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Alcoholic Beverages

 

With the growing number of microbreweries and the number of corporate breweries introducing new beers that pose as microbrews, a complete list of beers that are suitable for vegans would have to be updated daily. In this chapter we have attempted to note more popular beers. We have also attempted to note which breweries don't typically use animal products in their brewing process. As always, common sense should prevail. If one of the brands listed here releases a honey porter after this book goes to print it is obviously not vegan. We have also tried to provide a lot of general information on the brewing of beers to assist in making an educated guess. If all else fails the best means of finding out if a particular beer is vegan is to contact the manufacturer.

 

Since the last edition, cider has become an integral part of US drinking culture, so we've tried to provide as much information as we could find on the ever confusing world of cider. Unfortunately the myth is not true that vegan alcoholic beverages don't give you less of a hangover.

 

Vegan Beers

   

Vegetarian Times and The Bay Vegan found that animal products aren't generally used in beer brewing in the US. Gelatin used to be widely used in beer manufacturing in the US, but most major brewing companies haven't included gelatin in beer for some time.

   

Those on the following list are all acceptable for vegetarians and vegans.

   

BITTERS, ETC.

 
   

Alloa Light

- keg

Alloa 70/- Special

- keg, can & bottle

Alloa 80/- Export

- keg, can & bottle

Alloa Stout

- bottle

Batemans IPA

- bottle

Batemans Nut Brown

- bottle

Batemans XXXB

- bottle

Batemans Victory Ale

- bottle

Batemans Dark Mild

- bottle

Batemans GB Bitter

- bottle

Burtonwood Bitter

- keg & can

Burtonwood Mild

- keg

Burtonwood Pale Mild

- keg

Burtonwood Top Hat Ale

- keg

Drybrough Heavy

- keg

Drybrough Best Scotch

- bottle

Felinfoel Bitter

- keg & can

Felinfoel Double Dragon Bitter

- keg & can

Fuller's London Pride

- keg, can & bottle

Fuller's Chiswick Bitter

- keg & can

Fuller's Mild

- keg

Fuller's ESB Export

- bottle

Fuller's Pale Ale

- bottle

Fuller's Brown Ale

- bottle

Fullers LA

- bottle

Gale's Southdown Bitter

- keg

Gale's Best Bitter

- keg

Gale's 777 Mild

- keg

Gale's Prize Old Ale

- bottle

Gale's Pale Ale

- bottle

Gale's HSB

- can

Golden Promise Organic Beer

- bottle

Hall & Woodhouse BXB Bitter

- keg

H & W Malthouse Bitter

- keg

H & W Oasthouse Bitter

- can

H & W Badger Country Bitter

- can

H & W Tanglefoot Bitter

- can

Morrells Friars Bitter

- keg

Morrells Castle Ale

- bottle

Morrells Light Ale

- bottle

Morrells College Ale

- bottle

Morrells Brewery Gate Bitter

- can

Redruth Brewery Bitter

- can

Redruth Brewery Mile Ale

- can

Redruth Aston Manor Bitter

- can

Redruth Gold Cap Bitter

- can

Redruth Brewster Bitter

- can

Redruth John Davey Bitter

- keg & can

Robinson's Best Bitter

- can

Ross Brewery Hartcliffe Bitter

- bottle

Ross Brewery Clifton Dark Ale

- bottle

Ross Brewery Saxon Ale

- bottle

Sainsburys Premium Ale

- bottle

Sam Smiths Old Brewery

- keg & can

Sam Smiths Sovereign Best

- keg

Sam Smiths Tadcaster Bitter

- keg

Sam Smiths 4X Best Mild

- keg

Sam Smiths Dark Mild Ale

- keg

Sam Smiths OB Strong Brown

- bottle

Sam Smiths OB Strong Pale

- bottle

Sam Smiths Pale Ale

- bottle

Sam Smiths Light Ale

- bottle

Sam Smiths Nut Brown

- bottle

Sam Smiths Strong Golden

- bottle

   

