Two cans of gluten free beer cans poured into mason jars sitting on a wooden railing in front of a tree line..

Gluten Free VS Gluten Reduced Beer

Have you ever been strolling through your local grocery store when you stumble upon a tasty looking gluten reduced or gluten free beer? Did a glimmer of hope creep into your heart as you began to reminisce about the good old days when you could drink any ole’ beer unencumbered? We’ve been there too.

But wait…gluten reduced? That has an odd ring to it. Why wouldn’t it just say ‘gluten free?’ Living a gluten-free lifestyle can be confusing, especially when it comes to beers, but sit tight. We’re here to break it down.

Gluten Reduced Beer

A gluten reduced beer is exactly what it sounds like: at one point it contained gluten and somewhere along the way it ended up with less. Gluten reduced beers all start out with ingredients containing gluten (wheat, barley, oat, and/or rye). AKA, ingredients that can negatively impact people with gluten sensitivities.

During the brewing process, brewers will use an enzyme called clarex to breakdown the gluten protein present in the beer. The gluten isn’t really reduced or taken out, it’s just broken down into a form that’s not detectable by laboratory tests. In order to be labeled “gluten reduced” these tests must show that each beer contains less than 20ppm gluten. However, commercial tests are only available to test for the protein present in wheat, which is called gliadin. So what about the gluten proteins in the barley, oat, and rye? They’re just untested for. You can see how this makes measuring the actual amount of gluten a little difficult.

Gluten Free Beer

This is much more straightforward. All beers labeled “gluten-free” start out with ingredients containing no gluten at all. It’s safe the whole way through. Our beer Güten, for example, is made with 100% gluten free grains and hops from start to finish. Even the facility where Güten is brewed is specifically designed for a 100% gluten free beer to ensure there is no cross-contamination.

Moral of the story, gluten reduced beer is not safe for those with celiacs disease. Or even those committed to living a gluten FREE lifestyle. So, the next time you’re strolling through your local grocery store, keep an eye out for beers labeled “gluten FREE” and take all the guesswork out of it.