Going Vegan but LOVE Beer?  Here is Our Guide to the Best Vegan Beers

If you are a vegan, you are not going to have any trouble finding a good vegan beer to drink.  In fact, most of the beers available are actually vegan friendly. With that being said, there are some breweries out there that do use some animal products in their recipes.  You are about to learn exactly how to avoid those beers.

Here are some of the main beers in the country that are vegan friendly and that you can safely drink without having to worry about whether or not they use animal products.

Main Beers That Are Vegan

If you have ever wondered whether or not one of those mass produced, inexpensive beers is vegan or not, the answer is almost always going to be yes it is.  The one exception to this is going to be the Australian beer, Foster’s. With that being said, here are some of the top selling beers around the world that are all vegan friendly.

  • Bud Light and Budweiser (United States)
  • Coors Light and Coors (United States)
  • Miller Genuine Draft and Original (United States)
  • Miller Lite Beer (United States)
  • Heinekin (Netherlands)
  • Beck’s (Germany)
  • Corona (Mexico)
  • Pacifico (Mexico)
  • Skal (Brazil)
  • Tsingtao (China)
  • Snot (China)
  • Harbin (China)

This is a list of the top selling, mass-produced beers from around the world that are all vegan friendly.  Now keep in mind that even though a beer is from another country, there is a good chance that it has been brewed in one of the regional breweries that are scattered across the globe.  Most of the beers on the list above are pretty much interchangeable, the only point to take not of is that the beer from China may not be the best option, as the country has very different food safety rules and regulations to follow.  On top of that, their food safety track record just happens to be absolutely terrible.

So the cheap beer is vegan friendly, but what about the premium beers?  When it comes to premium beers, this is where you can actually run into a little bit of trouble.

Fining and Animal Ingredients

Whenever a brewer purposely adds any animal ingredients to one of their beer recipes, it is usually done for what is known as ‘fining’ purposes.  Fining ingredients typically will be some type of sticky animal parts. The two most common ones include fish bladder (isinglass), as well as gelatin.  They are added to help with the filtering of the beer. You see, the gelatin and fish bladder will adhere themselves to any type of particulates that happen to be floating around the brewing tank.  While the fish bladder and gelatin will be filtered out, they do help filter the beer much better before it is bottled.

While this practice has been happening for many years, many breweries are starting to phase out of this particular practice and using animal products in general.  This is due in part to the vegan diet becoming much more mainstream with more people joining the vegan lifestyle on a daily basis than ever before. Plus, it is just not appealing to think about fish bladders floating around the beer that you are drinking.  The trend of moving away from using animal-based ingredients is undeniable. In 2017, Guinness started to produce its ever-popular Extra Stout beer through vegan methods and even had all new equipment installed at the main brewing location in Dublin, Ireland.

There are some beers that also contain milk products, or even honey.  But since most countries allow breweries to not have to include any type of ingredient labels, they don’t have to disclose exactly what they use in their recipe.  The result of this is that fining ingredients can be used without necessarily having to appear on any labels.

But if you want to make sure that your beer is 100% vegan friendly, all you need to do is check out its status on Barnivore.com, which will let you know if the beer if vegan or not.  In fact, the list is actually the world’s list of vegan beers.

Vegan Beers Reviewed

With hundreds of different beers being brewed around the world, the amount of vegan friendly beers available to you will simply blow your mind.  In fact, you may not have a clue which beer you would like to try.

But not to worry as here is a review of some of the most popular vegan beers.  The list has been broken down into different categories to make it easier for you to choose from.  While most of the beers that are reviewed are usually on the more common side, they are also from independently owned breweries.  This was done as the beers that are usually available from the smaller independent breweries are typically only available locally, as opposed to on a more mainstream availability.

On a side note, it is always a great idea to support your local community, so be sure that you go out and discover vegan beers from your local breweries to help support the smaller independents that are located near you.

Pilsners and Lagers

By far the worlds absolute top selling beers, pilsners and lagers are tough to tell apart.  In the United States, the top brands of pilsners and lagers include Miller, Budweiser, and Coors.  If you have ever had these beers before, there is a good chance that you feel they all taste the absolute same.  That is because they pretty much do. Canadians and Germans also drink lots of lagers and have claimed that their beer not only tastes better, but is also healthier for you than the American versions.  But that is just like comparing a weakling that weighs 95 pounds to a weakling that weighs 99 pounds.

Just keep in mind that some lagers come in a pretty green bottle, such as Heinekin or Beck’s.  If this is the case, you are going to want to avoid those brands of beer altogether, as those bottles let in ultraviolet light rays that can make the beer have a weird, skunky flavor.

