Gluten Free Beer In Ireland

This beer blog was originally published on Monday 24th March 2014 and has been updated twice: June 2014 and January 2016.

This beer blog has been too many months (okay, actually years!), in the making. I know I've been mentioning this on and off in some of my previous posts, so it's about time I pinned this down.

There are many reasons for the delay in this. *When testing up to **33 beers, the aim of the game is to not let yourself or fellow testers on the beer panel get drunk. Drunk = not real opinions or accurate descriptions of the alcohol being tasted and tested. Also, drunk = hangover and to be honest, I'm not interested in hangovers. Getting the 10 of us together at the same time to test these beers, has its own challenges, everyone is busy living their lives so it was a genuine effort on everyone's behalf to meet and test the beers around busy schedules. Also, because of the delay in publishing this post, there has been a change in the branding on some of the bottles. So their old labels are now recorded in my photos for posterity. There has been a small advantage that has come about with my delay. More gluten free beers have come on the Irish market in the past couple of years and I have been able to have a decent list of beers for testing. So here we go...!

We marked the beers out of 10. 10 being the best and 1 being hardly worth it. I am the only one on a strict gluten free diet who did the testing. Everyone else is on a 'normal' diet and they are very particular about the type of beers they drink. They like a decent beer. I consider them 'beer snobs', but in a good way. They know a quality beer versus a cheap beer and that's why I chose them for my testers.

Please note that all opinions and comments are genuine and made in the spirit of being honest about what was being tasted. There was no sponsorship, support from brewing companies or any outside financial influence attached to this post.

If you want to know more about each beer tested, I recommend that you visit the respective websites and read more about their products. You can find links to all the websites after the Tester Findings table.



