How beer is made
To understand why not all beer is vegan, we have to look at how beer is made.
Most beer is made from four basic ingredients:
All four of those ingridients are vegan, including yeast!
The basic idea is to extract the sugars from grains (usual barley) so that the yeast can turn it into alcohol and creating beer.
So why is some beer not vegan?
Is beer vegan?
Fortunately, most beer is vegan! What makes some beers not vegan is when it comes to clarifying the end product before bottling, kegging, or canning.
Why is beer not vegan?
Some brewers use animal-derived fining products like gelatin to refine their brews. This is not an unusual practice either – many large, commercial breweries use this type of fining agent to “clear” their beer.
This is also often the case in wines, which can contain egg or fish-based fining products.
Fortunately, many breweries are abandoning the practice of using animal by-products for fining. This trend away from animal-based fining ingredients became undeniable in 2017 when Guinness made its famous Extra Stout beer vegan.
Some beers also contain honey and very rarely milk products. Most countries exempt breweries from having to comply with ingredient labeling laws. This results in a situation where fining ingredients rarely appear on the label.
If you want to make sure, that the beer you are drinking is vegan, have a look at Barnivore.com
They offer an extensive list of vegan beers and wines.