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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Gluten Free Beer

Gluten Free Beer in the BC Lower Mainland, Winnipeg, and Madison, WI
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, most beer is a no-no for gluten intolerants and people suffering from celiac.  This is because beer is typically brewed from malt, barley and wheat.  Now I have to confess that I was never a huge beer fan before I discovered I couldn’t drink it anymore, but now that I can’t, I miss having the option to drink it!  So I’ve begun to explore gluten free beers.  So far I’ve sought out beer in 3 different provinces / states.  BC, Manitoba, and Wisconsin.  

In and around Vancouver, BC, I’ve been unable to find a bar that carries gluten free beer.  In Winnipeg I didn’t get much chance to search, but apparently they do have a brewery that makes it and sells to various pubs.  I’ve had much better luck in Madison, Wisconsin, where beer is abundant everywhere ;)  Liquor stores in the Lower Mainland and in Madison do carry gf beer though!  Here’s my review.  

Gluten Free Beer in BC:  if you look around a bit, you can find Bards (made in Minnesota), La Messagere, (made in Canada in Quebec! Yay Canada) and Greens (made in the UK).  I have yet to try the Greens, but so far I like the Bards better - it tastes like a good dark ale, like a real beer.  La Messagere is a bit too light for me, although I like the idea of supporting a Canadian brewery that brews gluten free beer. 

Gluten Free Beer in Winnipeg: apparently the Fort Garry brewing company has created a beer called Nubru but it's not listed on their website and I searched only a little bit (unsuccessfully) when I was in Winnipeg recently in December.  According to the article posted with the link here, they intended to distribute more widely around Canada.  If anyone knows more about it pls let me know!

Gluten Free Beer in Madison, Wisconsin: different bars have different options, but many seem to have at least one option.  For example, State Street Brats offers Bards sorghum beer.  The Old Fashioned has one gluten free beer – New Grist by Lakefront Brewery which is local, brewed in Milwaukee, WI.  It’s not a bad beer, it’s a lighter sorghum lager that tastes pretty close to regular light beer.   The Cooper’s Tavern has several gluten free options, and my favorite gf beer so far, Estrella Daura, which is a nice dark lager from Barcelona, Spain.  This beer is the most beer-like of all the gf beers I’ve tried, and is comparable to a hearty ale.  It has some depth to it.  Cooper’s also carries Bard’s and New Grist.  Yay Madison for being so progressive!!  

If you’ve had any experiences with gf beer I’d love to hear them!  Particularly if anyone’s tried brewing their own. 


  1. Hey Danielle - the "Bitter" tasting room in Gastown actually has two gluten-free beers on its extensive menu - Lakefront New Grist and Bard's Tale Dragon's Gold. I haven't tried either, but perhaps next time you're in town we should have a gf expedition to try them out. :) Morag

  2. Thanks for posting Morag! Yes, I'd love to go check it out when I'm back later this spring :)

  3. Hi Danielle! Of course I find the beer post...I am from Madison after all. Great post and good to know about gluten free beers. I look forward to meeting you this weekend at Writer's Institute. :)

    1. Hi Kimberly, thanks for stopping in and I'm absolutely looking forward to your talk and meeting you this weekend at the Madison Writer's Institute. You've also just reminded me that I need to update this, as I recently tried the GF Dubbel Dark Ale at The Cooper's Tavern... ;)


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