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May 27, 2008 04:27 PM

Beer low in Gluten/Gluten light?

I'm not allergic to gluten but I'm pretty intolerant. I also love beer.

I've noticed that Heineken doesn't (seem to) make me sick. Ironically Michelob Ultra Light, a low carb beer makes me very sick.

What beers might I have luck drinking? Is Amstel basically the same as Heineken?

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  1. Redbridge (made by Anheuser - Busch) contains no wheat or barley. It's made from Sorghum, a grain that is ok for people with an intolerance to wheat or gluten. I have not tried it myself, but I noticed it on a menu the other night (my Mother is allergic, so "gluten free" always stands out to me). Bard's Tale Beer makes something called: Dragon's Gold, and bills itself as "The world's first gluten free craft beer made with sorghum!". Other gluten free beers may be harder to find because they are made in Europe and are difficult to get in the states. Good luck!

    22 Replies
    1. re: bosun

      Harder to find. That is my pint and mean point. LOW GLUTEN should be easier to find. What mainstream beers, like Heineken, seem to be low in gluten.

      1. re: Hershey Bomar

        I looked at your page and I am assuming you live in or near LA. When I did a quick search on the web I easily found places that sell RedBridge. I don't know the area, but maybe one of them is close to you.

        and as for Dragon's Gold, I found these listings:

        I also found this on Heineken's website.
        "Beer contains gluten, which comes from the grain from which it is brewed. Only a fraction of the gluten that the grain contains gets into the beer. The proportion depends on the kind of grain that is used. The use of barley results only in traces of gluten in the beer whilst wheat contributes considerably more. It also depends on the brewing process. Generally speaking: the clearer and blonder the beer is, the less gluten it may contain. Some people are allergic to gluten and have to follow a diet that minimises or excludes their gluten intake. Whether beer can be part of such a diet or not, is dependent on the extent of the allergy and the beer type consumed. In many cases lager beers pose no problem for people who have a gluten allergy. However, it is up to the individual to assess his or her sensitivity."

        1. re: bosun

          I would guess that another issue with most wheat beers is that they are unfiltered ...

        2. re: Hershey Bomar

          I have seen Redbridge and Bard's Tale available at Whole Foods. Actually I noticed that Whole Foods has a whole display specifically for gluten free beers.

          1. re: Foodnerds

            I'm not interested in Gluten Free beer!

            I want info one everyday beer that you have had that gave you no reaction -- low in gluten. The beer companies don't want to say their beers are safe for those of us who are not gluten tolerant, legal reasons perhaps, -- but what do you think?

            I'm wondering, what my question, is what beer I'll find at a party and normal bar that other gluten intolerant people have drunk and had little if no bad reaction to.

            1. re: Hershey Bomar

              I don't see how anyone could answer your question, particularly since no one knows the definition of 'gluten-intolerant', specifically as it pertains to you, and no one knows the gluten content of most beers.

              To my knowledge, Heineken is all-malt, whereas I'm pretty sure Michelob Ultra is made with a portion of rice, and hence should have less gluten. But you experience difficulties when drinking the latter, but not the former.

              It would seem to me that you need to consult a professional who can determine exactly what you have problems consuming, and what you can do about after you've made that determination.

              1. re: Jim Dorsch

                Simple answer. I'm sharing my experiences and was hoping others would share theirs.

                A professional would tell you the following, "Try it and if makes you sick well guess what? If you try it and it doesn't make you sick..."

                Maybe someone else doesn't get sick from Heineken and they have another more common beer suggestion.


                1. re: Hershey Bomar

                  Some people did take the time to share information and you seem to not want it. If you have and intolerance why not try the wheat free beers. People that have special dietary needs have to, at times, go out of their way to make sure those needs are met. Why would you want to risk getting sick at a party anyway? If I was a beer lover that had issues with wheat I'd be dying to run out and try some sorghum beers.
                  It's good you posted, now if anyone wants to GF beer in the LA area they'll know where to go.

                  1. re: bosun

                    I've tried all the GF beers available -- Good God -- I just want to know if anyone has noticed if other beers seem to be low in gluten like Heineken.

                    1. re: Hershey Bomar

                      As I said, I doubt very much that Heineken has a low gluten content. Hence, your question has no answer.

                      1. re: Jim Dorsch


                        It is common among gluten intolerant folks to think that H is low in gluten.

