It is a question we get asked a lot and as we brew vegan friendly beer and Veganuary 2019 looking like the most popular one yet, here is a little guide.
The art of brewing is an ancient one and over the centuries has developed into the exciting and creative industry we have now. One of the developments that happened over 100 years ago was a result of brewers working out how to make beers clearer and brighter without affecting the taste in an attempt to make a pint even more appealing to drinkers. Incredibly the answer was to use the swim bladder of a fish – they really did try everything!. Over the years the process has developed and an odourless fining agent called isinglass is now used widely across the world from large scale well-known brand beers to tiny craft brewers. Isinglass however still uses a fish’s swim bladder making many beers unsuitable for vegans. In addition, traditionally the unlucky sturgeon has been one of the key species used for this product and is now considered critically endangered according to the WWF.
Here at Windswept, from the outset we believed that we could brew great tasting beer without the use of isinglass. Instead we use the process of time and by leaving our beers undisturbed for long enough, they usually clear naturally. Yes sometimes that does mean that our beers can be hazy but we think that just adds to the character (and perhaps the flavour – but that is a discussion for another day!)
Happy Veganuary everyone.