LOW ALCOHOL, N/A

   

AyingerBrau Low Alcohol

- keg & bottle

Clausen

- bottle

Greene King Lowes

- bottle

Marston's Low "C"

- keg & bottle

Wheelwright Low Alcohol

- keg & bottle

Wyvern Low Alcoholic

- bottle

Sharp's

- can & bottle

Kingsbury

- can & bottle

O'Douls Premium Non-Alcoholic Brew

- can & bottle

   

LAGERS

   

Aston Manor Lager

- can

AyingerBrau

- keg

AyingerBrau D. Pils

- keg & bottle

AyingerBrau Very Strong

- bottle

Brewster Lager

- can

Budweiser

- keg, can & bottle

Burtonwood Dagen

- can

Cornish Pilsner Lager

- can

Henri Funck

- bottle

Grolsch

- keg, can & bottle

Guapa Lager

- bottle

Hall & Woodhouse Hectors

- can

H & W Forum

- can

H & W Compass

- can

H & W Skona

- can

H & W Royal Hofbrau

- can

Harp

- keg, can & bottle

Harp Extra

- keg

Heineken Export

- keg, can & bottle

Heineken

- keg, can & bottle

Holsten Pils

- can & bottle

Knight's

- can & bottle

Labatt's

- keg

Lincoln Green Organic

- can

Lowenbrau Strong

- keg

Mousel

- bottle

Norseman

- can

Pinkus Special Organic

- bottle

Prinz Strong

- keg

Redruth Brewery Pilsner

- can

Sam Smiths Natural Lager

- can & bottle

Scorpion Dry

- can & bottle

Skol

- keg, can & bottle

Tennent's Gold Bier

- bottle

TQ Lager

- bottle

Tuborg Gold

- keg, can & bottle

   

US DOMESTICS AND/OR BOTTLED IN THE US

   

In the January/ February 1995 issue of Animal Times-PETAs bimonthly magazine, there is a list of "cruelty-free beers" that states "The following brewing companies have assured PETA in writing that all their various beers are made without animal-derived ingredients, additives, or processing agents." We have researched and expanded their existing list here.

   

Anderson Valley

- keg, can & bottle

Anheuser-Busch

- keg, can & bottle

Barley's

- keg, can & bottle

Beach

- keg, can & bottle

Beck's

- keg, can & bottle

Big Dog's Hospitality Group

- keg, can & bottle

Blue Ridge

- keg, can & bottle

Brick

- keg, can & bottle

Carlsberg-Tetley

- keg, can & bottle

Columbus

- bottle

Courage

- keg, can & bottle

Dallas County

- keg, can & bottle

Dempsey's

- keg, can & bottle

Deschutes

- keg, can & bottle

Dock Street

- keg, can & bottle

Dubuque

- keg, can & bottle

Eddie McStiff's

- keg, can & bottle

Fremont

- keg, can & bottle

Fullers

- keg, can & bottle

Golden Pacific

- keg, can & bottle

Grant's Yakima

- keg, can & bottle

Greene King

- keg, can & bottle

Groisch

- keg, can & bottle

G. Heileman

- keg, can & bottle

Irons

- keg, can & bottle

James Page

- keg, can & bottle

Jones Street

- keg, can & bottle

Lakefront

- keg, can & bottle

Latrobe (Rolling Rock)

- keg, can & bottle

Les Brasseurs du Nord

- keg, can & bottle

Lost Coast

- keg, can & bottle

Mad River

- keg, can & bottle

Manhattan Beach

- keg, can & bottle

Masters Brewpub & Brasserie

- keg, can & bottle

Miller

- keg, can & bottle

Miracle

- keg, can & bottle

Nelson

- keg, can & bottle

Nevada City

- keg, can & bottle

North Coast

- keg, can & bottle

Nouveaux Brasseurs-Bar Ulnox

- keg, can & bottle

Odell

- keg, can & bottle

Onalaska

- keg, can & bottle

Oranjeboom

- keg, can & bottle

Otter Creek

- keg, can & bottle

Otto Brothers’

