Acid reflux can put a damper on enjoying beer, so we’ve created a list of the best beer for acid reflux so you don’t need to say goodbye to your favorite drink.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is a digestive condition that is often exacerbated by consuming alcoholic beverages. Alcoholic drinks and foods with a high acid content can upset the stomach, causing acid to pass the lower esophageal sphincter and back up into the esophagus. This can cause an uncomfortable burning sensation along with other symptoms.
If you enjoy drinking beer but also have GERD or acid reflux, you know how uncomfortable it can be. While your doctor will tell you to avoid alcoholic beverages to reduce acid reflux and GERD, sometimes, it is nice to have a beer.
When considering beers that are easy on your stomach, there are plenty of options, but you need to know what you’re looking for. In this article, we will offer our suggestions for how to shop for beers that are less likely to upset your stomach or increase acid production. We will then offer you our choices of the best beers for acid reflux and GERD.
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What To Look For In The Best Beer For Acid Reflux
Heartburn, acid reflux and GERD are all very similar. If you suffer from one or more of these, you know just how uncomfortable, even painful, eating and drinking some foods can be.
Knowing that high alcohol content, high acid content, and carbonation can exacerbate the symptoms of acid reflux, you need to select your beer choices carefully. Beer is one of the better alcoholic drinks for acid reflux.
Sure, you can still enjoy a glass of white wine or your favorite tequila drink, but switching to beer can reduce your dependence on antacids. If you have acid reflux or GERD, you will need to shop carefully for beers that won’t make your situation worse.
The goal in shopping for a good beer for acid reflux is to find types of beers that are the least acidic and, if possible, lower in alcohol. The brewing process for lagers makes them lower in acid than ales. Beers that are the absolute best for GERD are lagers that have a higher barley content; these are often called barley malt lagers.
Lighter beers or beers that have sweeter grains are also good options for minimizing the symptoms of GERD when enjoying a beer. When considering light beers, look for those that use pilsner or Vienna-style style malts.
Barley malts lagers are typically more alkaline, containing higher levels of phosphates which naturally buffer acids. Compounds that are alkaline tend to have a value higher than 7.0 on the pH scale; alkaline compounds balance out acids, creating a more neutral condition. High acid-content beers that should be avoided by people with acid reflux, GERD, or heartburn include IPAs, sours, and some farmhouse ales.
When looking at the ingredients of beers that are best for GERD, look for those that use Vienna, pilsner, or similar malt types. These malts are sweeter and produce lighter-colored and lighter-bodied beer. They are also the least acidic style of malts used in beers, but some darker malt beers can be fine for acid reflux as well.
Hops are one of the base ingredients for beer. They also add to the bitterness of a beer, which can flare heartburn or acid reflux. Beers with fewer hops or a lower IBU are generally better for acid reflux than beers like pale ales, IPAs, or hoppy lagers.
It is also a good idea to look for beers that have a lower alcohol content. While barley wines may have a lot of barley, they are always higher in alcohol, which can leave you with an upset stomach.
The price of a beer is only a consideration if you are on a budget. You can find good beers that will work with your GERD that are inexpensive.
There are also some out there that are higher priced. It is more important to find a beer that you enjoy and that you can drink comfortably without causing more discomfort. You might also be interested in our round-up of the best beer for beer batter.
How To Pick The Best Beer For Acid Reflux
For beer drinkers suffering from acid reflux, you need to know how to pick a beer that won’t irritate your stomach. Before you buy a beer, it is good to know the symptoms of GERD or acid reflux, how foods influence stomach acid production, and how to avoid making it worse. Knowing these things about acid reflux can make it easier to find the best beer.
We will start with the basics of GERD or acid reflux. Acid reflux is a very common condition for adults that is frequently caused by environmental conditions, but it can also be genetic. People that suffer from GERD tend to produce more stomach acid than others.
