Best Beers for Yeast Intolerance or Allergies (That Are Still Tasty!)

Do you feel bloated and sick after drinking a Hazy IPA or a good German Hefeweizen? If you have a yeast intolerance or allergy, you may be having a reaction to the yeast that is used in the brewing process.

Those who have a yeast intolerance or mild allergy do not have to avoid beer altogether. All beers are brewed with yeast, but Lambic beers are brewed with wild yeast and may be more digestible for those with yeast intolerance. Beers such as Sam Adams Boston Lager are filtered or pasteurized to remove any remaining yeast from the final product.

Read on to learn what the symptoms of yeast intolerance or allergies are. You’ll also learn the processes brewers use for removing yeast from beer. Lastly, we’ll tell you which types of beer are the best to drink to avoid these symptoms.

What is yeast intolerance?

Food intolerances should be differentiated from foods that you simply don’t like.

Foods containing yeast are difficult to digest for people with yeast intolerance because they lack a specific enzyme required to digest them. Symptoms of yeast intolerance are not usually severe or life-threatening and they appear in the hours after ingesting a food. Yeast intolerances typically display as gas, cramps, or a sudden rash.

It’s also important to note that food intolerances differ from allergies and the terms should not be used interchangeably.

Intolerance symptoms usually include gastrointestinal upset and allergies that trigger immune responses like rashes and respiratory issues whereas yeast allergies can cause other physical symptoms such as rashes and in severe cases, anaphylaxis.

Symptoms of yeast intolerance

If you’re enjoying a hazy IPA or Hefeweizen when you have a yeast intolerance or allergy, you may regret it later. Yeast intolerance can cause some uncomfortable issues. 

Symptoms of yeast intolerance include:

  • Abdominal swelling or bloating
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Gas
  • Nausea
  • Diahrrea
  • Joint pain
  • Rashes
  • Trouble breathing

What about brewer’s yeast intolerance?

Brewer’s yeast, baker’s yeast, and nutritional yeast have different uses and are very different products, but they are the same basic strain.

Even though these yeast products are very different, people with yeast intolerance should limit or avoid consumption of all three depending on their level of sensitivity.

Can you drink beer with a yeast intolerance?

There are many beers available that you can drink with little to no discomfort if you have a mild yeast intolerance.

Low gravity beers are lighter, have less fermentable sugar, are lower in alcohol (ABV), and are a good starting place if you have a yeast intolerance.

If you find you still have symptoms after trying these beers, it is recommended that you switch to spirits like vodka, or gin, which don’t use a yeast fermentation process.

What beer contains the least amount of yeast?

Many beers contain very little live yeast depending on the processes used for brewing.

Beers that are filtered, pasteurized, or are fermented using wild yeast tend to have the least amount of yeast. Filtered beers such as light lagers, Pilsners, and even hard seltzers have fewer yeast particles remaining in them. 

Do pasteurized beers still contain yeast?

The purpose of pasteurizing beer is to improve its shelf life and prevent spoilage. Pasteurization is the process of heating beer to 140°F for fifteen minutes to ensure there are no live microorganisms present.

Pasteurization neutralizes any remaining live yeast in beer after fermentation is complete. However, this doesn’t mean that no yeast is present. Tiny particles of neutralized yeast are nearly impossible to filter out completely without affecting the taste. While there is still some yeast present, it isn’t active.

It’s important to note that domestic draft beers are not usually pasteurized. They must be kept at 38°F  to prevent secondary fermentation. Imported draft beers are usually pasteurized so they can be stored at room temperature without affecting the shelf life.

Are any beers made without yeast?

Many beers smell yeasty and bready by design, but what about the beers where the yeast isn’t obvious? Are they made without yeast?

Beer is a fermented product, so by design, all beers are brewed with some type of yeast. However, many commercial beers use filtration, pasteurization, or fining to remove or kill the yeast that remains in beer after fermentation. 

Lambic beers are made without brewer’s yeast. Instead, they develop wild yeasts during a slow fermentation process. Many people with yeast intolerance are able to drink beers with wild yeast because the specific fermentation process breaks them down into more digestible components.

