No, conventional beer is not gluten-free. Beer is typically made from a combination of malted barley and hops. Sometimes wheat is also used in the beer making process. Since both barley and wheat contain gluten, beers made from either are not gluten-free.
There are beers currently on the market that are made without gluten. One example is Redbridge, which is made from sorghum instead of barley or wheat. Produced by Anheuser-Busch, Redbridge was the first nationally available sorghum beer and is safe for those with celiac disease and wheat allergies.
Hard ciders, alcoholic beverages made from fermented fruit juices, are often gluten-free as well. However, some ciders do use barley, so be sure to read labels carefully. Pure distilled liquors are also typically safe for those with celiac disease due to the distillation process.
When purchasing any beer or cider, be sure to read labels. If gluten-content is unclear, ask the manufacturer.
Can People with Celiac Disease Safely Drink Barley-Based “Gluten-Removed” Beers?
Since “gluten-removed” beer first hit the market, there has been confusion over whether people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity (‘gluten sensitivity’) can safely consume these beverages. Tricia Thompson, MS, RD of Gluten Free Watchdog compiled input from many experts to answer this controversial question. The current consensus is that gluten-removed beers are not yet safe for those with celiac disease.
Beyond Celiac encourages you to read the full outline from Tricia Thompson further explaining why gluten-removed beer is not yet considered safe for people with gluten-related disorders. Her breakdown of this issue also includes details on alcoholic beverage labeling and the government bodies that regulate them.
To download the PDF, visit GlutenFreeWatchdog.org.