What Makes Beer Vegan? or Not Vegan?

Sometimes animal products pop up in the strangest places. Beer being one of them. The ingredients listed below are commonly used to treat beer during the brewing process. We go into detail below, and tried to keep it fairly simple without going neck-deep in the brewing process.

Before the internet it would have been extremely difficult to find which beers are vegan and which are not. Luckily there are many sites that pool info from their users to compile fairly complete lists of vegan options. The most thorough is Check it out and see if your favorite brew is on there!

-Isinglass is used as to stabilize the foam or head and clarify beer. It comes from the swimbladders of fish (usually sturgeon) that are harvested for food. Collagen is the active ingredient that is gained from the bladders. This is more common in European beers than American brews (Guiness and Kronenbourg both use isinglass). Luckily the fish aren't caught just for their bladders!

-Gelatin as you probably know is a vegan no-no. It's made by extracting the collagen from the hides and bones of farm animals. The collagen does the same thing in beer that isinglass does, stabilize and clarify.

-Bone char is used to filter beer. Char is exactly what it sounds like, burnt bones. The process runs the beer through a bone char filter to remove impurities. This is the same process that makes processed sugar not vegan, but the sugar is heated to the point of it being liquid.

-Honey is sometimes used as a sweetener for beer. Who wants sweet beer?

Keeping these ingredients in mind, it isn't very common for beer to have an ingredient list on the bottle. Do your research before you tie one on and you'll only wake up with a hangover.

Lagunitas is a beer company that prints their ingredients on the label, "12 fluid ounces of malt, hops, yeast and water." And it's my favorite!

Cheers! Stay Vegan!

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