The Most Common “Gluten Free” Beer In Spain
(But It’s Actually Gluten Reduced)
Today I’m releasing a review for the Estrella Galicia, a European gluten reduced beer that I came across non-stop while traveling in Spain. This is the common go-to for Coeliacs here. If you say you are a Coeliac in a restaurant, they will bring you this beer. There doesn’t seem to be any awareness or concern about the gluten removal process and I have yet to find a beer that is originally brewed with gluten free ingredients.
I avoided reviewing this beer the entire trip honestly, as I don’t get very excited about gluten reduced beers. I know I shouldn’t drink them, so I don’t. But I did decide to at least taste this one for the purpose of a review, particularly for my European readers, which there are quite a few.
Just keep in mind that under USA classification, this is a gluten reduced beer, and I can’t in good conscience recommend it to anyone with a serious intolerance to gluten. That doesn’t mean it’s inappropriate for everyone who chooses a gluten free lifestyle though, and to be honest, I saw regular beer drinkers opting for this beer when drinking out in Spain. It seems to be a regular go-to for many.
The Taste Test
First of all, this beer had a crazy cool cap situation. In fact, it wasn’t a cap at all. It was a peel off seal that I have never seen on a beer bottle before. I’m not sure what the implications are concerning freshness with this type of seal, but it was new to me. Not sure if it’s common in Spain, but feel free to comment if you know the answer to any of these questions.
The Estrella Galicia poured with a crystal clear golden color. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a beer this clear! The clarity is so high, I could read a fingerprint through it. It foamed nicely for a light beer. Although, I did pour it down the center to create that head. There was no need to be gentle.
Estrella Galicia smells like a classic lager. Clean and simple, faintly hoppy. The head lingers as I write. The carbonation is absolutely beautiful. The clarity allows you to watch every single one of those little bubbles dance to the surface. The carbonation is perfect and incredibly refreshing.
The first taste brought me back to college. For all of you out there (particularly in Europe) who miss their Coors Light or Miller Lite or [insert any light mass-produced beer here], and can tolerate gluten reduced…this beer is for you. It tastes exactly like what I remember in those beers.
I don’t personally have a longing for that caliber of beer. You know I’m a major craft beer fanatic, a self-proclaimed hop head who likes her beers as bitter and bold as possible. This is not that.I suppose you could compare this to the Redbridge beer by Anaheuser Busch, only Estrella Galicia is brewed with barley, and the Redbridge is brewed with 100% gluten free ingredients. In fact, I’d say the Estrella is more similar in taste to the former Coors Peak Lager, which is no longer in production.
What’s funny is while I don’t personally seek out this type of beer, I’d say that a great many people who find themselves on this website ARE in fact seeking a beer like this, only a gluten free version. Those of you who live in Europe don’t seem to be as bothered by the gluten reduced nature of the beers available to you there (although, some have written to me with frustration over the lack of truly gluten free option in Europe).
I found Estrella Galicia to be by far the most popular and accessible “gluten free” beer in Spain. You see the brand everywhere. Estrella Galacia is the Coco Cola or Pepsi of Spain. They have their brand plastered on every awning and in every shop window you see.
Overall, there is nothing offensive to me about the taste of this beer. It’s just very very light. But still crisp and refreshing, especially on a sunny Spain day. I think anyone who misses a light lager would love this beer. It is everything you’ve been missing because it’s brewed with everything you’ve been missing.
The ABV of the Estrella Galicia Cerverza Especial is 4.5%. It goes down easy and I would classify it as very easy drinking. But do be careful if you can’t safely consume gluten reduced beers. And be aware that you will find this beer classified as gluten free in Spain (and all over Europe for that matter).
I can drink limited quantities of gluten reduced without suffering extreme external symptoms, so I took one for the team on this one so that I could offer feedback for European readers. Please do head my warning though if you are a Coeliac/Celiac that knows they should avoid gluten reduced beers.
Honestly, the best part of this experience was the INCREDIBLE Fish and Chips that I had alongside it, which were 100% gluten free and dairy free. Read my raving review about them HERE.