NameAppearanceAromaPalate/Flavour & General CommentsOverall - What We Say (out of 10)What It Says On The Bottle
Crabbies Original Alcoholic Ginger BeerGolden, Amber. Very fizzy.Spicy, lightSweet, Fizzy, Ginger, Lingering spice/heat aftertaste. Refreshing, Moreish. Easy to drink.10 out of 10 If you like the taste of ginger. A resounding favourite.‘The steeped ginger is combined with quality ingredients and matured for 8 weeks to release a deliciously distinctive flavour.’
Crabbies Spiced Orange Alcoholic Ginger BeerGolden, Amber. Very fizzy.Citrus, Orange, Spicy, Light, SweetnessSweet, Orange cordial flavour. Not refreshing. Orange oil aftertaste. Easy to drink.6 out of 10. Disappointing. It was neither orangey nor gingery enough.‘The steeped ginger is matured for 8 weeks. It’s then combined with real Orange Extract giving a deliciously distinctive flavour.’
Crabbies Raspberry Alcoholic Ginger BeerDeep pink. Very fizzy.Fruity - like jam, ginger and raspberry obvious as well, sweet.Very sweet upfront like children’s fizzy cordial. Spicy ginger finish which lingers after sweetness. Soapy.3 out of 10. Wasn’t to any of panel’s taste. Too sweet. Might appeal to a juvenile palate. Not suited to a mature palate. Like an alcopop.‘We steep our real ginger beer for up to 8 weeks then blend with natural flavouring made from real Scottish Raspberries to create a deliciously unique and refreshing taste.’
Crabbies Strawberry & Lime Alcoholic Ginger BeerPale pink. Very fizzy.Sweet, candied strawberry.Sweet. Fresh strawberry flavour. Ginger finish. Couldn’t really pick up any lime. Soapy.3.5 out of 10. Maybe good for a warm summer evening. If you’re looking for a strawberry drink, go for the Rekorderklig Strawberry Cider instead.‘We steep our real ginger beer for up to 8 weeks then blend with natural Strawberry & Lime flavours to create a deliciously unique and refreshing taste.’
Hollows & Fentimans All Natural, Alcoholic Ginger BeerCloudy, Pale. Light fizz.Sweet, Fruity, like a perry.Sweet up front. Ctirus. A finer effervescence. Ginger finish. Refreshing.7 out of 10. Satisfying.‘Made using a time-honoured recipe from just five ingredients: Ginger Root, Water, Sugar, Pear Juice & Yeast.
Mongozo Premium PilsnerGolden ale, Lightly carbonated.Sweet, Light, Fruity, Beery, a hint of maltSweet, Dry Finish, Fruity, Refreshing, Typical beery aftertaste. Moreish. Flavour really sings once it warms up a bit.8 out of 10. A good beer. A fine all-rounder.There is little description of the beer on the bottle. It is noted that they have a fair trade and organic certification & there is a cross-grain symbol marked on the front.
Celia  Gluten Free LagerGolden ale, Good carbonation.Vanilla, Light, MaltyFizzy, Bitter up front, Hoppy, Dry, Refreshing, Sweet aftertaste, Easy to drink.7 out of 10. Wouldn’t know it was gluten free. A really decent lager. Enjoyable.Little is written on the bottle. Their website says: CELIA complements fine food thanks to its unique use of 100% Saaz hops famous for their spicy, clean bitterness combined with a beautiful golden colour & pleasant malty aroma.
Glebe Farm 'Night Mission' Gluten Free AleAmber colour. Slightly cloudy. Light effervescence.Lightly sweet. Malty. Beery.Dry. Mildly hoppy. Sweet upfront. Slightly cloying/soapy finish.4 out of 10. Similar to a bitter in taste. Finish is a bit off. Serve just below room temperature.No mention of the ingredients anywhere. The bottle says it 'replicates a traditional British ale'.
Estrella Damm DauraGolden ale, Good carbonation. Sweet/caramel, FruityWatery, Cloying, Trying to be bitter – just getting a sour taste. Chemical aftertaste.1 out of 10. No one could finish the bottle. Tasted like a cheap pub beer. Everyone complained of a synthetic, cloying taste. It felt like it was trying to taste ‘not gluten free’, Unanimous low marks across the panel.Little description of the beer written on the bottle. There is a cross-grain symbol marked on the front.
I Wish Gluten Free IPA
Amber. Slightly cloudy. Standard carbonation.Fruity. Very sweet.Crisp, very bitter. Refreshing. Full on hops. Aftertaste sits well. No chemical vibe.8 out of 10.
A real multi-sensory beer. Decent IPA. Very distinctive. Recommendation: Breathe in the aroma while drinking.
Little is written on the bottle. Their website says: We’re proud to present the worlds first gluten free beer! A super hopped up American Pale Ale, designed, not just for the gluten sensitive, but for all beer fans alike.
I Wish is a fresh, tasty and risk-free experience.
In your face, gluten!
Omission Handcrafted IPAStraw coloured. Slightly cloudy. Standard effervescence.Fruity, very sweet. Not citrus.Sweet  and fruity upfront. Bitter, hoppy aftertaste. Very dry finish. Almost sour.5 out of 10. Disappointing IPA. It's very strong 6.7% It's too sweet/fruity. If you hadn't had the Mikkeller before, you might have thought this was a better beer. In direct comparison, it falls short. Tagline on the bottle reads: 'It isn't just what we took out, it's what we left in.' The label itself makes no reference to gluten.
