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Cheers for Vegan Beer!

Posted by at 4:20 PM | Permalink | Comments (9)


Cheers for Vegan Beer! by Laura FriskI was talking with a friend about a great beer I had just purchased. She asked me if it was vegan. I had no idea. Somehow, I was always up to date on whether the wines I drank were vegan, but being a new beer drinker, I didn’t even realize that some of the very same animals products used in producing wines were also used in beer production. I thought that beer was made using nothing more than water, malt, hops, and yeast.

So I decided to do a little research. I found lists of so many possible animal products used in beer production that I am much more diligent now when choosing my beer. The following is a list of those possible animal ingredients:

Albumin: derived from eggs or dried blood

Casein/Caseinate: derived from milk

Charcoal: sometimes derived from bone

Colorings: sometimes derived from insects

Glyceryl Monostearate: an anti-foaming agent that sometimes is an animal derivative

Isinglass: swim bladders from fish

Lactose and lactobacillus (lactic acid)

Gelatin: made from bones, skin, and tendons

Pepsin: a heading agent sometimes derived from pork

Sugar: white sugar is often whitened using bone charcoal

Honey: derived from bees

I also found some great Web sites that give us numerous choices of vegan beers, detail which beers contain animal products, and much more. Here are few of the sites that I found helpful:

  • Vegan beer section of Vegan Connection: This site provides a handy list of vegan beers that you can print out and carry with you on shopping trips. Scroll to the bottom of the list, and you will find a link to vegan wines as well.
  • Barnivore: This site provides information on the nonvegan products in your beer, current updates to the list above (Vegan Connection), as well as a spot for you to input your own findings to help in updating the site.
  • Vegan Vanguard’s Beer Section: This site is full of useful information. It has the brewery’s name, whether the brewery’s beer is vegan, and possible concerns pertaining to other animal rights issues.

For even more Web sites with vegan beer info, simply Google the words “vegan beer,” and many more sites pop up.

My vegan lifestyle choice was made because of animal rights issues. Every single day, my decisions are influenced by my belief in PETA’s credo—the fact that animals are not ours to use for food, clothing, entertainment, or experimentation or for any other reason. And that means everything—right down to the beer I drink.

Do you have a favorite vegan beer?

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9 Comments

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    Bersdale says...

    March 12th, 2010, 5:02 pm

    Corona Light with lime!!! Also, Barnivore rocks.

    Hanna says...

    March 12th, 2010, 5:57 pm

    I may very well be mistaken but lactobaccilus isn’t neceessarily an animal by-product. It’s a gram-positive bacteria found, not only in organisms digestive systems (us included) but also in plants. It’s the bacteria that makes sourdough starters and sauerkraut “sour”. Is there something that i’m missing that makes this bacteria non-vegan? also, thanks for the website links, very helpful indeed.

    Daniel says...

    March 12th, 2010, 7:41 pm

    Aren’t the most common sources of lactic acid corn starch and beet sugar?

    Natalie says...

    March 12th, 2010, 8:32 pm

    Amstel Light is my go-to vegan beer… most bars serve it, so doesn’t even require much of a thought :]

    Jacob Dijkstra, M.D. says...

    March 13th, 2010, 2:40 pm

    Very useful information. Is there any information about alcohol-free beer?

    Dianne says...

    March 13th, 2010, 6:04 pm

    Thank you so much for this information! Not many people give this issue much thought assuming that no alcohol contains any animal by products unless they add the dairy themselves.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you! :)

    Sherif Hamdy says...

    March 15th, 2010, 6:10 pm

    Here is some more information on veg beer to answer some of your questions above.

    http://animal-ingredients.tripod.com/chapter_5.htm

    http://www.askcarla.com/answers.asp?QuestionandanswerID=362

    Also any German beer should be vegan because purity laws in that country limit manufacturers to four ingredients (water, grain, hops, and yeast). Some beers from other countries use animal ingredients or processing agents—including pepsin from pigs’ stomachs to make foam and fish bladders to “clear” beer.

    Hope that helps!

    Sandra Deneault says...

    March 30th, 2010, 3:25 pm

    I certainly enjoy knowing about vegan beers…
    thanks a lot…..

    Marie says...

    May 10th, 2010, 9:31 pm

    Wow. Who knew. Thank goodness I haven’t been drinking beer much. Glad to See Sam Adams has a stout on the “ok for Vegans” list. I guess my (formerly?) beloved Guinness Stout is out of the question? I’ve written them to ask about animal-based ingredients. (shedding an Irish tear)

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