the beer takes on a bitter note.

Will gluten-free beer be offered at the Oktoberfest in Munich?

There is currently no gluten-free beer on offer at the Oktoberfest in Munich.

There are currently no gluten-free beers on offer at the Oktoberfest in Munich. However, "gluten-free Oktoberfests" are already being held around Munich. (Image source: pixabay.com / motointermedia)

However, there are "gluten-free Oktoberfests" in the Munich area, where gluten-free beer is of course offered - even on tap.

Image source: unsplash.com / Paloma A.

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