Vegan beer. Seems simple right? Most people do not know that not all beer is vegan. If you are surprised to learn this and want to know a good vegan beer to drink then stick around. We will discuss some major brands of beer, share with you our favorite vegan beer, and give you some tips on how to read the labels.
First, let’s talk about what would make a beer not be vegan. Common sense would dictate that you only need barley, water, hops and yeast to make beer right? How can that not be vegan? Well it should be as simple as that. But never underestimate the ability of food distributors to use animals in everything. So what makes beer vegan or non vegan?
–Isinglass comes from the bladder of fish. Typically sturgeon, but other fish are often used as well. It is used as to stabilize the foam or head. They also use it to clarify the beer. Collagen is the main ingredient from the bladders and it’s used in a lot of other foods besides beer. Using Isinglass is mainly found in European beers but you will also find it in some US beers as well.
–Gelatin isn’t vegan and most vegans know this. You get collagen by extracting it from the hides and bones of animals. They use collagen for the same reason that isinglass is used, to stabilize and clarify the beer.
–Bone char is used to filter things. It is the reason sugar isn’t vegan. They also use it to filter beer. Char is exactly what you think it would be. Burnt bones. The beer makers run the beer through a bone char filter to remove impurities.
–Honey is sometimes used in beer. But you can usually spot the beers that use it pretty easily. But sometimes it will show up in beers you would not expect.
Below are some of the most common beers and brewing companies in the US that are vegan to get you started:
Budweiser and Bud Light
Coors and Coors Light
Lagunitas Brewing Company
Samuel Adams Boston Lager
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
Thankfully there is an easy way to find vegan beer and check to see if your favorite alcohol meets the vegan standard. The miracle of modern technology and the entrepreneurial spirit combine to bring you one of the most helpful websites ever. Barnivore is a database of beer and other alcohol that you can search. If you have a favorite beer or cocktail you can simply search for it and know in seconds if it’s vegan or not.