There’s nothing like a cold beer after a long day or on a hot summer afternoon, and there are so many options depending on your mood, or if you’re pairing it with a dish. Before you pick up a six pack or order a pint, be sure to check if your favorite beer is actually vegan.
So, is beer vegan-friendly?
Yes, beer is usually vegan unless non-vegan ingredients are added or used in the brewing process. Beer is made from four base ingredients: water, malted barley or other grains, hops, and yeast, which are all vegan as is. Each type of beer can be classified as an ale or lager, depending on the type of yeast used and the fermentation process, and there are many different types of beers within these categories.
Non-Vegan Ingredients in Beer
Sometimes non-vegan ingredients are used to brew beer or added as an ingredient for consistency or flavor. Since ingredients are not often printed on beer labels, you’ll have to do a bit of research or contact the company to confirm that a beer is vegan.
Fining agents (isinglass and gelatin)
Fining agents are used in the beer brewing process to remove small debris and clarify the beer to improve the taste and consistency. Sometimes brewers use beef gelatin or isinglass, which is a type of fish collagen similar to gelatin, for this clarification process.
While the fining agent does not end up in the final product, it is not a vegan-friendly process. Fortunately, it’s not as common to use isinglass in beer brewing anymore. Most large manufacturers use synthetic fining agents such as silica or seaweed-based products.
Dairy products (whey, lactose, milk)
Dairy products are commonly added to dark beers, such as stouts for a creamy texture and mouthfeel. Look out for whey, lactose, or milk in chocolate stout, coffee stout, and milk stout.
A relatively recent trend in craft beer is using lactose in the brewing process. Lactose, or milk sugar, doesn’t ferment when brewed, so it adds sweetness and a creamy consistency that pairs well with fruit flavors in ales and stouts. Since this is a trend, and milk is a common allergen, lactose is often listed on beer labels that use it. When in doubt, contact the brewery or Google the beer name to confirm.
Honey is sometimes added to beer for flavor and sweetness, especially in wheat ales. Most of the time, the beer will be advertised as a honey beer so it is easy to avoid these beers.
Best Vegan Beer Brands
Domestic refers to beers produced in the United States, typically by large corporations. These beers are crowd pleasers and brewed in large quantities.
Miller is a classic all-American lager brewed with a blend of malted barley, corn, and hops. It has a light, crisp taste and a smooth finish. Try Miller Lite, Miller Genuine Draft 64, or Miller High Life.
Budweiser is a pale lager brewed with a barley malt blend, rice, and hops. It has a clean, refreshing flavor perfect for summer outdoors. Try classic Budweiser, Bud Light, or one of the many variations of Bud Light.
Coors is a light-bodied, crisp lager that’s affordable and easy to drink. It’s brewed with malted barley, corn, and hops. There are a few types of Coors including Coors Light, Coors Banquet, and even some non-alcoholic varieties.
Imported beers are beers produced in countries and imported into the United States. Some of the most popular beers in the US are imported.
Corona is a light Mexican lager with a mild, lightly citrus flavor. It’s the perfect accompaniment to tacos or other Mexican food, often served with a wedge of lime.
Guinness is an Irish stout with a dark color and creamy texture. It has a rich, malted flavor from the roasted barley. Enjoy at your local Irish pub or at home.
Heineken is a light beer hailing from the Netherlands, although it is popular all over the world. It has a light, crisp, slightly bitter taste and comes in an iconic green bottle.
Craft breweries are those that produce 6 million or fewer barrels per year. Craft brews are typically higher quality and more flavorful than mass-produced beers. There is a wide variety of craft beers available from small independent breweries to larger craft breweries with nationwide distribution.
There are so many different types of craft beers available and most are vegan friendly, so it’s hard to choose just a few!
Yuengling, a Pennsylvania-based brewery, is the largest craft brewery in the United States. They make traditional lagers, as well as other types of beers. You can even try their vegan-friendly chocolate beer that was produced in partnership with Hershey’s, another Pennsylvania company.
Great Lakes Brewing Company is a craft brewery based in Cleveland, Ohio that is committed to producing high-quality beers using all-natural ingredients and traditional brewing methods. They have a wide range of year-round and seasonal offerings, including classic styles like lagers, pale ales, and stouts, as well as more unique and experimental brews.
This Brooklyn, New York-based brewery produces a range of IPAs, pilsners, and brown ales, as well as more off-the-cuff offerings like their Sorachi Ace, a saison-style beer brewed with the rare Sorachi Ace hop, which gives it a unique lemon and dill flavor. Brooklyn Brewery is also dedicated to sustainability and community involvement, and they frequently partner with local organizations and charities.
Is Budweiser vegan?
Yes, Budweiser beer is vegan, as is Bud Light. Anheuser-Busch, Budweiser’s parent company, does not use animal products in the brewing process. The only beers they make that are not vegan are Budweiser Clamato Chelada (contains clam broth), Bud Light Clamato Chelada (contains clam broth), and the Michelob honey beers (contains honey).
Is Guinness vegan?
Yes, Guinness is vegan! According to their website, the world’s most popular stout no longer uses isinglass in their beer production, so Guinness Draught, Guinness Extra Stout, and Guinness Foreign Extra Stout are all vegan friendly.
Is root beer vegan?
Root beer can be and is often vegan, but sometimes it contains honey. Root beer is not beer, but a non-alcoholic, caffeine-free soda flavored with extracts from the roots and bark of plants including sassafras, sarsaparilla, and birch. Enjoy it as is, or with vanilla ice cream for a root beer float. Some vegan-friendly root beer brands include A&W, Barq’s, Dad’s, Mug, Virgil’s, Hansen, Boylan’s, and IBC.
Is Barq’s vegan?
Yes, Barq’s Root Beer is vegan, as is Barq’s Zero Sugar Root Beer and its other sodas, Creme Soda French Vanilla and Red Creme Soda.
Is Miller Lite vegan?
Yes, Miller Lite is vegan, as are all of Miller’s beers.
Is Corona vegan?
Yes, Corona is vegan. According to their website, Corona products are vegan friendly as they do not use any animal products.
Is Bud Light vegan?
Yes, Bud Light is vegan, as are many of its other variations including Bud Light Lime, Bud Light Next, Bud Light Platinum, and Bud Light Seltzer. The only non-vegan Bud Light is the Bud Light Clamato Chelada, which contains clam broth.
Is Madri vegan?
Unfortunately, Madri Excepcional, a premium lager brewed in the UK, is not vegan. Isinglass is used in the filtration process.
Is butterbeer vegan?
It depends! Butterbeer is a fictional drink from the Harry Potter series of books and movies, but you can order a real version of this butterscotch-flavored non-alcoholic drink at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando and Los Angeles. While butterbeer itself is vegan, the creamy topping contains dairy. Luckily, Universal Studios launched a dairy-free butterbeer topping this year.
Is Tiger vegan?
No, Tiger Beer, a beer brewed in Singapore, is not vegan. While Tiger Beer does not contain any animal-derived ingredients, the company has stated that they use isinglass as a fining agent to clarify the beer during the brewing process.
Is Heineken vegan?
Yes, Heineken is vegan as it does not contain any animal-derived ingredients or use them in the filtration process.This Dutch lager is popular around the world, including in the US.
Is Stella Artois vegan?
Yes, Stella Artois is vegan. Stella Artois, or “Stella” for short, is a Belgian lager produced by Anheuser-Busch, which does not use animal products in their brewing process.
What is your favorite vegan-friendly beer?