Beer sweet beer, how you always make me happy when you touch my lips..mmmm…. But, in order for that beer to make it that far, it must be vegan. Many beers today are not vegan or vegetarian. Beer, in its most simple form is made up of four simple ingredients water, malt, hops and yeast. Once the brewing process starts, that is where the trouble can begin. Many non-vegan items are used in the final stages of brewing.
Here is a list of the most common animal products that are used in brewing:
· Isinglass – Clarifier that is very common in brewing. Comes from the dried swim bladders of fish. Almost all cask conditioned ale uses isinglass as a clarifier, although it is more common in England than the U.S.
· Gelatin – Clarifier obtained from the skin, connective tissue, and bones of animals. Typically taken from cattle and frozen pigskin.
· Casein/Potassium Caseinate – Protein found in cow milk used as a clarifier.
· Charcoal – Used for filtering. A portion is usually produced from animal bones.
· Diatomaceous earth – Used in filtering. Comes from fossils or sea shells.
· Insects – Made into dyes and used for coloring.
· Glyceryl monostearate – Animal derived substance used to control foam.
· Pepsin – Also used to control foam; it is sometimes derived from pork.
· White sugar – Flavor additive often whitened using bone charcoal.
· Albium – Refers to any protein that is water soluble. Most common type in brewing is serum albumin, which is taken from animal blood.
· Lactose – Beers labeled as sweet, milk, or cream stouts may or may not contain lactose. Sometimes the description refers to the texture and not the ingredient. It's best to double check these to be sure. Milk chocolate is common in certain styles, but some so-called "chocolate" porters or stouts actually contain no real chocolate at all. Some malted barley is called "chocolate malt" simply to describe the flavor the roasting imparts.
For a complete listing of vegan friendly beers, you can visit www.barnivore.com and as always- use your best judgment and contact the brewery.
Vegan Friendly (just a few): Alaskan Brewery, Allagash Brewing, Anchor Brewing, Chimay, Doe Equis, Kona Brewing, Lost Coast
Non-Vegan Friendly (just a few): Madcap Brewery, Newcastle Brown Ale, Pacific Coast Brewery, Red Stripe,
Again- these are just a few (and some of my favorite)….too bad about red stripe =(