Making gluten-free beer that tastes good is anything but straightforward. Beer is typically brewed barley, and boiled into what amounts to gluten soup. 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 wasn't quite right for the vast majority of these brews.
RELATED: The 101 Best Beers in America
"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. Some use new ingredients, like dark-roasted millet and chestnuts, while others are "gluten-reduced" beers that follow traditional brewing techniques and then add an enzyme to break down the gluten.
Brewer: Brasserie De Brunehaut
Style: Belgian Pale Ale
From a 124-year-old brewery, this traditional Belgian Blonde Ale is brewed with all-organic ingredients and is what you'd expect from the style; it's crisp, bright, and worrisomely easy to drink. This Belgian import first won the 2011 Gluten-Free gold award at the Beer International Recognition Awards. How they do it, the brewery won't say.
Credit: Photograph by Michael Pirrocco