Yes, sour beer contains gluten if it is not rice beer. But if you confuse the customer with the terms, you can make a profit. There are already more than 2 million people in the world for whom the label “contains gluten” has meaning. These people have a congenital disease called celiac disease. Their small intestines are unable to digest a certain sequence of amino acids, which is what gluten contains, providing the intestine owner with regular bloating and diarrhea.
Sour Ale is a beer with a characteristic sour taste. The flavor characteristics are achieved through partial or complete digestion by bacteria and yeast. It has several sub-styles.
Types of Sour Beer
- Berliner Weisse: A traditional German sour beer style, Berliner Weisse is light, tangy, and effervescent. It is often served with a shot of sweet syrup, such as raspberry or woodruff, to balance out its tartness.
- Gose: Originating in Germany, gose is a salty and sour wheat beer, often brewed with coriander and salt. It’s typically light-bodied and refreshing, with a slightly salty finish.
- Flanders Red Ale: A traditional Belgian sour beer, Flanders Red Ale is a malty and fruity beer, aged in oak barrels. It has a complex flavor profile, featuring notes of cherry, plum, raisin, and leather.
- Lambic: Lambic is a type of Belgian sour beer, made with wild yeasts and aged in oak barrels. It has a tart, fruity flavor that is often described as “funky.”
- American Wild Ale: American Wild Ale is a type of sour beer that is brewed with wild yeasts and aged in oak barrels. It typically has a tart, fruity flavor, with notes of citrus and stone fruit.
Are All Sour Beers Gluten-Free?
Gluten is a substance of plant origin, contained in some grains, the most common in wheat. It is not found in rice, buckwheat, and corn.
What about sour beers? It’s mostly made from barley, isn’t it? Barley has no gluten, but hordein; oats also have no gluten, but avenin; and rye has secalinin. All of these substances have in common the presence of the same amino acid sequence as in gluten, which is what confounds the intestines of celiac patients.
This is why some barley beer producers honestly write that there is no gluten in their beer. And no one asks them about hordein.
Tests for gluten are currently imperfect. They evaluate the whole molecule, not the dangerous chain of amino acids. Gluten itself may be partially destroyed, but its effects are easily retained. For patients with celiac disease, this is critical because even small amounts of gluten cause the disease to progress, reducing intestinal function. The person has to sit on a rigid diet for life, but even this does not guarantee intestinal safety.
Finding Gluten-Free Sour Beers
There is no doubt that many people are eliminating gluten from their diets. If barley and wheat seem to be a problem for you, don’t worry, we have great news. Since many brewers are making gluten-free sour, you don’t have to give up beer completely. There are plenty of great beers with rich flavors and hops that will still keep you happy.
Beer is usually made from water, hops, yeast, and grain. The first beers were brewed by spontaneous fermentation and from mixed grains. Brewing is a process that has been around for at least 6,000 years, and in that time the basic premise of brewing has not changed much. Rye and barley have been popular since the days of ancient brewing.
Many other grains such as millet and corn in African countries and persimmon in North America were also widely used in the past. Now the most common grains used in brewing are barley, wheat, and rye. Gluten is a protein found in many grains. This means that regular beer is not gluten-free. Unless otherwise stated, there is gluten in beer.
In most countries, for beer to be considered gluten-free, it must have less than 20 ppm. However, in Australia, beer must have 0 detectable particles to be considered gluten-free. This is important to keep in mind when drinking beer around the world.
Most regular beers contain more than 20 ppm, this of course depends on the beer. Healthline defines the average gluten in common styles of beer as follows:
- Lager: 63 ppm
- Stout: 361 ppm
- Ale: 3,120 ppm.
- Wheat beer: 25920 ppm
Gluten-free sour beer brewers and their beers
- Angry Orchard, Easy Apple – This gluten-free apple cider has a light and refreshing flavor, with a hint of tartness. It’s made with bittersweet apples to give it a crisp and balanced flavor. ABV: 4.2%.
- New Belgium Brewing, Glutiny Pale Ale – This pale ale is made with a blend of malts and hops to give it a delicate and nuanced flavor. It has a light body and a crisp, dry finish. ABV: 6%. IBU: 30.
- Omission Brewing Co., Omission Pale Ale – This pale ale is made with Cascade hops and malted oats to give it a smooth and creamy texture. It’s light and refreshing, with a hint of citrus and tropical fruit flavors. ABV: 5.8%. IBU: 33.
- Omission Brewing Co., Omission Lager – This lager is made with a blend of malts and hops to give it a light and crisp flavor. It has a smooth body and a subtle, clean finish. ABV: 4.6%. IBU: 20.
- Ghostfish Brewing Co., Grapefruit IPA – This IPA is made with grapefruit and hops to give it a bright and citrusy flavor. It has a medium body and a balanced bitterness. ABV: 5.5%. IBU: 85.
- Glutenberg, American Pale Ale – This pale ale is made with a blend of malts and hops to give it a light and refreshing flavor. It has a crisp finish and subtle notes of citrus and pine. ABV: 5.5%. IBU: 50.
- Omission Brewing Co., Ultimate Light Golden Ale – This light ale is made with a blend of malts and hops to give it a light and refreshing flavor. It has a crisp finish and subtle notes of citrus and spice. ABV: 4.2%. IBU: 10.
- Omission Brewing Co., IPA – This IPA is made with a blend of malts and hops to give it a bright and tropical flavor. It has a medium body and a balanced bitterness. ABV: 6.7%. IBU: 65.
While not all sour beers are gluten-free, there are still plenty of options available for those looking for a delicious and gluten-free alternative to their favorite beer styles. By checking labels, contacting brewers directly, or using specialty websites, it is possible to find a wide variety of gluten-free sour beers that will satisfy any beer lover’s palate. With a little bit of research, it is possible to enjoy sour beers without worrying about gluten.