The Ultimate Guide to Gluten-Free Breweries

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Love beer, but can’t have gluten? Rest easy because we’ve got a listing of all the gluten-free breweries in the U.S. You’ll also find a few facts and figures to help you understand the nuances of gluten-free vs gluten reduced and why any of it matters in the first place.

What does gluten have to do with beer?

Let’s keep it simple. The four main ingredients in beer are water, hops, yeast, and grains. And the majority of the grains used in beer is malted barley (malts).

Barley, along with other grains such as wheat and rye, contain a protein called gluten. For most people, gluten is not a problem. However, if you have been diagnosed with celiac disease or have gluten sensitivity, then this lovely little protein can cause serious health issues.

Why Gluten-Free Breweries?

According to the University of Nebraska, an estimated 1 in 20 Americans avoid gluten due to either gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. Another 4 in 20 follow a self-enforced gluten-free diet for their own personal reasons. One percent of Americans have been diagnosed with the genetic autoimmune disease called celiac disease. And Beyond Celiac sees this number significantly increasing in the future.

Beer lover or not, it’s important to know that there are currently no pharmaceutical treatments or cures for celiac disease and the only existing treatment is a 100% gluten-free diet. And that is precisely why – for beer lovers, at least – gluten-free breweries are not only nice to have, they are imperative to have.

One of the downsides of going gluten-free, celiac or not, is missing out on readily available goodies such as doughnuts, cookies, pizzas, cakes, breads, and pastas, true. But beer lovers know that the true culprit here is missing out on beer.

But do you actually have to skip the beer? Absolutely not. Gluten-free beers are on the rise and for people with celiac disease or those who practice a gluten-free diet, there are plenty of options to choose from with new ones brewing!

flight of gluten free beers Holidaily Brewing Colorado
A flight of gluten-free beers at Holidaily Brewing in Golden, CO

What’s the difference between gluten-free, gluten removed, and gluten reduced beers?

We get it. Trying to decipher all of the terminology behind gluten-free beers and breweries can be difficult. But it all simply boils down to one thing – is there gluten or not?

Gluten-Free Beers

Gluten-free beers are brewed using ingredients that have no gluten in them at all. Instead of barley, wheat, or rye as the grain, gluten-free breweries will use rice, sorghum, or cane sugar, for example, in place of the gluten ingredients.

Gluten Reduced Beers

Gluten reduced beers are brewed with ingredients that have gluten. An enzyme is then added during the brewing process to reduce the amount of gluten. This means exactly what it says: there is still gluten in the beer; it just has less.

Gluten Removed Beers

Although this term of gluten removed beers sounds like there is no gluten in the beer at all, there is. In fact, the beer is still brewed using barley, wheat, or rye. And just like gluten reduced beers, an enzyme is added to the beer, reducing the gluten. The big difference with the two terms of gluten removed and gluten reduced might just be the locations of where these beers are brewed and sold.

For example, beers such as as these in Europe can be sold as gluten removed as long as they contain less than 20 ppm of gluten.

In the U.S., however, gluten-removed beers are still looked upon as gluten-reduced beers, not gluten-free beers. In order to be fully gluten-removed, the beer needs to not have gluten as an ingredient in any part of the brewing process.

As quoted from an article in Craft Brewing Business, “The TTB requires gluten-free beers to be made with 100% gluten-free source ingredients. The FDA will not allow brewers to label gluten-removed beers as gluten-free.”

So, that leads us to the main question. Are there breweries that are solely dedicated to gluten-free beer? Is it really possible to get beer that is more than just gluten-reduced?

What does it mean to be a dedicated gluten-free brewery?

Yes and yes! While it is true that the majority of the 9,000 plus breweries in the U.S. do not focus on gluten-free beers, there are a few that do. And those that do from start to finish, with no gluten products ever coming into contact with the finished product, are considered dedicated gluten-free breweries.

gluten free grains Holidaily Brewing Colorado
Gluten-free grains may look different than barley, but they still provide quality malts.

There is no chance of cross contamination. So much so, that under no circumstances will a cookie made with all-purpose flour ever make its way inside. That goes for other gluten ladened products and equipment, cookies or not! You won’t find them in dedicated gluten-free breweries.

Gluten-Free Certification

Going above and beyond, breweries can apply to have their gluten-free beers certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO). While GFCO does not certify companies, they do do certify products.

Certified Gluten Free Logo from GFCO

To be certified as a gluten-free product, according to a GFCO rep, each product has to contain less than 10 ppm of gluten. But that’s not all. There is annual onsite testing at the brewery itself, along with quarterly product testing to ensure the integrity of each GFCO certified product. To learn more, head on over to GFCO and their product finder. (To learn about breweries going above and beyond with sustainability, check out our listing of B Corp Certified Breweries.)

Dedicated Gluten-Free Breweries

While there are many gluten-free and gluten-reduced beers on the market, there are only a handful of dedicated gluten-free breweries, where every beer is gluten-free and brewed with gluten-free ingredients and equipment from start to finish. That handful is listed for you below.

