Brunehaut: The best gluten free beer you’ve never heard of

I’ve tried my share of gluten free beers. I’ve tried every one I can get my hands on.

And these were the best.

The BEST.

I had never heard of Brunehaut brewery before I saw their beers on a shelf at Horrock’s in Lansing, MI. Probably because they seem to be a really old, obscure brewery in Belgium that just happens to make two amazing gluten free beers. Wikipedia says that they’ve been in operation since 1890, which explains how they’ve actually managed to make a gluten free beer that has that lovely thing called taste.

I got one of their blonde ales, which I basically chugged the second I got home from the store. Amazing. Wish I had three more. Right now.

And an amber ale.

Both were full bodied, smooth, with no hint of weird sorghum or grass.

Both were also gold medal winners at the 2011 United States Open Beer Championships. I am so proud that our country has one of those. Go USA! ;)

I wish I could tell you where to find this beer, but the locations map on their website only has where you can find it in Belgium. I don’t know what twist of fate brought them to this random store in Michigan that I happened to go to; it just must have been my lucky day!

The best I can say is to beg a locally specialty store to order it for you. Cost should be no object, just get it.

These Brunehaut beers give me hope that one day us Celiacs can also enjoy specialty beers.

Cheers ;)

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46 responses to “Brunehaut: The best gluten free beer you’ve never heard of

  1. Brunehaut does a great job. There are some other gluten free beers that will be making their way to the US before long from the same region. I think the Belgiums have always made the best beers but they have some pretty strong competition in the gluten free arena. You can find other reviews on the Gluten Free Beer Association website.

    • Omission Pale Ale is by far the best GF I have tasted. It’s got great body, pulling a draw you get a good mouth full without wanting to chew it, medium amber like a double IPA. My daughter just brought me Estralla Damm Daura which has no evidence on the label that it’s GF. It’s a pilsener style light brew with great taste, easy sip and no hint of “foriegn” a substances. Find it at some Whole Foods markets. I would like to find some Brunehaut but haven’t yet. Going to try some Corona, but that looks like water to me… they say it’s good for us with only 20ppm. I’ll wait for a rainy day. Sure do miss Guinness and George’s Red though. If you’ve ever had Honey Brown, Omission PA is great with a steak like HB was.

      • Both the Omission and Daura are technically reduced gluten. They are made with barley just like real beer. They go through a process using an enzyme call brewers clarex that reduces the glutenous proteins. They usually are about 5 or 6ppm gluten (well below the tolerance of 20ppm to be certified GF) but since they are made with barley, they cannot legally be labelled GF. I have been enjoying these beers regularly and have not had any problems but somebody who is extremely sensitive to gluten should probably not drink them.

      • that no alcohol that is made from gtleun containing grains can be labeled as Gluten Free. For beer drinkers, that means that no beer that is made from wheat and deglutenized can be labeled as gtleun free. Brunehaut uses organic wheat to make their beer and then deglutenizes to <5ppm. For a Celiac, I don't recommend this kind of gtleun free beer but if you are just gtleun intolerant, then this is an excellent beer. For Celiacs, 1ppm is 1 too many in my opinion and we know that the body will react to this level of gtleun. That may not be the case with a gtleun intolerant person. You will have to judge based on your sensitivity level but don't be fooled by thinking that just because you don't feel bad, it is not affecting your small intestine, it very well could be!Always proceed with caution when you are required to eat and drink gtleun free! Personal research is your best friend and safety net.Brunehaut has not changed they way they process their beer at all. It is only the TTB rule that has required them to remove gtleun free from their label. Hope that helps.

  2. The Brunehaut Gluten Free Beer will be on the shelves and bars in California in February!

    • That’s great news! I’ll be first in line when it gets to DC. I’m going to mention it to a few bars and distributors here to see if they’ll order it. I’m sure it’ll sell like hot cakes.

      • I am the California rep for Brunehaut The importer is c2imports. They are great. Where do you buy your beer for home and what is your favorite bar? Let us know!

      • Jealous you have Brunehaut on hand all the time! :) My favorite beer bars in DC are Churchkey and Bier Baron – next time I go I’m going to suggest that they talk to their distributor about ordering some Brunehaut. I typically buy beer from Cleveland Park Wines http://www.clevelandparkwine.com/, or Whole Foods. Hope to see Brunehaut in more places soon!

  3. It wasn’t random, I requested they carry it after reading about it. Sadly, I got it don’t really care for Belgian beer, not enough hops…

    • You rock, Mark! And you’re so ahead of the curve :) You should order some New Planet Off Grid next if you’re seeing your gluten free beer selling – it’s really good, and getting picked up by a ton of stores here. Thanks for stocking Brunehaut, otherwise I never would have tried it!

  4. I have tried New Planet as it is from a brewery in Boulder who is using Fort Collins Brewery to keep up with demand. It is nice is light in flavor which is why I like RedBridge better. RedBridge is from makers of Bud and can be found across the USA my favorite bar/grill keeps it in stock for me. They had problems getting New Planet all the time so I asked them to get RedBridge in they have not had a problem getting or keeping it in stock.