Excess stomach acid production can be influenced by consuming certain foods. Doctors will tell you to avoid spicy foods, high-fat foods, red wine, white wine, citrus fruits, tomatoes, fruit juice, carbonated beverages, and drinking alcohol.
Consuming these foods can aggravate your stomach, causing it to push stomach acid through the lower esophageal sphincter and back up the esophagus toward the mouth. This reverse flow of enzymes from the stomach can damage the lining of the esophagus, causing a variety of symptoms, including:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Chest pain
To limit the symptoms of GERD and to keep acid reflux to a minimum, look for foods that have a higher pH. These foods are alkaline and buffer the acid in your stomach.
When it comes to shopping for beers, look for those that have a higher amount of barley in the ingredients, as they are less acidic than other alcoholic beverages. You will also want to look for beers that have a lower alcohol content since alcohol can irritate your stomach, making acid reflux worse.
Is Beer Bad For Acid Reflux?
Beer is better for acid reflux than many other alcoholic beverages. Many people try to replace their normal alcoholic beverages with alternatives that are supposed to be easier on the stomach.
Non-grain vodkas, tequila, gin, and red wine are particularly difficult for acid reflux. Many people switch from these beverages to beer or white wine because they are easier on the stomach and esophagus.
However, if you are really struggling with the symptoms of acid reflux or you notice that your symptoms are worsening, it is a good idea to remove alcoholic beverages from your diet or reduce alcohol consumption. Your doctor will be able to offer you suggestions on how to reverse or slow the damage from GERD by altering your diet and making lifestyle changes.
Can Ginger Ale Help Acid Reflux?
Ginger ale is well-known to be helpful for setting an upset stomach. However, ginger has a high acid content, and carbonated beverages are not good for acid reflux. If you are struggling with acid reflux, the better solution is to take an antacid to manage your stomach contents.
Then make sure you follow the instructions provided to you by your healthcare provider. If you are looking for a more natural option than antacids to control your acid reflux, peppermint tea is a better choice than ginger ale.
Best Beer For Acid Reflux
Firestone Walker Pivo Pilsner
Firestone Walker is a popular craft beer brewery known for IPAs. However, its Pivo Pils is a great choice for those suffering from acid reflux.
This Italian-style pilsner is low in alcohol and dry-hopped for a bitter finish without the added acidity. You’ll note a floral taste and aroma with this crisp and refreshing pilsner.
- Floral, herbal, and lemongrass-like flavors
- Low acid content
- Generally easy to find and not too expensive
- Lots of bitterness from dry-hopping
- Not great if you don’t love hops
Samuel Adams Boston Lager
Believe it or not, one of the best beers for acid reflux is Sam Adams Boston Lager. This barley malt lager is mild in flavor, low in acid, and easy to drink. It won’t cure your GERD, but it won’t make it worse, either.
Sam Adams Boston Lager is low in alcohol and has just a hint of bitterness from the German Noble hops. This is a unique complement to the heavy barley malt of this American-style amber lager.
- Easy on the stomach
- Great flavor profile of caramel and bready malt
- Mild bitterness from hops
- Easy to find and affordable
- Floral flavors
- Can be too bitter for some people
Pilsner malts, like barley malts, are another mild and sweet grain that is preferred for individuals that suffer from acid reflux or GERD. Pilsner Urquell is one of the oldest beers from the Czech Republic and is a favorite of Europeans.
This light and mild pilsner come with flavors of caramel, bread, florals, and citrus. It is low-alcohol and low-acid, making it an excellent option for hot days and a sensitive stomach.
- Crisp and light with complex flavors
- Just a hint of malty undertones
- Can be hard to find in some places
- Thin bodied
Anchor Brewing Old Foghorn
If you are focused on finding great beers with high barley malt bills, then Anchor Brewing has the perfect beer for your acid reflux. Old Foghorn is a dry-hopped barley wine ale. This beer is sweet but also tart. It has bold fruity flavors and minimal carbonation.
