Making gluten-free beer that tastes is anything but straightforward. Beer is typically brewed with barley, wheat, and rye, boiled into what amounts to gluten soup – and gives your six-pack its signature flavor. When established American breweries have tried their hands at gluten-free brewing, they’ve replaced these ingredients – the backbone of the beer – with sorghum (a grass), rice, or raw sugar. The resulting flavor isn’t quite right.
“They don’t taste like the beers that most people know,” says Charles Bamforth, a professor of Brewing Science at the University of California, Davis. “People are pining for products that have a more mainstream flavor.” These beers, however, have cracked the code, mostly by following traditional brewing techniques and then adding an enzyme to break down the gluten – but not the flavor.