Alt Brew – Madison, WI

Alt Brew claims one simple mission and that is to brew good gluten-free beer. With a wide variety of beers and a fully gluten-free taproom, anyone who steers clear of the wheat beer has a great place here.

Brewery Nyx – Grand Rapids, MI

Brewery Nyx is Michigan’s first gluten-free brewery with a distinct goal to bring gluten-free beer lovers back to a seat at the bar. Inspired by beer scenes in the Pacific Northwest and Michigan, Brewery Nyx’s founder wanted to ensure that everyone could enjoy community around a good beer.

Aurochs Brewing Co. – Emsworth, PA

As one of the first gluten-free breweries on the east coast, Auroch pushes the boundaries of gluten-free beers. Using gluten-free ancient grains they even offer difficult-to-brew gluten-free beers such as dark ales and hefeweizens a slot on their tap list.

Lucky Pigeon Brewing Co. – Biddeford, ME

Lucky Pigeon is the second gluten-free brewery in New England. Not just that, Lucky Pigeon is the first dedicated gluten-free brewery in the northeast to give beer drinkers a full taproom of gluten-free beers.

Red Leaf Gluten-Free Brewing – Jeffersonville, VT

Red Leaf is New England’s first dedicated gluten-free brewery. Their beers are often brewed with Vermont staples like fresh berries and of course, maple syrup, giving them that true New England vibe.

Burning Brothers Brewing – St Paul, MN

As one of the few gluten-free breweries of the midwest, Burning Brothers makes a point to have their beer readily available from Nevada to Wisconsin, so that everyone has a brew to sip with their friends!

Buck Wild Brewing – Oakland, CA

As California’s self proclaimed “original gluten-free brewery”, Buck Wild boasts four year-round canned beers. They also share their commitment to accessible beer with a deep passion for the environment.

Divine Science Brewing – Tustin, CA

Divine Science has been in the business of brewing beer for years and is now excited to be a part of the dedicated gluten-free brewing family. They also focus on small-batch recipes, giving gluten-free drinkers both quality and creativity all while honoring the gluten-free beer drinker.

Eckert Malting & Brewing – Chico, CA

Eckert supplies gluten-free malts to gluten-free breweries all across the U.S. Given their hands are in so many gluten-free beers, they are a must-visit gluten-free brewery.

Bierly Brewing – McMinnville, OR

Bierly started as a necessity for Founder JP and his gluten-free wife and was initially only shared for fun with friends and family. After growing popularity amongst them, they pushed JP to make what is today, Bierly Brewing!

Evasion Brewing – McMinnville, OR

In the mecca of beer that is Oregon, breweries might need to do a little extra to step it up. Evasion has done just that, focusing on gluten-free beer that is exciting and innovative.

Ground Breaker Brewing – Portland, OR

Groundbreaker Brewing was the first dedicated gluten-free brewery in the U.S. Their lineup of beers cover the full spectrum of light to dark, making sure anyone who is gluten-free or those tagging along are getting the full brewery experience regardless of dietary restrictions. To top it off they have a full gluten-free brew pub with an entire menu of delicious gluten-free food. 

Moonshrimp Brewing – Portland, OR

Moonshrimp pedals their beers all across the northwest without a taproom, making sure northwesterners always have access to good beer right inside their fridge! They are also working to become a carbon neutral business.

Mutantis Cult Brewery & Bottle Shop – Portland, OR

Not only is this a gluten-free brewery, but it is also a gluten-free bottle shop. With such a large number of gluten free beers in the northwest, Mutantis focuses on its bottle shop carrying every gluten-free beer in the northwest they can get their hands on. And in true Portland fashion, when they do brew their own beers, they brew it with flair and astounding creativity.

Ghostfish Brewing Company – Seattle, WA

Ghostfish is an all around solid gluten-free brewery paying tribute to classic styles while also honoring the creativity that is the art of brewing. Their brewpub in Seattle has a full gluten-free menu and strives to accommodate other dietary restrictions as much as possible.

Holidaily Brewing Company – Golden, CO

Holidaily offers some of the best gluten-free beers available while making a push to widen those options elsewhere. They even started a competition in alignment with the Great American Beer Festival in an effort to reward gluten free home-brewers. Not only are their beers gluten-free, but every beer they distribute is also vegan.

NEFF Brewing – Tulsa, OK

NEFF is the end all be all of a gluten-free experience in Oklahoma, including a dedicated gluten-free kitchen. Their taproom has a full gluten-free menu and has new creative brews popping up every couple of weeks!

Gluten-Free Breweries Foster Community for All

Depending where you are and who you surround yourself with, the term gluten-free can have a strange stigma surrounding it, but the fact of the matter is that many people need gluten-free options. And if this makes beer more inclusive, we support it!

We are all about using beer to foster community and interpersonal connections. And ensuring that beer lovers have the options and information needed helps to continue that community we value so much.

Now that you know where to find gluten-free beer, grab your friends and family, gluten-free beer in hand, and gather ’round the bar.

Group photo collab brew day gluten free breweries Holidaily Colorado
Collab Brew Day at Holidaily Brewing Company – Golden, CO

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10 days ago

I appreciate you sharing this blog post. Thanks Again. Cool.