When people hear that beer isn’t always necessarily vegan, we see their faces twist in abject confusion: ‘But…why?’
Like many of the oddities in this world, it’s true. Beer is not always entirely plant-based and vegan-friendly.
PlantX comes to the rescue here, as we stock ample delicious and interesting plant-based beers for you to explore. Crack open a cold can, cheers!
Why Is Beer Not Always Vegan-Friendly?
The key ingredients of beer tend to be hops, water, sugar, barley malt, and yeast. Seems vegan-friendly right? Frustratingly, not always.
Sometimes a non-vegan-friendly beer will be relatively obvious: if the recipe includes the addition of honey from bees or dairy products such as milk in certain beers like milk stouts.
However, to the untrained eye, some non-vegan beers will slip under the radar. This is because animal products can also come into the picture in the process of storing the beer in barrels the traditional way.
Some beer brewers add something called ‘finings’ to the fermenting beer at this point, the purpose of which is to clarify the beer in the barrel.
Finings can be derived from plant-based sources like moss, but some brewers use finings from animal products such as gelatin and isinglass (an ingredient derived from fish).
To achieve that perfect foamy head on a beer, some brewers add glycerol to the beer towards the end of the brewing process. Glycerol is an ingredient that comes from animal fats, so something you definitely want to avoid as a vegan!
Problematically, lots of brewers won’t necessarily include this information on the labels of their beers, meaning that you may be drinking a non-vegan beer without realizing it.
It’s time to become acquainted with some of the excellent breweries out there who are working hard to produce great plant-based beer for us insatiable vegans!
The best plant-based beers
So, we’ve established that not all beer is vegan. Annoying, we know! Fortunately, we feel your pain at PlantX and so we’ve endeavored to stock what we see as the best selection of plant-based beer out there so we vegans never have to miss out.
Here are some of our favorite vegan-friendly beers for you to treat yourself to:
1. Delahunt Brewing - 1924 Blonde
Sporting a classicly cool mustard label, this unique plant-based beer is definitely a treat for the tastebuds.
Elderflower, herbal tea, and juicy melon are some of the notes that waft through the palette with this blonde, and the overall effect is a light, crisp and floral beer. Perfect for a picnic on a sunny day!
Todd Delahunt, the brewer of this tasty plant-based beer, has spent many years supporting animal rights causes and is a great ally to the vegan cause.
2. Ketch Brewery - Celestial Navigation
Beautifully named, this special plant-based IPA is perfect served ice-cold looking at an awe-inspiring nature vista. We reckon this is the kind of plant-based beer you want to have at the top of a mountain climb with a dear buddy.
Titillatingly fruity, this vegan beer has funky notes of guava, blueberry, and pineapple. We love a bit of fruit power!
3. Hopworks Urban Brewery - Golden Hammer Lager
The first lager on our list, this amazing beer made by Hopworks Urban Brewery is a plant-based beer triumph!
Warming, biscuity, with a hint of vegan-friendly honey flavor from the high-grade Organic Perle hops used in the recipe, this lager is a winner for post-work drinks or for sharing round at a BBQ.
We are big fans of Hopworks Urban Brewery, as they strive to be a socially and environmentally conscious company, and also use organic and sustainably sourced ingredients for their delicious plant-based beers. What more could we ask for?
4. Schilling Hard Cider - London Dry Cider
Ok, ok. Look, we know this list is technically for the best plant-based beers, but we couldn’t help but slip in this wonderful choice for the cider lovers out there.
Made using only locally sourced apples, this fantastically dry cider is tart, sharp, and intensely appley.
A truly powerful option for the cider drinkers of the world, founder Colin Schilling crafts his cider to create unique flavors to challenge people’s palettes. Burst a cold one of these open at a street party, or mull it with spices when it comes round to Fall!
5. Mammoth Brewing - Golden Trout Kolsch
Another favorite plant-based beer brand of ours has to be Mammoth Brewing. A twist on a German classic, Mammoth Brewing is based in California and produces fail-safe delicious plant-based beers for your enjoyment. Isn’t life a beach?
The Golden Trout Kolsch is made with Saaz, one of the four original Noble hops which is used in Czech, German and Belgian beer brewing.
Smooth, dry, and gently floral, this Kolsch is one to keep stocked in the fridge at all times in case of an impromptu get-together, a cause for celebration, or indeed, anything at all, as this Kolsch doesn’t need a reason to be drunk!
6. Lead Dog Brewing Co - Citra Solo IPA
Like an explosion of the Tropics in your mouth, this gorgeous plant-based IPA beer is an undeniable favorite amongst the PlantX team.
Don’t be fooled by the zest and zing of this beer’s mango and passionfruit notes, this beer is 6.4% ABV. And its strength is not to be underestimated!
Perfect for a boozy boost at a party or lively gathering, a couple of cans of this tropical goodness and you’ll be busting out bad dance moves all night.
7. Ketch Brewing - Hazy Conditions New England Style IPA
Another stunner from Ketch Brewing, this delicate IPA is made with Cashmere, Amarillo and Mosaic hops for the ultimate body of flavor and spectrum of notes. A very special plant-based beer, this one.
Oats and wheat have been added to this beer during the brewing process, for that thick, creamy, velvety touch. Like silk, this IPA will slip down your throat with ease!
Ideal for a fun night that has the potential for adventure, enjoying by a river, or sipping away on alongside a summer salad, this IPA is a real treat for vegans and non-vegans alike.
8. Mammoth Brewing - Yosemite Pale Ale
Inspired by the glorious Mammoth Lakes in Yosemite, this fabulous brewery has churned out yet another off-the-chart plant-based pale ale.
Fruity hops flavors, crisp, perfectly carbonated, and refreshing, this pale ale ticks all the boxes of good beer for us at PlantX.
We recommend waiting ‘til you’re immersed in some soul-cleansing nature till you open this bad boy. Trust us, when you’re looking over an awesome view, crack one of these open and you will be truly complete!
Three Cheers For Plant-Based Beers!
Beer enhances pretty much any moment in life, and despite some of the beers on the market not being vegan-friendly, there are so many amazing choices that are vegan-friendly that we can’t help but feel pretty excited.
So many breweries are making more effort to produce vegan friendly, entirely plant-based beers that don’t exclude vegans, and lots of companies are labeling their products better so that vegans can feel clear about what they’re able to drink. This is a celebration of some of those breweries, thanks for joining us in the cause!
What a wild range of magnificent plant-based beers we have explored. From blondes to IPAs, to Kolsch, to even a cheeky cider nestled in there, to our old friend the humble lager. We hope you enjoy dipping your toes into the world of plant-based beer, it’s a thrilling one!