Showing all articles in 'Vegan Beer'

Is yeast vegan?

Is yeast vegan?

Written by Oliver Coningham on 6 February 2017 in Vegan Beer

After explaining to others why beer isn't vegan, some will often question the suitability of yeast. Is this single cell organism with the ability to reproduce a valid reason for vegans not to drink beer?

Yeast are eukaryotic microorganisms classified as part of the fungi kingdom. Neither animal or plant, yeast are a different concern altogether.

Brewers crudely describe the vital role that yeast plays in the brewing process with Nobby's Brewery clearly summarising it on Twitter: "Yeast is ALIVE, it had sex, ate sugar and peed alcohol in your beer." Just as long as the temperatures and conditions are right they will keep going until every last trace of fermentable sugar has been devoured.

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Honest Brew Vegan Beer Review

Honest Brew Vegan Beer Review

Written by Oliver Coningham on 30 November 2016 in Vegan Beer

The number of beer subscription boxes available are close to outnumbering Cloudwater's DIPA releases. Each one offering something unique and enticing for the adventurous beer drinker. Whether you wanting to experience new beers from a different brewery each month or have a case personally selected to suit your tastes. Many of the subscriptions available offer free postage, the ability to change the frequency of your delivery and the option to pause or cancel whenever you like. With all this choice, the only thing missing is a vegan-friendly beer subscription.

It was with delight to see Honest Brew embracing vegan beer with a recent blog post featuring some of the best vegan-friendly beers from their online shop. Bottled beers from Cloudwater, Yeastie Boys and Buxton were featured; all of which are easily standouts from the craft beer scene at the moment.

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Should vegans boycott BrewDog?

Should vegans boycott BrewDog?

Written by Oliver Coningham on 8 November 2016 in Vegan Beer

Irreverent Scottish brewers BrewDog are no strangers to controversy. Their marketing often relies on provocative and confrontational rhetoric. Whether upsetting the Portman GroupRussian presidents or the transgender community. They thrive on the attention and adhere to the ancient adage that there's no such thing as bad publicity. Previous experience has told us that this is no longer a sustainable way to market a business, especially with the advent of social media.

BrewDog's latest publicity stunt has not gone down well with the majority of beer loving vegans. Throughout their recent campaign of crowd-funding known as Equity for Punks, investors could share their referral code with friends and family in an attempt to place themselves at the top of the referral leader board. And the prize? Maybe a case of beer, an engraved tankard or a tour of the brewery? No. Instead you receive a bottle of The End of History, a 55% ABV blonde Belgian ale encased in the taxidermy remains of roadkill. 

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Where does isinglass come from?

Where does isinglass come from?

Written by Oliver Coningham on 16 September 2016 in Vegan Beer

Yesterday morning as I enjoyed the last of the summer sun, it became apparent that another touchpaper had been lit. BBC News published an article by Liam Barnes entitled The fishy ingredient in beer that bothers vegetarians. It was another piece in the media that draws attention to the use of animal derived products and ingredients in the the brewing process. Beer drinkers are starting to realise there’s more to their favourite pint than water, malts, hops and yeast.

Throughout the content there is an inconsistency to the terminology used to refer to isinglass. It’s an error often witnessed when vegan beer is being reported upon. The Manchester Evening News recently fell victim to this mistake too, as did The Telegraph.

To be clear, isinglass is produced from the swim bladders of fish, not the fish bladder.

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What happens to spent brewing grains?

What happens to spent brewing grains?

Written by Oliver Coningham on 13 July 2016 in Vegan Beer

One of the many wonderful things about beer is that it requires only four basic ingredients to produce it: water, malts, yeast and hops. Different combinations and variations of these can then be manipulated to create a diverse range of beers. From Belgian Pale Ales with their earthy and spicy yeast character to extrovert American IPAs full of resinous pine and tropical fruits.

Malts are often an overlooked ingredient with more attention given to hops. It’s the malts that provide the backbone and body to your beer as well as a lot of the flavour. If you’ve ever tasted caramel, biscuits or dark chocolate in your beer, the malts are responsible for this.

So how do these malts get into the beer and where do they come from? Within each tiny grain are the starches and enzymes needed to make beer. These starches need to be converted into easily fermentable sugars which will provide sustenance for hungry yeast cells. Freshly gathered grains cannot be used immediately and instead need to be malted first. Essentially the grains are sprouted which starts to break down their starches. This germination process is then stopped by toasting the grain in a kiln; from lightly toasted to dark, almost charred. From here the grains are gently milled to break open their protective shells.

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Is beer suitable for vegans?

Is beer suitable for vegans?

Written by Oliver Coningham on 11 February 2016 in Vegan Beer

Who would stop to think that animal products are in your drink or were involved in the process of making it? Much like discovering sweets contain gelatine derived from animals, people are often shocked and surprised to learn that beer contains animal products too. Visiting one of the many traditional real ale festivals around the country can be hugely disappointing to any vegan beer lover. At a recent real ale festival, which featured in excess of 65 casks of ale, none were suitable for vegans. The outlook, at first glance, appears grim.

So what is it that's used in the production of beer that renders many unsuitable to vegans? The answer is a substance called isinglass which is derived from the swim bladder of a certain species of fish, usually the sturgeon. The isinglass is mixed with various chemicals and preservatives; this is then added to the beer in order to help the beer become clear. The isinglass finings attract all the residual yeast created during the brewing process which then collects in a jelly-like mass at the bottom of the cask. You'll often find people referring to isinglass as "fish guts"; it's an emotive term that divides opinion, but it does distinctly make the point.

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