Friday, December 4, 2009

Vegan Beer, REALLY?

Last night, upon stopping by and chatting with my favorite bartender, I learned that at least some vegans apply their beliefs not only to their food but also to their BEER.

My first question, and maybe yours, too, is how is beer NOT vegan? I’ve yet to run across a beer brewed with bacon (but just think of the possibilities!!) and although if brett is used in the brewing you may get a cheese smell, there isn’t actually cheese in it.

The answer apparently has to do with the filtering process. Isinglass is commonly used to filter beer and like many things in this world, the name doesn’t give a hint as to what it is actually made of. So here it is: the dried swim bladders of fish. According to Wikipedia, it was originally made exclusively from sturgeon, but later on the process was refined so that cod could be used as a much cheaper substitute.

So there you go.


  1. Apparently Surly uses this. A vegan guy I know is very upset. His loss though. On an unrelated not I am organizing us fellow Mpls/StP beer blogger to a gathering at Stub and Herbs sometime in January. Captains Chair, Legal Beer, Beet This and the Bearded Brewer are all on deck so if you want to join us email me. My website is

  2. Gross, right? Same with white sugar...filtered over animal bones.

    {shuddering & forgetting}