Omission LagerPale, slightly cloudyVery fruity, maltyA bit watery. Not a lot of taste to it. Slightly cream soda, but not that sweet. Fruity, but a little ripe. Closer to a weiss beer than a lager. 5 out of 10. Very middle-of-the-road. Not much to it.Tagline on the bottle reads: 'It isn't just what we took out, it's what we left in.' The label itself makes no reference to gluten.
Daas BlondGolden ale, Fine carbonation.Sweet, Light, Floral hops.Refreshing, Special, Sweet, Well rounded, Pleasant aftertaste, Pure tasting. No chemical aftertaste, Easy to drink, Moreish. 10 out of 10. Nom, nom, nom, nom, nom, nom, nom, nom, nom, nom, nom, nom, nom, nom….‘Daas Blond is the authentic strong Belgian golden beer. The honey spiced aromas and perfectly balanced bitter flavours are followed by a full rounded classic dry hop finish.’
Daas AmbreCloudy, Amber ale, Heavy carbonation. Heavy, caramel, malty, burnt hopsSweet, chocolatey, Hoppy finish, Roasted flavour, Coffee, Dark flavours, No chemical aftertaste, Satisfying.10 out of 10. More of the nom, nom, nom, nom, nom, nom, nom, nom, nom, nom, nom, nom, nom….‘Daas Ambre is a traditional rich and complex Belgian Amber ale. The deep fragrant aromas with smooth caramel and discreetly mellow malt flavour finish with dry and delicately spiced hops.’
Against The GrainPale ale. Good carbonation, Not too fizzy.Fruity, Light, Sweet.Watery, Bitter up front, Fruity aftertaste, Refreshing4 out of 10. Tastes like a real beer. Just seems to lack the moreish quality. Not bad, not great.Text refers to the World Top Brewery location and the filtered water used in their range of beers.
Nick Stafford’s Hambleton Ales GFABronze/amber ale. Not much effervescence. Good carbonation.Hoppy, Sharp.Bitter, Cloying aftertaste. Heavy. Chemical aftertaste.2.5 out of 10. More complex than GFL . Would avoid drinking.‘Bronze, Amber, Fruity, Sharp, Tastes zesty, sharp & clean.’
Nick Stafford’s Hambleton Ales GFLYellow/golden ale. Not much effervescence. Good carbonation.Light, Sweet, Fruity, Pear drops.Light, Sweet, Fruity up front, Sticks at the back of the throat.2 out of 10. Starts like a good beer, but finishes like a cheap beer.‘Yellow, Straw, Fruity, Hoppy, Tastes fresh, clean, citrus, light.’
Green’s Premium PilsnerPale golden. Standard carbonation. Hoppy, light, fruitiness, malt.Instantly refreshing. Hops up front. Smooth finish. Moreish, drinkable, no chemical aftertaste. No cloying.8 out of 10. A great beer. Wouldn’t know it’s gluten free. Similar to Budvar.‘Is light bodied and smooth, with a light hop aroma and traces of citrus offering a crisp finish.’
Green’s Discovery (Naturally Gluten Free Beer)Dark ale. Light carbonation. Sweet, very malty, fruity, rich.Light ale, sweet finish. Vanilla flavour. Warming.7 out of 10. It’s 6%. Quite a strong beer. Tastes similar to Speckled Hen. Thumbs up. Enjoyable.Little description written of the beer on the bottle. There is a cross-grain symbol marked on the front.
Green’s Supreme Golden AleDeep golden. Steady carbonation.Sweet, beery, caramel notes.Malty up front, but a nice dry hoppy finish. Bitter balances well with the sweet. Refreshing, moreish.9 out of 10. It’s just an uncomplicated, great beer.‘Has a slightly hoppy flavour with a dry caramel background, and a light fruit and spice finish.’
Green’s  Blond AlePale yellow. Cloudy. Light effervescence.Smells similar to a fruity Weiss beer. Malty. Sweet.Sweet. Very much like an Erdinger. Malty, warm finish.8 out of 10. If you like Weiss beer, this one is for you. Good quality, not lacking in depth.‘Is a blond coloured, bottle refermented ale. The characteristic taste and aroma is a result of the specially selected de-glutenised barley malt and hop varieties and is brewed to an age old recipe.’
Green’s Amber (Brown) AleDeep Amber colour. Cloudy. Light effervescence.Fruity, caramel. Lightly sweet. Roasted malt. Hint of sweetness.Fruity upfront. Bitter finish.7 out of 10. Lacking a bit of body. A good flavour. Enjoyable.‘Is a brown coloured, bottle refermented ale. The characteristic taste and aroma is a result of the specially selected de-glutenised barley malt and hop varieties and is brewed to an age old recipe.’
Green’s Dark AleDark brown. Cloudy.Roast barley. Chocolate. Rich. Coffee tones. Hint of sweetness.Rich roasted tones. Not heavy – surprisingly light. Depth of flavour. A really good combination of burnt caramel, chocolate, barley, malty tones. Sweet with a light bitter finish.9 out of 10. Completely different to anything else tested. As close to a stout as can be. If you miss stout – this is the one for you.‘Is a dark coloured, bottle refermented ale. The characteristic taste and aroma is a result of the specially selected de-glutenised barley malt and hop varieties and is brewed to an age old recipe.’
