Following up to my Gluten Free Beer post the other day, BellaOnline has a better article on the topic. Not only does the article go into more detail on the alternative grains one can use to brew gluten free beer, but there’s also a much better list of brewers and beers.
The most common substitutions for gluten-rich grains are: buckwheat and sorghum; rice, maize, corn, and sunflower; amaranth, flax, millet, quinoa, teff, wild rice, soybean, ragi, and rape. Sorghum and buckwheat are the most common ones used in Western gluten-free beer.
Sorghum is native to Northeast Africa, and followed the trade routes through India and China on its way to America. It is a vigorous grass that tolerates dry weather, and is commonly used as one of the ingredients in African beer. Buckwheat is an herb of the Buckwheat family Polygonaceae, and has origins in central and western China. Its small beechnuts are milled, which separates the edible groats from their hulls. These groats are then roasted and used as a grain product. Buckwheat blossoms have a high nectar content, and are often found in conjunction with beekeeping farms.