- keg, can & bottle

Pacific Hop Exchange

- keg, can & bottle

Pennsylvania

- keg, can & bottle

Pete's

- bottle

Pyramid Ales

- can & bottle

Ragtime Tavern

- keg, can & bottle

Rainier

- keg, can & bottle

Richbrau

- keg, can & bottle

Roslyn

- keg, can & bottle

Samuel Smith (except Oatmeal Stout)

- See Bitters, etc

San Andreas

- keg, can & bottle

Scottish & Newcastle

- bottle

Shan Sui

- keg, can & bottle

Sharky's

- keg, can & bottle

Shepherd Neame

- keg, can & bottle

Sierra Nevada

- keg, can & bottle

Silo

- keg, can & bottle

Sleeman

- keg, can & bottle

Sonoma (Dempsey's)

- keg, can & bottle

Spinnakers Brewpub

- keg, can & bottle

Sprecher

- keg, can & bottle

Star

- keg, can & bottle

Steelhead

- keg, can & bottle

Table Rock

- keg, can & bottle

Telluride

- keg, can & bottle

Thames Valley

- keg, can & bottle

Treaty Grounds

- keg, can & bottle

Triple Rock

- keg, can & bottle

Truckee

- keg, can & bottle

Umpqua

- keg, can & bottle

Upper Canada

- keg, can & bottle

Vaux Brewery

- keg, can & bottle

Weeping Radish

- keg, can & bottle

Whistler

- keg, can & bottle

Whitbread Beer

- keg, can & bottle

Woodstock

- keg, can & bottle

Aoung & Co.

- keg, can & bottle

   

Most German beers are winners, because all are vegan. Bavarian purity laws limit them to four ingredients only: water, grain, hops and yeast.

   

Also: "Among the breweries making vegan nonalcoholic beer are Miller (Sharp's), Heileman (Kingsbury), and Anheuser-Busch (O'Doul's Premium Non-Alcoholic Brew)."

   

Vegan Wines

 
   

Unfortunately many wines available in shops may have isinglass, gel, egg albumen (from battery eggs), chitin or even ox blood added as fining agents. Organic wines are much more likely to be vegetarian.

   

Outside The US

 
   

The use of animal derived products in the production of alcoholic beverages outside the US is fairly widespread not because alternatives do not exist, but because they always have been used and there is little demand from the consumer for an alternative.

   

The main obstacle when trying to judge the acceptability to vegetarians of any given product is a clause in the 1984 Food Labelling Regulations (UK) which excludes from the 1984 Food Act all drinks with an alcohol content exceeding 1.2% by volume (ABV), leaving only very low or non-alcoholic beers, wines and ciders being required to list all ingredients.

   

The main appearance of animal derived products is in the fining or clearing process, though some others may be used as colorants or anti-foaming agents.

   

It must be pointed out that alcohol is routinely tested on thousands of animals each year. However, this is not usually done directly by any individual company.

   

BEER: Cask-conditioned ales need fining to clear the material (especially the yeast) held in suspension in the liquid. This is invariably done by adding isinglass, derived from the swim bladders of certain tropical fish especially the Chinese sturgeon, which acts as a falling suspension. If you were to hold a pint of real ale up to the light and see cloudy lumps swirling around that would suggest that the cask had been recently disturbed and the isinglass shaken up from the bottom. Naturally bottled conditioned beers will not always have been treated with isinglass. Keg beers and Lagers are pasteurized and usually passed through Chill Filters, as are canned beers and some bottled beers. However, a considerable number of breweries still use isinglass to clear their pasturized beers, though sometimes only to rescue selected batches which are considered too hazey. Also occasionally the sometimes animal derived additive Glyceryl Monostearate is used in place of 900 Dimethylpolysiloxane as a foam-control agent in the production of keg beers.

