Whether you’re a Paleo diet devotee, a celiac disease sufferer or just up for trying something different, gluten-free beer can be a great alternative to wheat, barley, and rye-based suds—if you approach the lighter brews with the right mindset. Don’t expect a heavy malt base, but rather a crisp, cider-like beer chockfull of flavors like orange peel, green apple, and buckwheat honey. And keep in mind that tasting one gluten-free brew doesn’t mean you’ve tried them all—like their fuller bodied craft beer counterparts, they’ve all got something different going on.
Ready to give gluten-free beer a go? We tapped experts John Holl, author of the forthcoming American Craft Beer Cookbook, and Julia Herz, Craft Beer Program Director at the Brewers Association, for the best-tasting, widely distributed brews—and then did some highly unscientific taste-testing of our own. Can’t get your hands on a gluten-free beer in your area? Ask at a local craft brewery. Turns out, many g-free beers are born out of repeat patron requests.