Hard seltzers are fermented with yeast but use processes like cooling, fining, and forced carbonation to remove most of the yeast particles from the finished product.

Some larger brewers also use centrifuges to separate and remove leftover yeast and trub particles from finished beer.

Craft breweries vary, but many do not pasteurize or filter their beers since yeast and sediment are part of the flavor profiles. They also don’t usually store large batches or transport over long distances, so shelf life is less of a problem. 

If you have a yeast allergy or intolerance, it’s best to check with the brewer to determine if their beers have used one of the methods above for removing most of the yeast from their beers.

The best yeast free beers for intolerance and allergies

Most commercial beers are filtered except for those where the yeast is part of the flavor profile (think hazy IPA, Hefeweizen, etc.). Not all beers are pasteurized. Many brewers feel that pasteurization removes desired flavor qualities.

Here are some of the most recommended, filtered, yeast-free beers:

  • Samual Adams Boston Lager
  • Heineken
  • Miller Genuine Draft
  • Bud Light
  • Lindeman’s Framboise Lambic
  • Stella Artois

1. Samuel Adams Boston Lager 

  • Brand: Samuel Adams Boston Brewing
  • From: Boston, Massachusetts
  • ABV: 5%
  • IBU: 30
  • Featured Hops: Hallertau Mittelfrüh and Tettnang Tettnanger
  • Taste: Made with two-row barley and German Noble hops. Slightly sweet, roasted with notes of caramel and honey. Smooth, dry finish with a pleasant citrusy bitterness.
  • Where you can find it: Drizly.com, basically anywhere beers are sold.

2. Heineken 

  • Brand: Heineken Nederland B.V.
  • From: Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • ABV: 5%
  • IBU: 23
  • Featured Hops: Hallertau and Northern Brewer
  • Taste: Made with two-row barley and German Noble hops. Slightly sweet, with notes of biscuit similar to sweet corn. Crisp, dry finish with slight hop bitterness.
  • Where you can find it: Drizly.com, grocery stores, bars, and most restaurants.

3. Miller Genuine Draft

  • Brand: Miller Brewing Company
  • From: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • ABV: 4.6%
  • IBU: 7
  • Featured Hops: Proprietary Light Stable Choice De-bittered Hops and Tetra hops.
  • Taste: Light-bodied with a slightly malty aroma. Negligibly sweet corn and malt flavors. Crisp and smooth with a lightly hopped finish.
  • Where you can find it: Drizly.com, grocery stores, bars, and most restaurants.

4. Bud Light

  • Brand: Anheuser-Busch
  • From: St. Louis, Missouri
  • ABV: 4.2%
  • IBU: 14
  • Featured Hops: Hallertau, Saaz, and Tettnanger, Willamette 
  • Taste: Made with a combination of barley malts and rice using a premium blend of American and European hops. Corn, malt, and rice flavors with a slight hop presence. 
  • Where you can find it: Drizly.com, grocery stores, bars, and most restaurants.

5. Lindeman’s Framboise Lambic

  • Brand: Brouwerij Lindemans
  • From: Brussels, Belgium
  • ABV: 2.5%
  • IBU:  12
  • Featured Hops: Belgian hops from the Poperinge region
  • Taste: Made with raw wheat, malted barley, Belgian hops and raspberry juice. Slightly sour balanced with a sweet, strong raspberry flavor like fresh-picked raspberries in a syrupy juice and a slight hint of caramel. Wonderful for a dessert beer.
  • Where you can find it: Drizly.com.

6. Stella Artois

  • Brand: Anheuser-Busch
  • From: St. Louis, Missouri
  • ABV: 5.0%
  • IBU: 30
  • Featured Hops: Saaz hops
  • Taste: Floral aromas with well-balanced malt sweetness, crisp, citrusy hop bitterness, and a smooth, dry finish.
  • Where you can find it: Drizly.com, grocery stores, and most bars and restaurants.

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