First, for those that wonder what's not vegan about most beer, let me explain. A lot of beer and wine is made with animal products. I highly recommend bookmarking the site Barnivore and downloading their iPhone app Vegan Is Easy - these are super helpful resources whenever I'm out drinking. Here's what they have to say about alcohol:
"Brewmasters, winemakers, and distillers may include animal ingredients in their products directly, or they might use them in the processing and filtration. When making the product, dairy, honey, and other things (including, in one case, a whole chicken dropped in the tank) are ingredients in the final recipe. When filtering the drinks prior to bottling, companies can use things like isinglass (from fish bladder,) gelatin, egg whites, and sea shells, among other things. These products grab onto the impurities and make it easier to catch them in the filters, though there are many animal-free alternatives in use."
I usually pick a few big name companies and look for them at bars/parties. If they're not there and Barnivore doesn't list them on their site, then I don't drink at all.
So what are my favorite gluten-free and vegan beers?
- Greens has several different brews and I see it often in Los Angeles. It is available at restaurants like Pizza Fusion, and is at Whold Foods.
- Samuel Smith Organic Lager & Ale is super yummy, but beware: it's so smooth you might forget it has an alcohol content!
- Redbridge (by Anheuser Busch) is really light and was easy to find in a small liqueur store in Massachusetts. The store said they tried a lot of gluten-free beers and this was their favorite.