Saturday, January 30, 2021

A list of New Zealand gluten-free, gluten-reduced and low gluten craft beers



Developing a gluten intolerance in the midst of a flourishing craft brew world was bad timing to say the least. Headaches. Tiredness. Sore guts. General grumpiness. All because of gluten! Alas, it seemed my days of IPAs and stalking the aisles of New World had come to a sorry, sorghum-filled end. 

A bit of research and trial and error, however, has meant there are a few craft beers available in New Zealand that are still ok for me to drink. I say research, because it's actually quite hard to find out which craft beers are low-gluten or gluten-reduced. Which is totally understandable. Part of the reason some beers are not labelled as gluten-reduced or gluten-free, despite containing next-to-no gluten content, is because of the importance of proper testing and labelling for those that actually are coeliac. Here's a disclaimer: I'm not coeliac, and people experience discomfort from gluten differently and at different levels. As Coeliac New Zealand suggest, if you're not sure how how you'll go with one of these beers it's probably best to contact the brewer directly or avoid it.

As the team at BGFB write, "beer that is 100% gluten free is brewed with 100% gluten free ingredients." Beers that are 'gluten reduced' or 'crafted to remove gluten' have used a process to strip or reduce the gluten content out of gluten ingredients (using Brewers Clarex, for example). This process can land a beer's gluten content close to the gluten-free mark of under 3ppm (parts per million). But they're not gluten free. Unless it has been brewed using gluten-free ingredients, a beer that has less than 3ppm or 20mg of gluten is technically 'gluten-reduced'.

With that in mind, here's my list of New Zealand gluten-reduced, low gluten and gluten-free craft beers.

Gluten-reduced or low gluten


Eddyline Brewery (entire range!)
For a great-tasting range of gluten-reduced beers, you needn't go much further than Eddyline. Every single brew in their line-up has been brewed with DSM Brewer's Clarex that reduces gluten content to below 5ppm, and their beers are labelled as such. Plus they come in nice, tall 440ml cans. My favourtites include the go-to Trail Carver Pale Ale (5.1%) and CrankYanker IPA (6.3%), a "bold West-Coast style IPA featuring El Dorado and Mosaic hops with a complex malt profile. Emphasis is on aroma over bitterness. Tropical and pine flavours with a hint of citrus-pineapple aroma." Yum.
 
Stoke NPA - Nelson Pale Ale (4.2%)
The Stoke Nelson Pale Ale is a gluten-reduced drop that is batch tested and labelled as 'low gluten', with the gluten content coming in at less than 3ppm. A light-ish ale in terms of alcohol content and body, there's enough hops and bitterness to make this one a nice, late-arvo refresher and feel like you're drinking a 'normal' beer. Great price too.

Garage Project BEER (Pale Lager, 4.8%
My despair at being gluten intolerant was knowing I'd have to stop drinking Garage Project (namely Pernicious Weed - sad face). Luckily, the crisp, single-malt BEER has a naturally-low gluten count. There's no claims to being gluten-free or gluten-reduced here, and its effect on people will differ, but a batch test did show a low gluten count of under 20ppm. Works for me.

Hallertau (1-7 Numbers range)
A 2016 Stuff article made much of Hallertau's use of an "additive enzyme which breaks down gluten components leaving less than three parts per million (ppm) – enough to meet New Zealand's strict gluten-free legal requirements." These days Hallertau seem less willing to make a song and dance about their brewing process as they don't batch test for gluten content. Nonetheless, the core of their Numbers range (1-7) are brewed using Brewers Clarex and can therefore be considered gluten-reduced.
 

Gluten-Free


Kereru - Auro Ale (5%), Apex Hoppy APA (5.8%) and Aviatrix Raspberry Ale (5%)
Of the few New Zealand craft beers that are actually gluten-free - ie. they are brewed with 100% gluten-free ingredients - Kereru are leading the (admittedly-small) pack with three gluten-free brews. My favourite by a millet mile is the Apex Hoppy APA with its mix of US and NZ hops. You can tell from the body and head its gluten-free, but it is not lacking in taste. The Auro Ale is a little light for my taste buds but still a nice drop.

Scotts Brewing Co. - Pale Ale (4.5%)
For a long time Scott's Pale Ale was the only gluten-free beer available, so for that reason alone they deserve credit. It's also easy to find in most stores. It's a shame I don't like it. Have no idea if their other beers are gluten-free or not.

Garage Project Dirty Water (Seltzer, 4.5%)
Due out this week, Garage Project's Dirty Water Seltzer is "brewed not blended - with gluten free grain, real fruit and natural flavours. This delivers a sparkling clean, alcoholic seltzer." Comes in three flavours, plus "10% of profits go to supporting clean water initiatives in our own backyard." Let's hope this is the start of more brewers crafting gluten-free options.

Missing something? Drop me a line




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