Gluten-Free? Drink Rice Beer

You may not know it, but you've probably had a rice beer before.

Rice beer in a glass

Mykola Romanovskyy / Getty Images

You may be surprised to learn that you’ve likely tasted a rice beer before. Many popular Japanese beers like Sapporo, Kirin, and Asahi are rice-based, and even Budweiser uses rice along with barley in its brewing process. However, those brews alone shouldn’t inform your opinion of rice beers, which can be creamy, refreshing, and pleasantly sweet. It’s important to note that some, but not all, rice beers are gluten-free, so if you have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, it’s essential to check beer labels before imbibing. To help you navigate the allergen-specific category, we’ve compiled our recommendations for rice beers that are completely gluten-free and where to find them.

Lakefront Brewery New Grist Pilsner

Brewed from rice and sorghum in Milwaukee, this lightly fruity beer is smooth and easy to drink. According to the Lakefront Brewery website, “each batch gets tested for gluten content before bottling and shipping,” so you can feel confident that your beer is consistently gluten-free. Find it at most beer retailers in the midwest and eastern United States.

Whistler Brewing Company Forager Lager

This Canadian lager is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a gluten-free rice beer that is a little more hop-forward. Made with sorghum and rice, Whistler Brewing Company's flavorful beer is gluten-free and available in British Columbia.

Sool's Màkku Original

Màkku Original is a modern take on the traditional Korean beverage Makgeolli ⁠— a lightly sparkling rice wine ⁠— from Carol Pak's Korean alcohol company Sool. This unfiltered rice beer made with only Korean short-grain rice is silky and creamy, balancing sweet and tart notes of tangy ripe fruit. (And Pak's a F&W 2023 Drinks Innovator.)

You can order Sool products online or via Drizly, Gopuff, or Total Wine.

Otherwise Brewing Calrose Crisp

This pale lager is made from 100% malted sushi rice, which brings subtle layers of toast and a hint of honey. Otherwise Brewing makes the refreshingly crisp brew in San Francisco and will soon distribute across California.

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