   

It is sometimes possible to buy barrels of cask-conditioned beer from a brewery before it has been fined. The beer would then have to be left for a considerable time to stand before consumption. To our knowledge, only one pub in England sells unfined real ale on draught: The Cumberland Arms in Byker, Newcastle on Tyne.

   

Please refer to the list in this chapter for acceptable beers for vegans.

   

CIDER: Most of the main brands of cider will have been fined using gelatin. Scrumpy type ciders are less likely to have been fined (see the Cider section of this chapter).

   

WINE: With wine, it is again in the fining process that animal derived ingredients make an appearance. Finings can be isinglass, gelatin, egg albumen, modified casein (from milk), chitin (derived from the shells of crabs or lobsters) or ox blood (rarely used today). But alternatives do exist in the form of bentonite, kieselguhr, kaolin and silica gel or solution. Also newer methods such as centrifuging and filtering are becoming more popular. The majority of organic wines do not use animal derived finings - but some do. Thorson's Organic Wine Guide by Jerry Lockspeiser and Jackie Gear, published in 1991, lists those wines which are suitable. You might like to note that the Wine Development Board claim that the fining agents are removed at the end of the process with the possible exception of very minute quantities.

   

SPIRITS: Most spirits appear to be acceptable to vegetarians, with the possible exception of Malt Whisky, some blended whiskies and Spanish Brandies which have been conditioned in casks that had previously held sherry which may have been treated with animal derived finings. (Brandy itself is not produced from wine which has undergone any fining processes). Also some imported vodkas may have been passed through a bone charcoal filter.

   

FORTIFIED WINES: All ports except crusted port are fined using gelatin. Sherry should be treated in a similar way to wine.

   

COLORANTS: Cochineal (E120) produced by extracting the red body material from pregnant scale insects of the species Dactilopius Coccus is used as a colorant in a small number of red wines, soft drinks and Campari.

   

Cider

 
   

Choosing a cider which has been naturally fermented and fined can be a bit of a minefield. Producers often tend to add rather nasty clarifying agents such as gelatin, isinglass, chitin (crab shells) and collagen. The most popular comtnercial ciders such as Woodpecker, Strongbow, Scrumpy Jack, Symonds and Taunton Cider all use animal derived clarifying agents, and although they stress that these are removed during the final stages of production, The Vegetarian Society would nonetheless class them as unsuitable for vegetarians.

   

Vegetarian ciders are usually naturally fermented in large oak barrels and allowed to settle over a period of months (the longer, the better, as this not only makes the cider clearer, but also stronger!). Bentonite clay when mined and specially prepared for clarification purposes can also be used, or alternatively cellulose filter sheets.

   

Apart from fining agents, other additives are used in the production of keg cider, chiefly for sterilization. All those listed below -are suitable for vegans & vegetarians:

   

Calcium sulphite (calcium salt of sulphurous acid) (E226): as a cask sterilizer and antibacterial agent.

   

Citric acid (E330): Occurs naturally in many fruits, especially citrus juices. Used to aid the effect of the anti-oxidant used.

   

L-ascorbic acid (E300): Occurs naturally in many fruits and vegetables. Used in keg draught cider and bottled cider.

   

Pectolase: A naturally occuring enzyme used to destroy residual Pectin (a fruit starch) in keg and bottled cider.

   

Sodium dioxide (E220): used as a preservative in the cask or bottle.

   

Sodium hydrogen sulphite (sodium salt of sulphurous acid) (E222): also used as a preservative and as a cask sterilizer.

   

Sodium metabisulphite (commercially manufactured sodium salt of sulphurous acid) (E223): used to sterilize apple skins when cultured yeast is used.

   

Sorbic Acid (E200): Occurs naturally in some fruits. Used as a pH adjuster.