                        From somewhere on the internet:
                        The WHO guideline for gluten-free food is that it must contain less than 0.02% gluten (200mg/l). Heineken's gluten levels are way below this level, at 0.0005% gluten. We recommend that celiac patients check with their doctor before trying Heineken.

                      2. re: Hershey Bomar

                        I'm late to this conversation, but I get what you mean here, HB. To answer you, I find little upset with Red Dog by Plank Road. I'm 'intolerant' and Red Dog seems okay. Had some Hollander 1620 last Sunday: no problems. Good luck,,

                        1. re: wood3

                          I responded to the OP a while back with the attached article/list - pretty much found it for an acquaintance who is gluten-intolerant and a beer lover. I've lost touch with her but at the time was having luck with finding a few on the list. Whole Foods and Beverage Warehouse (in L.A.) were her sources. I drop by one of our local WF on a regular basis because of their huge beer selection, and they do carry a few on this list as well.

                        2. re: Hershey Bomar

                          HI! Same as you I react terribly to Mic Ultra.
                          Bud 55 is the easiest on me and my favorite. I have read that there is virtually no gluten left in bud products after their brewing process.
                          I would try some version of bud light!

                          1. re: janesource

                            Probably because they substitute corn and rice for barley. That's common in the light American styles.

                  2. re: Hershey Bomar

                    There are quite a few posts above with results or advice on low gluten beers. BUT no one really knows unless they are tested - maybe get some tests yourself and test the beers you would like to know about?
                    Also MOST ciders are brewed with fruit no wheat so they are naturally gluten free and most of them say that on the label. Just gotta do your research.

                    My fave is omission pale ale and new planet pale ale! I have a weird situation where I'm not either allergic or gluten intolerant but the more gluten I have the more likely I am to develop celiacs. I have the genetic marker to develop it, but don't have it now, and hopefully never will. Has anyone ever heard of that?

                    1. re: Kloftis

                      Yes Kloftis.....I have heard of your situation not being GI or CD but the more gluten you have the higher chance of developing CD. Sounds like your doctor tested you for the DQ 8 and DQ2 genes....if you posses both you will almost certainly develop CD. I tested positive on DQ8 which gives me a 1 in 80 chance of developing CD. ....however I also texted with a level 2 intolerance to gluten per Genova Diagnostics IgG test ....I had a lot of stomach issues and thought it was my milk allergy acting up! However. My hubs has the DQ2 gene which gives him a 1 in 34 chance of Dev.oping CD....though head no reaction on the IgG food allergy test for gluten!! Since going GF I've had no stomach problems and I enjoy Omossion beer and now I'm trying Corona given previous posts. My husband has really cutback in his gluten consumption but that is probably because I don't buy things with gluten. We are now testing all 3 kids as one of them may have inherited both DQ8 and DQ2 genes. Read Wheat Belly and Grain Brain and everyone will want to give up or reduce gluten

                    2. re: Hershey Bomar

                      Hershey have you looked at corona extra, model, holsten pills. All below 20 ppm

                      1. re: Hershey Bomar

                        Coors light, Corona Extra have less than 10ppm gluten. Bud light and Stella Atrois have 20+ppm. 20ppm is the general guideline to low gluten and safest for gluten intolerance.

                    3. re: Hershey Bomar

                      My wife cannot tolerate gluten any longer. Went on a gluten free diet 9 months ago and now her body whole heartedly rejects it. She too is a beer lover and hates paying the premium $ for gluten free labels (plus they have higher calories). She wants something mainstream readily available wherever she goes and she found COORS LIGHT to be perfect for her. She's had a few occasions having several of them in a sitting with no ill effects (besides a small hangover). Also Corona was good for her. Bud Light was not, neither was Mill Chill. We are in Canada. Hope this helps readers.

                      1. re: Ktownjimmy

                        I am also from Canada and a great beer lover. I also go to Florida for he summer so I have tried many beers. I have always had loose stools but, never thought it was my beer. I have began drinking Labatt's Blue Light and can not believe how it has changed my bowel movements for the good. Sorry for being so forward but, I hope it helps.

                    4. re: bosun

                      I have an intolerance to Gluten and I have tried "Redbridge" and I really like it. I just wish more places carried it, I will also give "Dragon's Gold" a try!

                    5. This probably isn't what you specifically want, but here's an article I found about a year ago for an acquaintance of mine who recently developed an intolerance to gluten but loved beer as well. She was very satisfied with the beers that she could find and seriously appreciative of this article - kept her in the beer loop...


