The first time I ever attempted to go vegan a friend of mine told me beer wasn’t vegan. He told me this just moments before I was about to drink a fresh glass of beer, less than 24 hours into my decision to become a lifelong vegan. The news was devastating. I could feel my smile turning into a frown as if it was literally being turned upside in a 180º rotation. I drank my beer anyways, and later that night I’m pretty sure I scarfed down some Taco Bell or something like that, and it was definitely not vegan.
Several years after that, I finally made the successful transition from vegetarian to vegan, and I also learned that my friend who told me beer wasn’t vegan was wrong. Well, mostly wrong. Most beers are vegan, but some aren’t.
Beers That Are Not Vegan
Some beer makers use an ingredient called isinglass to filter their beers. Isinglass is not vegan because it’s a type of gelatin made from fish bladder. However, It’s much easier to focus on which beers aren’t vegan rather than which beers are vegan, because most beer makers use mechanical filters. If you walk into your typical convenient store, grocery store, or liquor store, most of the beers on the shelf and in the cooler are vegan.
Here are some of the popular beers that are not vegan:
- Lighthouse Brewing Co. Inc
- Murphy’s Irish Stout
- Newcastle Brown Ale
- Wooden Hand Brewery
If you want a complete index of all the beers that are or aren’t vegan friendly, check out Barnivore.
Guinness Goes Vegan
In November Guinness anounced it would no longer use isinglass filters, and that they were switching to mechanical filters so they could be accessible to vegetarians and more in line with the 21st century.
Here is what officials from Guinness had to say…
“Isinglass has been used widely within the brewing industry as a means of filtration for decades… However, because of its use we could not label Guinness as suitable for vegetarians and have been looking for an alternative solution for some time. We are now pleased to have identified a new process through investment in a state-of-the-art filtration system.”
Check out our Is It Vegan? category to find what is or isn’t vegan.