There’s nothing like the refreshing taste of a cold beer, especially as the weather starts to get warmer.
But if you’re vegan, you might be wondering whether this popular beverage is compatible with your diet.
Many alcoholic beverages – like wine, for example – are often not vegan-friendly because of animal products used in the production process.
Therefore, it makes sense to be unsure whether vegans can drink beer or not.
If you want to find out whether beer is vegan, keep reading! We will be explaining which beers are vegan-friendly (and why).
As well as which beers to avoid if you lead a plant-based lifestyle.
Which Beers Are Vegan?
The good news for vegans who love beer is that you can absolutely find vegan-friendly beers in your local bars or grocery store.
For many vegans, the idea that beer might not be vegan is confusing because.
On the surface, all the ingredients you would expect to find in beer (barley malt, hops, yeast, sugar, rice, wheat, maize, and water) are all suitable for vegans.
However, in order for a beer to be considered vegan, it must not have been filtered using any animal products.
As we will see later, this is actually quite common in beer production, so it’s important to know which brands use parts of animals to filter their beer.
Luckily, because of the rise of veganism throughout the world, more manufacturers are trying to avoid involving animal products so that more customers will buy their beers.
Examples of beer brands that are vegan-friendly include:
- San Miguel
- Red Stripe
- Stella Artois
The list goes on, but as you can see, there is no shortage of vegan beer in the alcoholic drinks market.
Which Beers Are Not Vegan?
As we mentioned above, the main thing that separates vegan beer from non-vegan beer is the filtration process.
Until recently, it was standard for beer manufacturers to filter their beer using fish bladders.
While this process is still used today, many popular brands (Guinness, for example) have stopped using this method of filtration.
But fish bladders aren’t the only animal product you need to worry about when it comes to beer and veganism.
Some brands add other finings (processing aids) to their beer to remove impurities, such as gelatin, which is made from the bones and tissues of cows.
Another cow byproduct you might find in beer (although this is less common) is the milk protein, casein.
Lactose is sometimes also included. Finally, some beer brands color their beer using carmine, which is a red food coloring derived from insects.
Understandably, it can be difficult to navigate this minefield of animal-derived beer ingredients as a vegan.
One of the best ways to avoid consuming any animal products by accident is to know which beer brands are not vegan-friendly as well as which ones are suitable for vegans.
Beer brands that are not vegan include:
- Kronenbourg 1664
- Coors Light
Again, this is by no means an exhaustive list, but if you’re vegan, you should avoid these popular brands.
How To Tell If A Beer Is Vegan?
In an ideal world, it would be easy to tell if a specific beer is vegan because the ingredients (including animal products) would be clearly listed on the label. Sadly, this is not usually the case.
While food manufacturers are required by law to provide a full list of ingredients, including allergens.
That are present or could be present in each product, the same is not true for alcoholic beverages.
Although many companies are now making an effort to label their products as vegan-friendly where this is the case.
Not all manufacturers are doing this, so vegans can have a difficult time working out whether their old favorite beer is suitable for them.
Luckily, there are several online databases, such as Barnivore that will tell you whether your favorite alcoholic beverage is suitable for vegans or not.
However, these databases don’t include every single alcoholic drink, so if your choice of beer is more niche, you might struggle to work out if it’s vegan using this method.
If you can’t find information about a specific beer, you can always try reaching out to the manufacturer directly.
They will be able to provide you with details about the ingredients in their beer as well as the filtration methods that they use.
So you can make an informed decision about your beer choices as a vegan.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Homebrew Vegan Beer?
If you are struggling to find a vegan beer that you enjoy, you do have the option of homebrewing your own beer.
You can buy beer-making kits online for reasonable prices.
These kits allow you to create your own beer in the quantities you want, and you also get full control over the ingredients, which is great if you have any dietary requirements.
Is Beer Usually Vegan?
These days, it seems that most beer is suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
This is because more and more brands are moving away from traditional methods of filtration that use animal byproducts and towards more vegan-friendly production methods.
With that being said, it’s always a good idea to check if a beer is vegan if you’re unsure because it’s not guaranteed to be vegan.
You can verify this information through online databases or by contacting the manufacturer.
Should Vegans Drink Beer?
The choice of whether to drink alcohol, including beer, as a vegan, is totally up to you.
Many people see veganism as a health-conscious diet, but for many people, being vegan is more of an ethical choice than a health kick.
Therefore, you should think about your reasons for going vegan and whether drinking alcohol aligns with that.
If you’re vegan, you can still drink beer! Many beer brands are suitable for vegans, including some of the most popular names on the market.
However, some beer manufacturers still add animal byproducts to their beer for filtration and coloring purposes.
If you can’t find any information on the label, a quick online search should tell you whether a beer is vegan-friendly. If all else fails, you can reach out to the company directly to find out.