Is Stella Artois Gluten-Free?

  • Stella Artois Pilsner is popular among beer lovers, especially in America.
  • This beverage, originally produced in Belgium, is now manufactured by Anheuser–Busch InBev. 
  • It has two variants: the traditional brew with gluten and a new variety for gluten-intolerant people.
  • While the new variant, Gluten Free Stella Artois, is derived from gluten grains, the gluten is removed from it to reach the permissible limit.  

Is Stella Artois gluten free? Granted it may not be the most popular beer brand in the world, but it’s up there, in this article we will explore all there is to know about this brand of beer and whether celiac people can consume it or not.

Are you a beer lover with gluten intolerance? Then, you have probably already started reflecting on your dysfunctional relationship with your favorite beverage.

You’re probably looking at the label of every beer you love to check its gluten status. And, Stella Artois is perhaps on that list of beers.

Why wouldn’t it be? After all, Stella Artois is one of the most favorite beers of Americans. Its producer, Interbrew International B.V., belongs to the biggest brewer in the world, Anheuser–Busch InBev. Everyone loves it. Hence, the obvious question comes to mind – is Stella Artois gluten free?

Stella Artois has two beer variants. The original brew is not gluten free. However, in 2018, the brand came up with something for people who are allergic to gluten.

This variant is clearly marked as “gluten free”. Although it’s made of glutinous grains, the gluten content is removed.

Is Stella Artois Gluten Free?

Let’s deal with the original Stella Artois pilsner first – the one that hit the market back in 1926. The brand boasts that the brew has only four ingredients:

  • Maize
  • malted barley
  • Saaz hops
  • Water.

Its fermentation involves yeast, too. But the ingredient gets removed before the beer is packaged.

Now, if you know about gluten, you don’t have to rack your brain to understand that this beer is not gluten free.

Barley contains gluten. And, even though you can ignore the brewer’s yeast used in its making, you must know that it is a glutinous ingredient that’s removed later.

So, if you have always loved Stella Artois, you will need to part ways with this gluten-containing beer to avoid reactions and health problems. However, that’s not a complete reason to be heart-broken. This brand also produces a beer variant that the brand labels as gluten free.  

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Stella Artois Gluten Free Variant

Stella Artois stepped into the “gluten free beer” scene in August 2018 with a brand new product. With this new beer, it hoped to create a safer option for people who are allergic to gluten. And now, it is readily available in the market.  

But let’s understand its “gluten free” status. Stella Artois Gluten Free is brewed with the same list of ingredients as the original pilsner by the brand.

But the main difference is in its gluten content, as the new variant undergoes a process to eliminate gluten. The final brew is certified as a gluten free beer, which means that its gluten content is less than 20 ppm.

It is safe to say that it is a gluten removed beer that retains the fullness of the flavor, the clean finish, and the distinctive taste of the original Stella. However, the gluten levels are down to a negligible level. They have successfully developed the method of removing gluten from their brew.

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Since it’s not made from a non-gluten source, there might be some residual gluten in the brew, even though in a negligible amount. However, people with gluten intolerance are known to have enjoyed this beer without allergic reactions.

How your body might react to it will depend on the extent of your condition. So, you might as well be careful if you are severely allergic and have been recommended a strictly no-gluten diet by your doctor.

You can try to perform a test by having a small amount of the beer to observe your reactions.

How to Enjoy Stella Artois Gluten Free?

The recipe of Stella Artois Gluten Free is crafted by brewing ninjas, who have managed to achieve the same standard of perfection of the original beer.

It has the perfect balance of ingredients. Along with the bitter-floral notes from the medium intensity of hop, you can enjoy a residual sweet taste from the malted barley.

The combination of flavors in the final product is to die for! Chill it down to a temperature of 3-5°C before pouring it, to enjoy its best taste. And, it pairs really well with food that’s rich in fatty proteins.

The bitter taste creates a delicious contrast with reductions and sauces that have a hint of sweetness.

It goes really well with fish and fried food. In fact, this beer is popularly used in the batter for frying fish or chicken. The carbonation in the drink makes the batter light, and the end result is a piece of crispy fry with a mouth-watering nuttiness. The intensity of the beer will complement your dish and cleanse your palate.

What is Stella Artois?

How much do you know about the rich history of Stella Artois? The brand takes great pride in its heritage. Bits and pieces of its long story are captured on the bottle, telling a glorious story to whoever would care to listen.

Its history dates back to 1926 when it was first produced. But, its roots were embedded in 1366! That’s the year when a brewery named Den Hoorn was established in Leuven. Den Hoorn’s logo still sits proudly on Stella’s cartouche.

Now fast forward to 1708, when Sébastien Artois took over the position of the head brewmaster in the company. Imagine the kind of knowledge and expertise he gathered from working in a brewery that had almost four centuries of experience!

After about nine years, he purchased the brewery, renaming it Brouwerij Artois. The first Stella was launched in 1926 as a Christmas drink. Since then, it has lived up to its name. You see, “Stella”, in Latin, means “star”. Sure enough, Stella Artois is quite the star in the world of brews.

It has taken centuries of hard work to reach the level of perfection that this brand has. That translates into its taste. And, as we mentioned, you can enjoy the same taste and flavor mix when you pick up a bottle of the gluten removed beer by this company.

Is Beer Gluten Free?

Conventionally, the process of brewing beer uses barley, a glutinous grain. Besides, wheat, also rich in gluten protein, may also be used in making beer. Naturally, beer is not gluten free. Along with malted barley, it contains brewer’s yeast, which contains gluten, too, until otherwise mentioned.

However, there are many brands that have changed the game now. These brands have started making beer out of other cereals like sorghum, millet, rice, buckwheat, and others. This means that they are cutting the gluten source out of the brewing process!

