There may have been a time when "gluten-free beer" was an oxymoron -- when the only option for someone with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity who had a hankering for a moderately alcoholic carbonated beverage was hard cider -- but that time is not 2015. At least a third of Americans are now trying to avoid gluten, and beer companies, not wanting to lose out on a huge share of their customer base, have rushed to develop a host of gluten-free beers, across all styles, over the past few years. So at this point, "gluten-free beer" is almost as well established a category as "decaf coffee" or "diet soda."
But among beer aficionados, gluten-free beers still get a pretty bad rap. When asked for a recommendation for a good beer for someone trying to avoid gluten, many of them would still recommend cider.