Green’s IPADark brown/amber. Cloudy.Fruity. Light sweetness, malt.Dry and fruity at the same time. Quite fizzy. Nicely bitter. Hoppy finish.7.5 out of 10. Refreshing. Aroma is great. A good IPA. Won't disappoint IPA fans.‘A medium bodied golden ale with a balanced malt sweetness and hoppy flavour, fermented with a classic strain of Belgian non GMO yeast.’ Vegetarian society approved. Gluten free information found clearly on the label.
Biere au Quinoa Altiplano - la biere du lamaBlonde, slightly cloudy. Appearance when poured looks like a weiss bier.Hops, beery, full-bodied. A heft to it.Roasted flavour. Light. Sweet aftertaste. Slightly cloying, but not offensive. Lightly effervescent.  6 out of 10. Lacking depth. Not really moreish.It doesn't have any description of beer on the bottle. However, it does clearly indicate that it's gluten free, with the cross grain symbol & fairtrade.
Marks & Spencers Belgian Golden AleDeep golden. Very clear.Sweet with caramel notes.Malty at first with a pleasant  hoppy finish. Bitter balances well, very refreshing. 9 out of 10. Another great beer. Worth keeping a stock in the fridge.Gluten free information found clearly on the bottle. 'A refreshing golden ale with a subtle smooth caramel taste. Made by removing the gluten from a conventional ale.'
Marks & Spencers Belgian PilsnerVery pale and clear.Very beery. Hoppy, very light. Satisfying bitterness.8 out of 10. Again, another very good beer. Indistinguishable from the Green's pilsner. Really good.Gluten free information found clearly on the bottle. 'A classic Belgian pilsner with a crisp & distinctive hoppy flavour. Made by removingthe gluten from a conventional pilsner.'
Brewdog Vagabond Pale AleVery slightly cloudy. Deep golden, orange.Just fruity.Sweet, hoppy. Malt tones. Very quickly gives way to an unpleasant stringent dryness. Chemical-like finish.3 out of 10. The panel had high hopes for Brewdog. So everyone was disappointed with this one. Clearly marked gluten free on the label. They don't mention what the beer tastes like. However, they do talk about their brand, in-depth.
Desmond Craft LagerClear pale gold.Toffee, sweet, almost like burnt sugar.Tastes like a Corona with a lime in it. That was the unanimous sentiment. Slightly cloying finish, but still refreshing. Butterscotch/coffee flavours build after a few sips.7 out of 10. A solid lager. Would be happy to drink that again. With a slice of lime, it's even better. (We all tried it with lime!)No information about what the beer tastes like found on the label. Clearly marked gluten free.
9 White Deer Brewery Saor Gluten Free BeerSlightly cloudy, golden.Malt, beeryLightly hoppy. Lingering, slightly bitter finish. Slightly dry. Hints of sweetness.8 out of 10. Straightforward, tasty, refreshing beer. Easy to drink. Best of the Irish gluten free beers tested to-date.‘A light bodied crisp and refreshing pale ale. With gentle hop and malt character, resulting in an easy going beer to be enjoyed by everyone.’ Clearly marked gluten free on the label.
Dungarvin Brewing Company Comeragh Challenger Irish BitterDark golden, cloudy.Aromatic cocoa, roasted malt. SweetIt's strikingly bitter up front. Fruity followed by smokey aroma. Chocolate notes. The smoke is overpowering. The finish is too strong. This is for a very specific taste. Cannot compare it to anything else tried. Ever. Panel was divided. Very 'craft beer'. Half the panel said 4 out of 10, noting the smokey aftertaste was off-putting. The other half, gave it 6 out of 10 - the very uniqueness of this beer appealed to them. ‘Is brewed using pale malt, challenger hops and the naturally occurring hard water of West Waterford. The malty profile and floral hops make for an elegant and understated ale.’ Clearly marked gluten free.
Little Island Brewing Kenmare Irish LagerPale gold, clear.Floral and herbal notes.Phenolic up front. Lingering bitterness, then the phenol notes follow through again. Very dry. 1 out of 10. No one thought these flavours worked in this beer. Some in the panel compared it to Germolene. ‘Tasting notes: brewed with Irish malt and traditional hops, Kenmare Lager is crisp and refreshing with a floral and citrus nose.’ Marked gluten free on the label.
Grisette BlondEver so slightly cloudy. Pale, yellow, golden.Yeast, sweet, fruity.Roasted tones of malt up front, with a yeast like finish. A little mouldy. Sticks at the back of the palate. 3 out of 10. It's bottle-fermented, so not for everyone. The yeast aspect to it, is a tad overpowering. Some of the panel hated it. No one really enjoyed it. 'Is a top-fermenting, light, very refreshing pale ale. Brewed respecting traditional methods it dos not undergo any biochemical treatment and is certified organic and gluten-free.' Cross grain symbol visible on the label.