                      17 Replies
                        1. re: Hershey Bomar

                          If you are gluten-intolerant or allergic to wheat there are no SAFE alternatives. Aside from New Grist, Redbridge, Dragon's Gold, Ramapo Valley Honey Lager, and hard ciders, all mainstream beers contain wheat, barley, or rye. I used to love micro brews so finding out that I was gluten intolerant was a big shock. In the past I have drank Heineken without any problems along with Amstel Light although they are not technically gluten free as they do contain some malted barley. All other mainstream or micro brews made me ill.

                          1. re: Sterndogg

                            Finally! So for some reason Heineken seems OK for some gluten sensitive people to drink. Which means when you can't find a Whole Foods you can still drink a beer.

                            1. re: Hershey Bomar

                              Ha well I wouldn't advise pounding a 12-pack in one sitting but when I can't find GF brew or ciders and don't feel like wine or hard booze, I will drink a Heineken or an Amstel Light in moderation.

                              1. re: Sterndogg

                                How sure are you that hard cider is GF? There's no wheat used in the fermentation process?

                                1. re: Hershey Bomar

                                  You're close to describing the Belgian lambics, which are basically a combination of beer and fruit - you should stay away from these. But as far as I know, hard ciders are just that - ciders. Aside from some yeast and (some add) seasonings, you're getting straight fermented juice.

                                    1. re: bulavinaka

                                      Jim's right, lambics are not fruit beers, what makes a lambic is wild yeast in a very specific region of Belgium. When fruit is added to a lambic you end up with a kriek(cherries), framboise(raspberry), etc. I would guess a gluten intolerant person would need to stay away from lambics and anything made from a lambic.

                                      1. re: Foodnerds

                                        Sorry about that, Jim and Foodnerds - the only lambics I've tried are the kriek, framboise and peche. I didn't realize it was only one subset of this whole category. Still, I stand firm on this not being what the OP should consider. Barley and wheat are the standard grains used, right?

                                        1. re: Hershey Bomar

                                          Yeast, as in Fungi.

                                          "Yeasts are a growth form of eukaryotic microorganisms classified in the kingdom Fungi, with about 1,500 species described;[1] they dominate fungal diversity in the oceans.[2] Most reproduce asexually by budding, although a few do by binary fission. Yeasts are unicellular, although some species with yeast forms may become multicellular through the formation of a string of connected budding cells known as pseudohyphae, or false hyphae as seen in most molds.[3] Yeast size can vary greatly depending on the species, typically measuring 3–4 µm in diameter, although some yeasts can reach over 40 µm.[4]
                                          The yeast species Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been used in baking and fermenting alcoholic beverages for thousands of years. It is also extremely important as a model organism in modern cell biology research, and is the most "
                                          Thank you, wikipedia.

                                      2. re: Hershey Bomar

                                        The only cider that isn't gluten-free is Hornby's. All other ciders are gluten free including Strongbow, Ciderjack, Harpoon, Woodchuck, Magner's, Woodpecker...yeast is used for the fermentation process. No wheat, barley, rye or oats.

                                    2. re: Hershey Bomar

                                      I'm gluten intolerant but Heineken, Newcastle are real no-gos for me......I found that the darker malt beers like Bocks and Porters doesn't affect me as much. Too bad because those two were my favorites.

                                      1. re: TInhorn

                                        The choices in gluten-free beers do seem to be expanding. Here's a story that just came out from the Brewers Assn, too.


                                  1. re: Hershey Bomar

                                    Coors light and corona the best options in my experience. I'm also gluten intolerant. Before having to make the change I really didn't like either if these beers but it's better than no beer

                                    1. re: DannyGliver

                                      I agree! I get sick (bloated, belly aches) from most beers, except these. Corona seems to be most agreeable for me..

                                2. According to info on the Heineken website, beers with barley instead of wheat seem to be BETTER tolerated. German "beers" by German law only contain 4 ingredients: water, hops, yeast, and barley. If you go by this way of thinking any German "beer" i.e. Becks, St. Pauli Girl, Paulaner, Spaten, etc. should be better than beer containing wheat. Some German beer companies make brews called hefeiweizen (sp?) which contain wheat so steer clear of those. They are clearly labeled hefeiweizen. I had some problems after drinking Amstel Light but that could be attributed to small amounts of wheat I had that day. Here is the link for Heineken's FAQ page:

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