Is There a Gluten Free Beer That Tastes Like Normal Beer?

Is There a Gluten Free Beer That Tastes Like Normal Beer?

A question we are often asked at The Gluten Free Beer Shop is ‘do you have a gluten free beer that tastes like normal or real beer?’. It’s an interesting question, with no clear yes/no answer as it’s a question of taste. Having said that, and although some gluten free brewers will tell you their beer tastes just like regular beer, we think this is nigh on impossible for several reasons which we discuss below.

The four main ingredients of any beer, including gluten free beers, are malt, hops, yeast and water. The core difference between gluten free and regular beers is the malt. Most regular beers are made from malts derived from barley or wheat and these provide a large part of the flavour profile of any beer. Gluten free beers are made from malts derived from rice, sorghum, millet or other gluten free grains. The flavour profile of these malts are quite different and this, of course, influences the flavour of the beer. It’s not to say the flavour of gluten free malts are better or worse, but simply they are different. Different malts means a different tasting beer. Some people like these differences, while others reject them because it’s not the flavour they recognise and love.

Something else to consider is the flavour profile of other ingredients used in the brewing process such as hops and yeast. While these are gluten free, larger brewers will tend to use commercially available hops and yeast of a single variety to achieve a consistent flavour over time. Smaller craft brewers will experiment with more boutique hops and yeast and this will also influence flavour. Whether it improves the flavour or not is up to the drinker. Certainly the craft brewer hopes so. 

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