Veganism made easy with beer

Potential environmental and health benefits with vegan and organic brews

Photo by Palak Klaire
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Reported by Palak Klaire

For a town like Vancouver, a vegan alternative is always in demand. That holds true for beer, too.

Dogwood Brewing, a local South Vancouver brewery, focuses on producing not only organic but vegan brews, too.

The brewery said it ensures its beer is vegan by using special vegan fining agents that are used to help clarify the beer. Typically, breweries use isinglass, a type of gelatin derived from fish bladder as a fining agent to clarify regular beer, according to advanced cicerone Kevin Emms,

“It sounds strange, but [it] works very well. The British have been using it to make their craft beers for many years,” Emms said.

Organic ingredients

Using vegan fining agents means there are no preservatives, according to Dogwood.

The company sources organic ingredients locally and makes maintaining the quality of those ingredients a priority.

Claire Wilson, brewmaster at Dogwood, explained that due to the significant organic agriculture industry in B.C., sourcing organic ingredients isn’t too much of a hassle.

Wilson, who said Dogwood uses unpasteurized, raw organic honey in their beers, claimed their brews are a healthier alternative to regular beer.

Emms said brewing vegan beer begins with hop and water. They are the two core ingredients in the production of vegan beer.

Hop is a flower commonly used to give beer its bitterness and to add aroma. Emms explained that hop helps with the consistency of vegan beer and the quality of the plant is crucial when determining the product’s flavour. It also acts as a preservative, extending the life of vegan brews.

Health benefits

Besides the obvious health benefits of choosing a vegan or certified organic alternative, Wilson said a vegan choice can benefit those with allergies as well.

“Lots of people who have allergies due to alcohol is often due to sulfites and preservatives [in] normal [beer]. People who drink vegan and organic beer have much less allergies,” Wilson said.

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