    • Redbridge is to beer what Turning Leaf is to wine. The only reason places carry it is to say they carry gluten free options and their distributors push it because of who makes it. I’d drink woodchuck cider before Redbridge and Woodchuck is the Redbridge of cider. Estrellita Dark has been my favorite and even my non glutarted friends will willingly drink it. Omission, New Grist, and Greens all make lighter flavored beers that should be better alternatives to Redbridge.

      What I’d kill for is a gf alternative to my previous favorite stouts and porters. Used to love Sam Smith’s Oatmeal Stout. I had to give away a whole case of it post diagnosis.

      • I’m with you Ryan – i really miss the good stouts..If someone ever comes out with a Dortmunder Union Dark gluten free Stout, they’ll have us all as customers.

  5. I just picked these two flavors up at Foods for Living in East Lansing, MI and they are delicious! I’m always on the look out for new gluten free beer in hopes of finding one that taste good and this fits the bill! Thanks for the list!

  6. Anybody in the NYC area looking for Brunehaut both amber and blonde can get it at Aces beer & Soda Inc, Brooklyn Ny 11233 718 495 2828 or go to acesbeer.com and send them an email, they also carry Estrella Damm Daura from spain and have gluten free ciders cheers to all

  7. Dogfish has a GF beer called ‘Tweason Ale. It’s a seasonal, and I was told that the release is in April. Also, New Grist brewed in Wisconsin is pretty good.

    • After trying a half dozen sorghum and/or millet based beers, I gave up and went to wine and tequila until I came across Omission beers – deglutenized but otherwise real beer!

  8. Flying Saucer bars ( http://www.beerknurd.com ) carry both the amber and the blond in the DFW area. They are terrific.

  9. OMG! I just found this beer at YardHouse in Glenview. It was the best yet I’ve found of GF beer!! And am also partial to Shokpora which is GF beer brewed by Sprecher’s (WI). Have found that at Whole Foods and at the Sprecher’s in Lake Geneva, WI.

  10. I’m dining at Yard House in Newport Beach, CA (many locations in many states) and they offer the Brunehaut Amber Ale at the bar! I think it is a little tastier than the Red Bridge — but Red Bridge isn’t bad either! No Red Bridge at Yard House but about 100 other beers if you can do gluten.

  11. One more comment about Brunehaut — after two of them tonite. For a reason that is unknown to me, there is absolutely no visible reference on the label that it is gluten-free. No subtle “GF,” or anything that I could see that indicated gluten free. There is a strange sentence on the label about “eco-friendly” but nothing about GF. So I I attempted to confirm GF with the waiter, who studied the label like I did, and then went to confirm with another bartender. I even went to the Brunehaut website while sitting at the bar and GF was not visible or promoted there either (I couldnt find anything)! I’d love to know why they would keep this fact seemingly secret on their bottle label and website. Anybody?!?

  12. akismet-5894fe75c7bc8531d619c2416a545346

    Ryan,

    I did confirm this with Brunehaut before replying to your question.

    Last month, the TTB made a ruling on gluten free alcohol. In that ruling the TTB said that no alcohol that is made from gluten containing grains can be labeled as Gluten Free. For beer drinkers, that means that no beer that is made from wheat and deglutenized can be labeled as gluten free. Brunehaut uses organic wheat to make their beer and then deglutenizes to <5ppm. For a Celiac, I don't recommend this kind of gluten free beer but if you are just gluten intolerant, then this is an excellent beer.

    For Celiacs, 1ppm is 1 too many in my opinion and we know that the body will react to this level of gluten. That may not be the case with a gluten intolerant person. You will have to judge based on your sensitivity level but don't be fooled by thinking that just because you don't feel bad, it is not affecting your small intestine, it very well could be!

    Always proceed with caution when you are required to eat and drink gluten free! Personal research is your best friend and safety net.

    Brunehaut has not changed they way they process their beer at all. It is only the TTB rule that has required them to remove gluten free from their label. :-)

    Hope that helps.

  13. Just found some while visiting in North Carolina. The salesperson at the liquor store pointed it out when I asked if they offered any gluten-free beers. However, when I looked at the bottle I did not see gluten free anywhere on it, only “eco-friendly”. I went and did a google search asking if it was gluten-free and it brought me here. I’m happy to see that it has been favorably reviewed. Now to see for myself. Can’t wait!

  14. Brunehaut’s two gluten-free labels just won Gold and Silver medals in the US Open Beer Championships (for the second straight) year.

  15. I have been also very happy with Brunehaut gluten free beers. Good stuff, glad there is such a good beer for us gluten-frees.

  16. Healthy Home Market in Charlotte, NC has a HUGE collection of GF beer from all over – Shakparo to Greens (Belgian) to St. Peters (English) to Brunehaut, New Grist, Estrella Damm Daura, etc. Widmer Brewery in Oregon is releasing a GR beer very soon. Keeps getting better!

