Craft beer has seen immense growth in popularity in the past decade or two. With the rising trend towards veganism, many craft beer lovers have begun to ask: “Is my favorite brew vegan?” You may be surprised to find that the answer isn’t always yes. In fact, a significant number of traditional beers are not vegan. So, what makes a beer vegan or not, and what are some examples of great vegan beers? Let’s dive in and explore the fascinating world of vegan beers.
Understanding the Vegan Beer Process
Beer is fundamentally a simple concoction – made from water, barley, hops, and yeast. So why aren’t all beers vegan? The difference lies in the clarification or “fining” process.
Many traditional breweries use animal products such as isinglass (derived from fish bladders), gelatin, casein, and other animal products in their beer clarification process. These agents help remove yeast and other solid particles from the beer, making it clear and bright.
However, vegan beers are made without these animal-derived fining agents. Instead, vegan breweries often use alternative methods such as centrifugation, filtration, or plant-based fining agents to clarify their beers.
Notable Varieties of Vegan Craft Beer
Vegan craft beers come in all the styles that beer drinkers love – lagers, IPAs, ales, and many more.
Lager is a type of beer conditioned at low temperatures. While many traditional lagers use animal-derived fining agents, there are vegan alternatives on the market. These vegan lagers offer the same refreshing and crisp taste, all while adhering to vegan principles. A popular non-alcoholic vegan lager we have reviewed is Brooklyn Special Effects Hoppy Lager.
India Pale Ale (IPA), known for its strong hop character, is a favorite among beer enthusiasts. Non alcoholic vegan IPAs we have reviewed are Drop Bear Beer Tropical IPA and Brooklyn Special Effects IPA.
Vegan stouts are a delightful option for beer enthusiasts who follow a plant-based lifestyle. These rich and robust dark beers are typically not cleared in the same ways as lagers are. That means they can be made without the use of any animal-derived ingredients or additives, aligning with the principles of veganism. The Drop Bear Beer Bonfire Stout is a perfect example of a great non-alcoholic vegan stout.
Vegan Sour Beers
Sour beers are generally not required to be very clear which makes it easy to make a good vegan sour. At the moment the only non alcoholic vegan sour we have reviewed is the vandeStreek Bier Fruit Machine.
List of Vegan Beers
Here is a list of the other non alcoholic vegan beers we have written about in our blog.
- Lervig – No Worries Pale Ale
- Lowtide Brewing – Promises I Made IPA
- Mikkeller Limbo Yuzu
- Mikkeller Drinkin The Sun Wheat
- Heaps Normal – Quiet XPA
- Drop Bear Beer – Yuzu Pale Ale
Highlight: BrewDog’s Punk AF
BrewDog, a leading name in the craft beer industry, has been pushing boundaries since its inception. One of its most popular beers, Punk IPA, is vegan-friendly and boasts strong tropical and citrus flavors. The BrewDog Punk IPA Vegan beer has become a go-to for those seeking bold flavors without compromising on their ethical standards.
Building on the success of Punk IPA, BrewDog developed Punk AF, a low-alcohol beer also adhering to vegan standards. This beer offers all the attitude of its alcoholic counterpart but with an alcohol content of just 0.5%. Bursting with juicy tropical fruit flavors and a grassy hop kick, Punk AF challenges preconceptions about what low-alcohol beer can be.
Selecting the Best Vegan Beer
With the increasing demand for vegan products, more and more breweries are producing vegan beers. The best vegan beer for you will depend on your personal taste preferences. Whether you’re seeking a robust vegan stout, a crisp vegan lager, or an innovative vegan IPA, there’s something out there for you. Always look for clear labeling or do a quick online search to ensure your choice is truly vegan.
Is vegan beer healthier?
When it comes to the health benefits of vegan beer, the picture is a bit nuanced. While vegan beer is free from any animal-derived ingredients or processing agents its impact on overall health might not be significantly different from conventional beer.
However, it is worth noting that if we’re considering a vegan non-alcoholic beer, then it indeed presents a healthier beer alternative. By eliminating alcohol, which can have negative effects on the body when consumed excessively, and maintaining vegan principles, individuals can enjoy a guilt-free and potentially more beneficial option. Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that moderation and individual circumstances play a crucial role in determining what constitutes a healthy choice.
Vegan beers are not just for vegans. The surge in demand for vegan products, including beer, signals a bright future for plant-based options. Breweries worldwide are increasingly recognizing this demand, producing exciting and flavorful beers that satisfy both ethical considerations and taste buds. So whether it’s a vegan lager, a vegan IPA like Brewdog’s Punk AF, or a vegan stout from a dedicated vegan brewery, there’s a vegan beer out there to suit every taste.