This beer has a warm finish and a perfect balance of hoppy bitterness. The darker malt bill of this beer results in a beer with a unique and striking red color.
- Full-bodied flavor
- Balanced maltiness and bitterness
- Aroma is sweet and earthy
- More bitter than other options
- Alcohol content is pretty high
- Not as easy to find
Jever Pilsener is a traditional style German beer. This lighter beer is easy on your stomach and ideal for acid reflux due to a grain bill high in pilsner grains that are low in acid and high in sugar. This beer is flavored using German Noble hops, which give a hint of citrus on top of the mild bready flavor.
With a low 4.9% ABV, this low-alcohol beer is tasty and refreshing. It does have a slight bitterness at the finish, but this is expected from German beers.
- Good balance of malt and hops
- Low-acid beer option
- Crisp and smooth mouth feel
- Not an easy-to-find German import
- Can be expensive
Heater Allen Pils
Similar in profile to Pilsner Urquell, Heater Allen Pils is a low, 5% ABV American pilsner. If you are looking for a more flavorful option in a light beer, this is a great option. It offers notes of bread, grass, and a slight amount of hoppy bitterness.
- Good Czech-style pilsner
- Low ABV
- Light and crisp flavor
- Heavier malt flavors than most pilsners
- Can be difficult to find
Sierra Nevada Barrel-Aged Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale
Sierra Nevada is usually known for its bitter and bold pale ale. However, if you have acid reflux, you will want to give the brand’s barleywine a try.
The barrel-aged Bigfoot Barleywine ale is a good alternative to barley lagers. This beer is a bit of a cult favorite and can be hard to find. However, if you can get a bottle, you’ll find that it has a strong flavor, more like wine than beer.
- Barley based
- Flavors are sweet and malty
- Perfect for cellaring
- High alcohol content
- Only available in the US
Bell’s Brewing Third Coast Old Ale
Third Coast Old Ale is a barley wine from Bell’s Brewing in Michigan. This beer is a unique offering from a brewery that is most well-known for its IPAs and small-batch craft beers.
When you try this beer, you’ll notice its beautiful red color, aromas of bourbon, caramel, and rye, and hints of bread and dark fruits. This beer is high in alcohol but is a nice option for acid reflux sufferers due to its low-acid content.
- Perfect barley malt profile
- Complex flavors
- Good for cellaring
- High 10.2% ABV
- More hoppy bitterness than other barleywines
Weyerbacher Brewing Co. Insanity
Weyerbacher Brewing’s Insanity is an English style barleywine. This barrel-aged ale has a unique flavor profile. You’ll note flavors of banana, nuts, vanilla, whiskey, and even bubblegum. If you want a beer that is not only easy on your stomach but a unique experience, this is a great pick.
- Smooth and slightly sweet
- Barrel-aged for more complex flavors
- Hard to find
- High ABV
Dovetail Brewing Vienna Lager
Vienna malt is another grain bill that is recommended for reducing acid reflux symptoms when enjoying a beer. Dovetail Brewing Vienna Lager is a nice option if you want something more robust than a pilsner but not as heavy as a barleywine.
This beer is a beautiful copper-colored beverage. It has a smooth and sweet malty flavor with just a hint of hoppy bitterness. The Dovetail Vienna Lager is a great example of a traditional German beer that is low in alcohol and easy to drink.
- Good example of a Vienna lager
- Notes of caramel and malts
- Balanced malt flavors and hop bitterness
- Can be hard to find
- Higher priced than some other beer options
We used a bit of science to test beers that are on our list. Because we do not suffer from acid reflux or GERD, we drank a number of barley malt ales, barleywines, pilsners, and Vienna lagers. We then measured their pH to determine their acidity. You might also be interested in our guide on the best beer for beer cheese.
Why You Can Trust Me
I really enjoy drinking good beer. But I also enjoy helping others find their way to the best beers on the market. My years of experience testing beers and writing about beer give me a unique insight into the beer industry and what makes a great beer.