  17. You should move to Portland brah, at John’s Market, that 3.99 beer is .99

  18. Sorry to disappoint everyone, but this beer is one of the worst GF beers I’ve had (and I’ve had every one you can find). Horrible aftertaste, but what makes it even worse is that it costs $13.49 for four 12 ounce beers which makes it by far the most expensive GF beer out there (with the exception of Green’s, which is probably the best one available). Luckily, I live in Ft Collins CO and a local brewery, Pateros Creek, makes the best GF beer I’ve had, and it’s on tap – Duncan’s Ridge- a dark ale with hints of chocolate and coffee. I keep telling them they should can it- it would be worth $13.49 a four pack! If you are ever in the Ft Collins area, check them out. The also make a GF cream ale called Greyrock which is excellent!

    • Just tried my first Brunehaut. I drank the amber ale, as I prefer heavier beers. It was the best GF beer I’ve had. However, the alcohol content is fairly high for GF, 6.5%, so I felt the effects in my head, but not my stomach. I live in Reno, NV and found it at Total Wine. I don’t know any pubs here that sell it, or Redbridge, for that matter. Sure would be nice to get a beer and burger, instead of wine. Maybe you could have Pateros talk to some of our local breweries to begin the GF process.

  19. I haven’t been able to find Brunehaut beer yet, but I did just try a new one from Widmer Brothers out of Portland called O’mission, and it’s the best GF beer I’ve tried so far.
    It’s made with a process of removing Gluten from the barley, just like Brunehaut, and I’m a Celiac and have experienced no problems from it. I prefer their Lager, but the Pale Ale is also very good.
    I’ve read that it’s now being distributed around the country–they have a search feature on their website at Ommissionbeer.com.
    Hoping to find some Brunehaut soon!

  20. I found this beer at bed bath and beyond in mission valley California!!!!!

  21. Was in Atlanta this weekend and took advantage by finding a few highly rated GF beers that I hadn’t tried yet. Got the Brunehaut Blonde Ale, all three of the Green’s, the New Planet Tread Lightly Ale, and the Daura.

    Tried the Brunehaut tonight and I agree that it is great! I liked it just as much as the Omission Lager that I discovered a few weeks ago and I like it more than the Omission Pale Ale.
    I’ll be trying the others over the coming days or weeks. So nice to have a nice variety of good beer for a change!

  22. You can get this fantastic beer at Uno’s bar and grill in IL they just started carrying iu.

  23. Where can I find this for sale in Newport Beach, CA? My boss loves the amber!

  24. Pingback: Celiac and Gluten-Free Living in Belgium | Expat Life in Belgium, Travel and Photography | CheeseWeb

  25. I had dinner at the Yard House in Long Beach, CA. last night. When I asked the waitress for a gluten-free beer, she brought their gluten-free menu. I had a choice of several fruit beers and the Brunehaut Amber Ale. I have had sorghum based beer before and am not too fond of the taste. The waitress said the Brunehaut tasted really good. So I got one with dinner. She was right it tasted really good, but a bit later I had some bad pain in my abdomin etc – many of you may know the reaction. I tried to review in my mind what I could have eaten or drank that caused my Celiac pain. I remembered that I looked for the Gluten-Free on the Brunehaut label but it was not there. I also went on their website today to try to find some information about it – nothing relevant. Finally found this website with some information. Maybe I should have been more informed about GF beer products and the labeling – but I was not. Unfortunately, Celiacs don’t just have a short term bad reaction from gluten. I am fighting malabsorption and more serious problems because of the disease. I don’t know how many other celiacs are not informed about the labeling GF issue and the difference in alledgedly GF products. I do intend to make sure the Yard House is better informed.

  26. Reblogged this on Gluten Free Flint and commented:
    This can also be found at Oliver T’s in Grand Blanc, MI!

  27. Pingback: Upcoming gluten free events in DC | Gluten Free? Gimme Three!

  28. Pingback: Tasting Gluten-Free Belgian Beer | Expat Life in Belgium, Travel and Photography | CheeseWeb

  29. On Omission beer. Be really careful if you are truly celiac or very intolerant. I tried Omission in Oregon last year and paid dearly for it that night. If you notice on the label, it does not state “gluten free”. It does, however, list the ppm and claims to be “deglutenated”. I actually prefer the Estrella Damm Daura from Spain and have never had an adverse reaction, even though it doesn’t state “gluten free” on the label. Wholefoods puts Estrella in the gluten free section, while separating Omission! Just a thought.

  30. akismet-5894fe75c7bc8531d619c2416a545346

    Lorell, do NOT use Wholefoods as the arbiter of truth on what is gluten free. They have MANY things on their shelves labeled gluten free that are processed in facilities with wheat. For a Celiac both Omission and Estrella Damm should be considered questionable, they are both de-glutenized the same. If you are choosing to eat gluten free then these beers are fine but for those of us with true sensitivities, caution is recommended and just because you don’t “feel” bad does not mean it isn’t affecting you.

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