What is vegan beer?
On a sunny day, on a terrace with friends, who wouldn’t like a good beer? This drink is one of the most consumed throughout history; moreover, it has been evolving and is one of the most produced and consumed products in all regions.
At present, Germany, the United Kingdom, Poland and Spain are the leading beer-producing countries, while the Germans, the English and the Spanish are the main consumers. The problem is that many are not suitable for veganism; therefore, below we are going to show you everything you need to know about vegan beers.
- 1 What are vegan beers?
- 2 How is Vegan beer made?
- 3 How to tell if a beer is vegan
- 4 Why are many beers not vegan?
- 5 Beer brands suitable for vegans
- 6 Why don’t the ingredients include fish glue or gelatine?
- 7 Benefits of beer
- 8 Ecology vs. craftsmanship
- 9 Other drinks that vegans can’t drink
What are vegan beers?
Although the traditional elements of beer are barley, water, hops and yeast, there are other elements used in the brewing of this drink, some of which are in contrast to the vegan lifestyle.
Vegan beers are those brewed and packaged in a way that does not contribute to animal suffering; in this case, the filtering process of these beverages is not done with fish glue or other animal elements, although it is a process that can be substituted to avoid animal exploitation.
In this way, you can accompany all your vegan recipes with a very drink without having to worry about whether there are animal products involved in the process or not; you will know at all times that these are vegan beers.
How is Vegan beer made?
Are you aware of veganism? One of the advantages of beer is that the process of making these vegan products is not very different from the traditional one. All you have to do is avoid animal elements in the brewing and testing process, as well as in the filtering process. In the latter case, what you do is replace the use of fish glue with filters of vegetable origin.
Beer is mainly composed of 4 ingredients: water (90%), barley (main cereal), hops (plant that provides the bitter taste to the drink) and yeast (single-cell organisms).
- Water: it must be drinkable and filtered, to eliminate any possible impurities; furthermore, the content must be adjusted according to the desired style of beer. To make this drink, the first thing to do is to use water in the mashing process.
- Barley: provides the sugars needed for fermentation; it also gives the beer its color, body, flavor and aroma. During this process, the barley is crushed in a mill to open the grains and extract all the sugars; then it is weighed and hot water is used.
- Hops: This ingredient is responsible for giving the beer a bitter taste; those with a higher amount of alpha acids give the drink a greater bitterness, while those with a lower amount give flavor and aroma.
- Yeast: it produces alcohol, CO2 and esters during fermentation; when it is finished, it begins a maturing and conditioning stage so that, after bottling or its storage in the barrel, it can be consumed.
None of these ingredients are of animal origin, which is why many people think that beer is suitable for the vegan lifestyle. However, other animal-based ingredients are included during the brewing process, especially during fermentation to facilitate clarification; they are also included for preservation, colouring and flavour.
How to tell if a beer is vegan
The problem with beer is that its brewing process is not included on any label, so you cannot tell if it has been brewed with animal ingredients. In these cases, the only thing you can do is ask the manufacturer and have him inform you about it.
In order to know if a beer is vegan, it must include the V-Label certificate, a guarantee stamp from the European Union that verifies that this drink has not been made with any product of animal origin; even so, those made in microbreweries and industrial factories do not require this stamp, even though they do not use these animal elements. Therefore, when in doubt, it is best to go to the manufacturer and have him tell you about the manufacturing process.
On the other hand, applications such as Vgan, VeggieBeers or VegeTipple, for Android, or Vegaholic and Green Vegan, for Iphone, allow you to consult the beers that are vegan, so that you can make the perfect choice when you go to the bar.
Why are many beers not vegan?
During the 19th century, fish glue was first used to make beer, an ingredient obtained from the swim bladders of some fish such as sturgeon and cod.
In this way, the yeast and other particles go faster to the bottom of the fermentation tank and thus can be quickly removed. Other companies use meat gelatine or egg whites for clarification; in addition, to control foam they can use glycerol, of animal or vegetable origin, obtained from the lining of the stomach of pigs and cattle.
On the other hand, to give the taste you want you can use white sugar, in the process of which animal bones, lactose or insects, such as cochineal, are used to give the beer its characteristic color.
Beer brands suitable for vegans
Below are some brands of beer that are vegan and therefore highly recommended for those who do not want to include any type of animal ingredient in their manufacturing process.
- Guinness: after more than 200 years with the same manufacturing process, in 2017 they decided to modify this procedure, maintaining the original recipe; in this way, their taste has not changed and, nowadays, you can drink a good Guinness beer, on tap, with the peace of mind that they do not have any animal ingredients. For now, those sold in cans and bottles continue to be made with fish glue, although they are also working to eliminate it.
- Veer: this artisan beer was born in the last decade and is an initiative of a couple who wanted to manage all the brewing processes and create a unique drink made 100% with raw materials of organic origin.
In addition, there are many other brands that do not use ingredients of animal origin in its production: Heineken, Budweiser, Brahama, Super Bock, Amstel and Buckler, among others. On the other hand, among the beers produced in Spain we would find Estrella Galicia, Alhambra, Mahou, Moritz, Estrella Damm or Cruzcampo, for example.
These brands do not include any stamp or certificate on their packaging to prove that they do not use components of animal origin, although the manufacturers themselves claim that this is the case; for its part, BrewDog indicates on its label that its bottles are suitable for Vegan consumption.
It is also important to note that, although its composition is vegan, Mahou, Cruzcampo, Estrella Damm, Estrella Galicia, San Miguel and Heineken have sponsored events related to bullfighting, so if you do not want to have anything to do with brands linked to animal abuse, it is best to avoid consumption of these beers.
Why don’t the ingredients include fish glue or gelatine?
The regulations governing the labelling of beers and other alcoholic drinks do not make it compulsory to include these components on the labels, since they are considered to be an agent and not an ingredient.
Benefits of beer
Beer is a social drink, it is usually drunk more in groups, and if consumed in moderation, it has great health benefits. This drink is rich in carbohydrates and antioxidants; it also contains B vitamins, such as folic acid, which are essential for the nervous system and cell regeneration.
Similarly, it includes minerals such as silicon, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, proteins and soluble fibre. On the other hand, it prevents the appearance of cholesterol, type II diabetes and kidney stones, while helping to protect the body from cardiovascular disease.
Ecology vs. craftsmanship
When talking about vegan beers, it is very common to confuse the term ecological with the term artisan. A drink can be ecological and industrial or it can be handmade but not ecological.
The fact that the beer is organic refers to the ingredients with which it has been produced, just as it is necessary to know whether it comes from organic farming or not.
On this occasion, these drinks must be made with raw materials that have an organic certificate issued by an official body; in other words, that no synthetic chemicals have been used or have been genetically modified, or that allow the environment to be preserved and soil fertility to be maintained or increased. In the case of beer, only barley and hops must be organic.
A craft beer refers to the fact that it has been brewed by hand or with the minimal help of a machine; however, non-organic or animal products can be used in this process, something you should avoid if you want a vegan drink.
Other drinks that vegans can’t drink
In addition to beer, many other beverages have been made from animal products; for example, egg white and casein, a milk protein that gives it a taste of natural flavor, are used to make wine and champagne.
On the contrary, vegans can drink brandy, gin, rum, whisky, vodka and tequila; in addition, there are many vegan wines available today for you to enjoy.
Now that you know what vegan beers are, don’t forget to get your own when you go to the supermarket; this way you can enjoy a rich and healthy drink while maintaining your vegan lifestyle.