Against the Grain

Finally, some gluten-free beer worth cracking open

You might think the thing celiacs–or anyone on a gluten-free diet–miss most is bread. But we're betting once barbecue season strikes, it's beer. And though gluten-free beer is nothing new, most of these celiac-friendly brews have been poor stand-ins for their barley- and wheat-based counterparts.

But savvy craft brewers are finally giving the estimated 3 million gluten-sensitive Americans something they can drink on a hot summer day. Made from ingredients like rice, millet, buckwheat and sorghum, this new generation of gluten-free beers is raising the bar for those who can't drink the real stuff–or for anyone looking to try something new.

Look for these brews at your local bottle shop:

Bard's Beer ($10 for a six-pack) This Minneapolis-based brewery makes its beer from 100 percent malted sorghum, creating a light lager with floral aromas and well-balanced flavor (bardsbeer.com).

Green's Quest Tripel Ale ($6.50 for 500 ml) This bottle-fermented Belgium-style beer–from a British brewery that specializes in gluten-free brews–has a honeyed, fruity finish and clean, slightly effervescent character (glutenfreebeers.co.uk).

Redbridge Ale ($8 for a six pack) Anheuser-Busch's niche beer is a crisp, full-bodied lager with just a hint of sweetness (redbridgebeer.com).

New Grist Beer ($9 for a six pack) Wisconsin's Lakefront Brewery's "session ale," made from rice and sorghum, is a light summer sipper and a Great American Beer Festival winner in the gluten-free category (newgrist.com).