The Best Vegan Pilsners and Lagers

The beers on this list are similar to the mass produced beers mentioned earlier in this article, however they are produced in far smaller quantities.  This means that the ingredients are normally going to be of higher quality. On top of that, many of the beers that are mass-produced will use corn syrup in their recipe, something that does not have any place in any beer.

One of the absolute best ways to enjoy any of the beers on this list is to have it ice cold and on a nice hot summer day.  You may also be curious to learn that there is something called Session Lagers. These are beers that are lower in their alcohol content, but are designed so that you are able to have a drinking session with all your friends without have to worry about being hung-over the next day or doing something you may regret.  Since most lagers don’t really have any taste anyway, session lager is also a great choice.

  • Kirin, Asahi, or Sapporo lagers – being the flagship beers from each of their respective breweries, each of these lagers is well made and as good as it’s going to get when it comes to lagers.  While the cans and bottles that are sold outside of Japan are typically brewed someplace else, they are not a bad choice at all, especially if you are eating sushi.
  • Samuel Adams Boston Lager – Definitely one of the best beers that has ever been brewed in New England, this is pretty much as good as any lager beer is ever going to get.
  • Pabst Blue Ribbon – Being the unofficial beer of the hipsters, Pabst is a great choice if you are going to be drinking lagers.  Not only is it extremely cheap, but it also tastes similar to all the other ones available too.
  • Labatt Blue – Coming from Canada, this cheap pilsner is possibly the worst vegan beer on this list.  However, it tastes just the same Miller and Budweiser, so why not?
  • Pilsner Urquell – This is possibly the original Pilsner, originally getting its name from the place that it is brewed in, a town called Pilsner that is located in the Czech Republic.  While there are other Czech beers available that are about half the price of this one, they are not commonly available internationally and are more reserved for Europe.
  • Modelo Especial – Being one of the more overpriced beers everywhere you can find it except for Mexico, Modelo Especial is one of Mexico’s top mass-produced beers.  It is definitely better than Corona or Pacifico, so this is actually the only other choice for a beer from Mexico. In fact, if you are ever in Mexico, you can get a nice cold 24-ounce bottle for less than one dollar.  Now take your dollar beer, add a lime and go find a nice spot on the beach to relax.

The Best Vegan IPA’s and Pale Ales

Becoming popular during the 1980s and 90s, these vegan friendly IPAs and Pale Ales are much hoppier and usually contain much more alcohol than any of the lager-style beers.  In fact, after you get a taste of the amazing flavors that some of thee IPAs and Pale Ales have, you may find it hard to go back to Pilsners and lagers.

Just be sure that you are drinking responsibly whenever you do drink IPAs as they really do contain a significant amount more of alcohol than any other type of beer, the only exception being the Belgian ales.

  • Sierra Nevada’s Torpedo IPA and Pale Ale – If you are fresh on the pale ale and IPA scene, these are the beers that you are going to want to try first.  Both of these are quite popular, and for good reason. Both have excellent floral hop types of flavor, but with the perfect amount of bitterness at the same time.  Just be aware as the Torpedo IPA is packing 7.2% alcohol. It actually got its name from the ‘torpedo’ that adds all the hop flavors to the beer before it is bottled.
  • Racer 5 – Similar to that flavors of the Torpedo IPA listed above, Racer 5 by Bear Republic is also packed with a nice amount of alcohol at 7.5%.  Not only is this beer one of the best ones available, but it also has one of the best looking labels as well.
  • Lagunitas IPA – Being one of the more popular beers on the west coast, it really is hard to criticize anything about this particular IPA.  With a 6.2% alcohol volume, it also packs some of the best flavors that you will find in any IPA. And if you are looking for an IPA with some more ‘punch’, Lagunitas also makes beers with 8 and even 11 percent alcohol in them.
  • Harpoon IPA – Potentially one of the absolute best beers that is produced in the Northeastern part of the United States, this one is very similar to the likes of Lagunitas, with the main difference being that this one is only 5.9% alcohol.

When it comes to being vegan, there are definitely some foods and drinks that do not follow the guidelines that you are trying to follow. However, beer does not have to be one of those things that you have to miss out on. Above is a list of all the vegan friendly beers that have the most flavors and are the most popular.  

Just be sure that when you do decide to drink some vegan friendly beer that you do so responsibly.  The last thing you want to happen is to get a DUI, into some kind of accident, or to do or say something that you will end up regretting later on.  With that being said, you are now equipped with the all the knowledge you will ever need for finding a beer that is both delicious and vegan friendly.