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In addition, there are some beer variants, which, just like Stella Artois, produce the beer from gluten grains but apply a unique process to remove the gluten content from the brew.

Gluten free beer is obviously safe for gluten intolerant people. And, some individuals can also enjoy gluten removed beer without any problem.  

Apart from beers, there are other alcoholic beverages that you can try if you are allergic to gluten. One of the obvious choices is cider beer. It’s easy to find gluten free versions of hard cider, and it tastes much smoother and sweeter.

Then there are liquors distilled from non-gluten sources, like wine or vodka, which are safe for you to consume.

But of course, if you’re a beer-head, it might be hard for you to break it off with beer completely. Luckily, you don’t have to, thanks to the gluten free brews.

But no matter what kind of alcoholic drink you pick, it is essential for you to check the label and find out more about the ingredients.

Gluten Free Food and Drinks

The seriousness of gluten intolerance has only recently come to light. And, you know what the only treatment of gluten intolerance is? A complete no-gluten lifestyle! There’s no medicine or surgery to cure you. A gluten free diet is your only way out!

As a result, people have become much more careful about everything they consume, whether it’s a morsel of bread, a spoonful of mayonnaise, or the bottle of chilled beer they sip on while hanging out with friends.

Everything is under scrutiny. The past decade has seen enormous growth in the market for gluten free products.

Not surprisingly, one of the key players in the market is beer. Everyone, after all, loves beer. In the US alone, 1% of the population has Celiac disease. Isn’t it obvious that some of them are beer lovers, and are now moving to safer options?

Thankfully, beer brands – whether big players or local breweries – are catering to the needs of people who suffer from gluten intolerance or Celiac disease.

This gives customers a chance to enjoy their favorite beverage without worrying about their health. Are you used to grabbing a beer bottle – or pitcher – at every gather, every party, or every evening alone? You can continue doing the same. You just need to shift to a safer option.  

Gluten Free Beer vs. Gluten Removed Beer

When it comes to beer – or most other alcoholic beverages – it is vital to find out whether the product is gluten free or gluten removed. Let’s understand the differences between the two.

Gluten Free Beer:

If the beer is brewed without using grains or cereals containing gluten, it can give you a natural gluten free beverage.

This means that barley and wheat have to be but out of the process. Instead, grains like sorghum, buckwheat, millet, or rice are used.

But, you must remember that even if a brew is not made from a glutinous material, it may contain traces of gluten because of additives like flavoring agents. Plus, there’s always the possibility of cross-contamination.

Gluten Removed Beer:

In the case of a gluten removed beer, the brewing process involves glutinous grains. However, a gluten removal process is put in place to eliminate or break down gluten.

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This process of breaking down gluten proteins is performed using enzymes.    

So, you must be wondering – is the latter a foolproof method to make beer safe for gluten intolerant drinkers? There’s no definite answer to this at the moment because there’s no accurate method of testing this.

Many of the experts do not believe that this is entirely effective.  

Now, in most countries, a food item or a beverage is considered safe to be consumed by a gluten intolerant person if the gluten level in it is below 20 ppm. Any beer that shows this figure can be called gluten free.

But, there’s no way to guarantee how such a beer with negligible amounts of gluten will affect an individual. Some people have had no severe complications after consuming gluten removed beer, while others have had allergic reactions. The same has been determined from blood tests, as well.

How to Pick the Right Beer 

At the time of buying the beer, you should check the label to see if it is gluten free. Remember not to pick any beer that doesn’t expressly claim to be either.

Even a beer made from non-gluten substances may end up with gluten traces because of cross-contamination.

Further, you should take a look at the list of ingredients to see its grain type, additives, and more. This way, you’ll be able to figure out if it is completely gluten free or is actually a brew with its gluten removed to a permissible level.

If you’re not severely allergic or Celiac, then you can try testing a small amount of gluten removed beer. But, if your condition is severe, and the best option for you is to cut out gluten from your life completely, it is best to go for a beer brand that is completely gluten free, instead of gluten removed.

Alternative Gluten Free Beers

If you’re looking for other gluten free and gluten removed brands to try, here’s a list of the current favorites among Celiac patients:

a) Estrella Damn Daura: An award-winning beer designed for the gluten-challenged, this lager is made from barley and undergoes a thorough filtration process. It’s malty, thin, and lightly hopped.

b) Green’s Amber Ale: The Amber Ale, with an intense fruitiness and full-bodied finish, is one of the delicious gluten free beers by Green’s. It replaces gluten with sorghum, rice millet, and buckwheat.

is stella artois gluten free
via  untapped

c) Ipswich Ale’s Celia Saison: This is yet another sorghum beer that can replace the glutinous beers, and give you a delicious brew. You will enjoy the beautiful balance of orangy citrus and spiciness in it.

via  vinepair

d) Glutenberg IPA: This light-bodied beer can entice even the most orthodox beer-heads. Brewed with a mix of millet, buckwheat, and corn, it offers a delicious blend of spicy, citrusy, and pine notes.

is stella artois gluten free
via laboit

e) Brunehaut Belgian Tripel: A gluten removed beer made from barley but processed to give a safe option, this brew is hopped up on alcohol, with 8% ABV. You can’t miss the citrus-fruit-caramel taste.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, it is safe to say that Stella Artois’ original brew is definitely not safe for gluten intolerant people.

However, its ‘gluten free’ variant is a safer option, as its gluten level is below the permissible limit. But, you must remember that technically, it is a “gluten removed” beer, since it is made from glutinous grains.

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About the Author: Johnny

I am the senior editor and writer of Gluten Free Heroes, before that, I wrote for various well established online magazines about food and health. I love working out, traveling and eating healthy.