Disappointed at the lack of beer stalls at the Lincoln Vegan Festival? Me too. But no worries, I’m here to help.
Obviously any beers using honey or milk are not going to be vegan but a lot of real ales and craft beers aren’t vegan due to the presence of isinglass finings used to clarify the beers. Isinglass is made from the dried swim bladders of fish… a hazy beer doesn’t sound too bad now does it?
The problem remains that though a lot of beers advertise the presence of gluten (baffling considering how rare gluten-free beers are), vegan beers are often less vocal. Breweries such as Marble Brewers and Chorlton Brew advertise their unfined status but other vegan breweries aren’t so helpful. So here’s your rundown of some fab vegan brews and where to find them…
Let’s start at the top. Guinness will be going fully vegan with their beers by the end of 2016 though there’s no set date yet for their new filtration system. A brewery this big dropping isinglass is definitely very interesting.
Fuller’s Brewery (London)
You’re safe with Fuller’s brews (excluding -of course- Honey Dew) if you stick to the bottles, the cask editions however still use finings. A few breweries are like this including local Lincolnshire brewery, Bateman’s.
Samuel Smith’s (Yorkshire)
If you’re a fan of Widow Cullen’s Well in Lincoln or any of Samuel Smith’s other venues across the country you’ll be glad to know that the majority of their beers are vegan friendly. So not only are they cheap but they’re completely fish-free!
Some vegan brewery recommendations from Pub Geek readers
Brass Castle Brewery (Yorkshire) -@lincoln_camra
Moor Beer (Bristol) -@lincoln_camra
Redwell Brewing (Norwich) -@natedawg27
Wild Beer Co. (Somerset)
Wild yeast but not wild fish… Often found in Lincoln this Somerset craft brewery keeps their beer natural and unfined.
Marble Brewery (Manchester)
Manchester’s vegan scene almost challenges its beer scene for variety. Marble is one of the biggests breweries and it’s very proud of it’s vegan friendly status. Other vegan breweries in Manchester include Chorlton Brew, Blackjack Beers and Beer Nouveau.
The infamous Scottish craft brewery not only doesn’t use isinglass finings but also they’re also offically registered with the Vegan Society.
Beavertown Brewery (London)
Home of Gamma Ray and Neck Oil? Yep, no finings here. A lot of London craft breweries have gone the unfined route. Other vegan-friendly brews can be found at The Kernel Brewery, Camden Town Brewery and Pressure Drop.
Atom Beers (Hull)
Head brewer at Atom Beers, Jack Walker is a vegetarian so no finings are used in the brewery at all.
Are you a Lincolnite eager to stay vegan? Here’s some non-vegan breweries that often grace Lincoln’s bars that you may want to avoid or tweet at passionately.
- Cathedral Heights (though beer can be ordered without finings)
- Adnams Southwold
- Tom Woods
- Oakham Ales
- Newby Wyke
- Brewster’s Brewery
- Thornbridge Brewery
Not sure if your beer is vegan? Barnivore is a super useful site that can tell you whether your beer, wine or spirit is vegan-friendly.