As I have stated in other posts on this site, I am not a vegetarian or vegan, but as I love food and drink and general I am always interested in trying new things. I have a couple of friends who donâ€™t get online regularly who asked me about vegan beer. I really thought they were pulling my leg a bit as they are vegan and we have jokes about the vegan alternatives of things that are available and usually make stuff up.
They insisted that vegan beer was real, which got me intrigued because if there is anything I love as much as food, it is beer. I was interested in how the taste might be affected but also thinking a bit more on the subject I didnâ€™t actually have a clue as to what made beer non-vegetarian as there are no specific, obvious meat products ingredients in amongst the normal mixture of hops etc.
It turns out the main problem from a vegetarian and vegan point of view with beers is how it is processed and filtered. For this process, animal products are often used.
Now, my friends are particular strict with their vegan diet, so just because they want to avoid anything at all that uses animal products, thatâ€™s their choice. But if you are looking for vegan-friendly beers, it helps to learn the few tricks I did when looking for my friends.
The most common animal products used in beer production are gelatine and isinglass, the former is the same stuff used in jelly and other things like that and comes from smashed bones, while isinglass comes from fish bladders and they are used as finings and is what the beer is passed through during the refining and filtering process.
If you want to avoid picking a beer that isnâ€™t vegan friendly therefore, there are some things you should keep in mind.
Where the Beer Is Produced
Beers that are made in the US are typically made without the use of animal products. Similarly, as Germany has strict laws on purity meaning that only yeast, hops, wheat, barley and water should be used in beer production, you can be sure that the majority of German and Belgium beers are vegan-friendly. This, as any beer lover will know, is great news as some of the best beers in the world come from those 2 countries.
However, if you find a beer that is cask-treated or traditional English style, they have been most likely made using gelatine, casein or isinglass. Therefore most British and Irish beers are not vegan-friendly.
If you donâ€™t want to or donâ€™t have a list with you to check the brands or ingredients that make beers non-vegan, there is a simpler way to figure it out. Just remember that any beer that is unrefined or unfiltered will be vegan and choose Belgian, German or American beers; while being cautious when it comes to Irish and British varieties.