Crabbies Alcoholic Ginger Beer Range 
Hollows & Fentimans All Natural Alcoholic Ginger Beer 
Mongozo Premium Pilsner Gluten Free Beer 
Celia Organic Lager  
Glebe Farm Night Mission Gluten Free Beer
Estrella Damm Daura Gluten Free Beer 
Omission Beer
Daas Gluten Free Beers 
Against The Grain Gluten Free Beer 
Nick Stafford's Hambleton Gluten Free Ales 
Green's Gluten Free Beers
Biere au Quinoa Altiplano - la biere du lama
Desmond Gluten Free Beers
9 White Deer Brewery - Saor GF Beer
Dungarvin Brewing Company
Little Island Brewing - Kenmare Irish GF Lager
Brewery St. Feuillien - Grisette Blond


Irish Gluten Free Beer - FINALLY!!! (and Yay!)

Winners & Losers

The top scoring beers in our test were Daas Blond, Daas Ambre & Crabbies Ginger Beer. What was interesting in the findings was that most of the gluten free beers were of a high standard. That surprised all the 'normal' beer drinkers in the group (which was everyone, but me!). It is unfortunate that the beers you are most likely to find are the ones that had the lower scores, which might explain gluten free beer's unfavourable reputation. I hope this changes in the future and we start seeing a bigger and better range available. Make your voice heard. Talk to your local off licence/gluten free beer supplier and let them know that there is a great range of very drinkable options out there.

I used to drink Glutaner, but it is no longer imported into Ireland. A representative of the previous importer for Glutaner told me that there was a limited market and it was too expensive to continue selling in Ireland. This is such a shame as it was a really decent gluten free beer. If you happen to see it on the shelves - let me know!

Green's, as a gluten free specialist brewery, have done the best job covering all the main types of beer. Chances are that if you have a specific taste preference, you're going to find it in the Green's range. Go Green's! They get a gold star from me.

Unfortunately, Estrella is the beer you will more likely come across because there is clearly an attempt to flood the gluten free beer market via their distribution channels here in Ireland. It is unfortunate that other breweries and importers do not do the same in order to offer a better variety of GF beers to the Irish consumer. In the UK, there is a far bigger variety of gluten free beers, that you just can't get here. That said, things are a lot better than when I started researching for this blog (I never thought I'd be testing **33 beers!). Off licences are really missing a trick by not putting proper investment in advertising or increasing their gluten free range of beers instead of tucking them away in a small corner on a shelf. This is a growing market. They would more than likely get a better demand from consumers if they just made the effort. Advertising works.

As for gluten free beer in pubs - that still needs a lot of help! Some do serve, but more often than not - there are just no options. 

Update January 2016: Winners & Losers

It was always a case of who will beat the Daas gluten free beers. So far, they still remain top of the class. Green's is also still a wonderful gluten free beer producer. These two breweries are hard to beat. The best Irish-brewed gluten free beer came from the 9 White Deer Brewery, located in Co. Cork.

The range of gluten free beers that is now available, is beyond what I ever thought it would be. The fact that there are Irish craft breweries getting in on the action is beyond fantastic and they should be lauded for their efforts. Our coeliac population is so large, it's good to see how it is being catered for these days, in all aspects. 

The panel have been consistently surprised with the increasing range and sheer quality of gluten free beer that has come to the market since this beer blog was started. In some cases, they would prefer to buy the gluten free beer rather than their 'normal' beer.

As I come across new gluten free beers, I will update this list accordingly with the aid of my testers. So I hope this resource will continue to grow.

Where to buy? 

You can find gluten free beers dotted around the country's off licences & grocery shops.
(Stock can vary)

O'Briens Off Licences
Carry Out Off Licences

Independent Off Licences are worth checking out, such as:

Egan's Off Licence
Martin's Off Licence
McHugh's Off Licence
Bradley's Off Licence


Sainsbury's (N. Ireland)
Asda (N. Ireland) 
Marks & Spencers

Please tell me where you buy your gluten free beer and I'll add it to the list!

Where to buy online?

Bradley's Off Licence

Martin's Off Licence

McHugh's Off Licence

Eco Direct The Gluten Free Shop 

Gluten Free Shop 

Molloys Liquor Stores

O'Briens Off Licence



Other worthy gluten free beer blogs to read:

Know of any other useful gluten free beer blogs, online gluten free beer shops, great gluten free beer off-licences that should be listed here to help fellow Irish gluten free beer lovers out? Please comment and share your knowledge! Spread the gluten free beer love and don't forget to drink responsibly!  

*Updated 13/06/14 with two new beers : Omission IPA & Glebe Farm Night Mission.

**Updated 24/01/16 with 11 new beers: Green's IPA, Biere au Quinoa Altiplano - la biere du lama, Marks & Spencers Belgian Golden Ale, Marks & Spencers Belgian Pilsner, Brewdog Vagabond Pale Ale, Desmond Craft Lager, Saor Gluten Free Beer, Dungarvin Comeragh Challenger Irish Bitter, Kenmare Irish Lager, Grisette Blond & Omission Lager.