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Can Vegans Drink Beer?

Yes, but not all beers! Believe it or not, many breweries still use powdered fish bladders, aka isinglass, to filter their beers (I knew there was something fishy going on…)! Now, you and I know that the only good place for a fish bladder is inside a fish, which is why vegan beer brands have come up with a number of great alternatives so vegans can enjoy beer too.

For instance, there’s the Lead Dog Brewing Co. - Citra Solo IPA, which is simply unfiltered. By not filtering the brew, these vegan beers are able to avoid the need for isinglass altogether and achieve subtlety and complexity of flavor that can otherwise be lost in the filtration process. And don’t worry, unfiltered vegan-friendly beer, like this gold medal-certified IPA, is still totally clean and safe to drink.

How are Vegan Beers Made?

So maybe you still like the sound of a vegan filtered beer? Well then don’t worry. There are numerous plant-based beers that use an alternative, vegan-friendly filtering methods for clarifying and fining their beers. The most common of these is ‘whirlfloc’ - a combination of ‘Irish moss’ and purified ‘carrageenan’ - derived from a kind of seaweed that grows on the shores of Europe and America. Whirlfloc provides a perfect, plant-based alternative to fishy isinglass for making your beer less cloudy! Now I don’t know about you, but all this salty talk of seaweed is making me very thirsty…

How to Choose Vegan Beer?

The vegan beer market is big and many big brands are now vegan-friendly. However, for the best vegan beers, it’s worth considering other factors that might make a plant-based beer more sustainable. Of course, there are significant ethical and ecological benefits to choosing beer brewed without using fish products. For one thing, the thought of a fish bladder floating about in my IPA is really gross! Second, by using plant-based alternatives, vegan beer brands can help us limit the devastating effects that fishing can have on our oceans.

But the benefits don’t stop there! Many vegan-friendly beers are made with eco-friendly and sustainable ingredients, like the Hopworks Urban Brewery Tree - Powell Cryo IPA. Like a growing number of craft breweries in the USA, Hopworks Urban Brewery makes its beers using Salmon-Safe hops, which are grown using sustainable farming practices designed to protect salmon and other marine life from harmful pesticides and habitat loss, as well as erosion. So not only does a delicious vegan-friendly beer make for happy drinkers, but it also makes for a whole lot of happy fish! So when it comes to choosing your beer, look out for the other signs of sustainability and ethical brewing practices.

But if you want a quick way to find a good selection of vegan beers, try some of the products we stock here on PlantX:

Hopworks Urban Brewery - Powell Cryo IPA
Hopworks Urban Brewery - Robot Panda Hazy IPA
Hopworks Urban Brewery - Golden Hammer Lager
Lead Dog Brewing Co. - Citra Solo IPA

Related Products

So maybe you’re not a huge beer fan, but you still like the sound of a vegan-friendly, plant-based alcoholic tipple? Then we’d recommend Schilling Hard Cider - London Dry Cider for a refreshing vegan brew. Alternatively, if you like beer but want to steer clear of alcohol, then Gruvi - Non-Alcoholic Pale Ale might just be the perfect, vegan-friendly non-alc for you!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is gluten a key ingredient in beer?

Be careful! As with all beers, unless specifically stated on the label, most vegan beers do contain gluten, as they are produced using the same glutenous ingredients, such as barley, wheat, or rye. There are gluten-free vegan beers available on the market, but always check for pesky allergens.

Is beer considered to be plant-based?

Beers are brewed by fermenting hops, wheat, or various other grains. Therefore they are technically plant-based. However, some non-vegan beers use animal products during other parts of the brewing process. The main things to look out for and avoid are isinglass (fish bladder), gelatin, glycerin, and casein, as these are all animal products that are sometimes used in brewing. Also, be aware that some beers might be flavored with honey or dairy, so always read the label!

Does beer need to be refrigerated after opening?

Assuming you actually have a good reason not to just finish your beer like a real person, yes it is advisable to refrigerate your beer after opening it. Beware, however, that once open, your beer might start going flat, so put a stopper in the bottle to maintain the fizz.

Does vegan beer taste any different?

Absolutely not! The animal products sometimes used in the brewing process are mainly used for clarification and filtration which means that vegan alternatives don’t necessarily have a different flavor. Many vegan craft beers are also made with locally sourced, organic ingredients, so they often taste better than the alternative.

Are there vegan varieties of all kinds of beer?

100% yes. Vegan beer brands make pale ales, lagers, pilsners, bitters, dark ales, wheat beers, stouts, you name it! There is no reason for any type of beer not to be made in a vegan-friendly way without animal products.

How can I find out which vegan beer brands are Salmon-safe?

The Salmon-Safe organization’s website contains a list of all breweries participating in the Salmon-Safe scheme. They all use sustainable farming methods to protect salmon and only Salmon-safe hops to flavor their beers - everything to make them more eco-friendly!