Production manager Danny Seeton with Vancouver Island Brewing’s new centrifuge, which makes vegan beer in Victoria. (Nicole Crescenzi/News staff)

Is your beer vegan? Vancouver Island Brewing also going kosher

Victoria-based brewery has been vegan since 2017

Patrons who have visited Vancouver Island Brewing since their 2017 renovations have experienced their new taproom, but may not have noticed one side effect of their upgrades: all of their beer is now vegan.

Chris Bjerrisgaard, the marketing director of Vancouver Island Brewing, said they’ve had increasing requests for vegan beer in the last few years.

“It is much more predominant,” he said. “The interesting thing is I don’t think a lot of people even knew beer could not be vegan. I think it’s when vegans find out they start contacting every brewery saying, ‘Is your beer vegan? Oh no, I’ve been drinking beer for so long and had no idea I wasn’t maintaining my vegan status.’”

READ MORE: Very Good Butchers to appear on Dragons’ Den

So how is beer not vegan?

When beer is filtered, most breweries add fish bladders as fining agents to remove excess yeast and particles from ingredients like dry hops. The liquid is then run through scrubbing pads, but those pads will often remove hop oils, and the brewer has to add more hops. This makes the brewing process longer, and the use of fish bladder isn’t vegan.

“The reason why you want to remove those things is if you retain those in the beer, the shelf life of the beer goes down,” he said. “Beer’s an active, living product in most cases, much like bread. If you don’t remove all of the yeast, you run the risk of re-fermentation, cans exploding.”

Instead of using fish bladders to clarify their beer, Vancouver Island Brewing bought and installed a centrifuge while undergoing renovations. The centrifuge acts like the Gravitron carnival ride, Bjerrisgaard said. The liquid is poured into a bowl that spins quickly, the force of the movement making the excess yeast and particulates stick to the sides of the container and allowing the rest, what will eventually become beer, pull through.

“The vegan beer is almost an excellent side effect to something we wanted to do for the sake of quality of beer as a whole as well as cost on goods,” Bjerrisgaard said.

While it will save money on the fining process in the long-term, the centrifuge itself is expensive and set the brewery back nearly $250,000. Less expensive models are becoming available, but Bjerrisgaard said the technology is still fairly pricey, so it’s more often used by regional breweries.

Now, Vancouver Island Brewing is also in the process of becoming kosher.

“Luckily for us, we’re a brewery that never used lactose and we’re not using the fining agents for fish bladders. It’s a lot to do with meat and dairy that makes you either kosher or not,” he said.

Dairy is most often introduced by breweries when they add non-fermentable lactose sugars to sweeten dessert beers, such as milk stouts.

Bjerrisgaard said as far as they know, Vancouver Island Brewing is the only brewery in B.C. to undergo the Kosher Check certification.

READ MORE: Most vegans, vegetarians in Canada are under 35: poll


@KeiliBartlett
keili.bartlett@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Vikes ready for Queen’s in Game 1 of national men’s rugby championship

From mid-terms to national championships, it’s a rugby life

B.C. historian helped Viola Desmond make it on the $10 bill

Merna Forster of Oak Bay petitioned for years for a Canadian woman to be honoured on currency

City of Victoria looks for emergency shelter options amidst bed shortage

My Place considered for tier-2 shelter during harsh weather

Third rink needed immediately at Pearkes, say users

Only four ice pads for Saanich, Victoria groups

Algae bloom at Elk Lake prompts CRD advisory notice

Reappearance of blue-green algae lethal to dogs a constant concern for water quality

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended for criminal investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

Good Food Summit plants seeds for food security

The Good Food Summit runs Nov. 22 and 23

POLL: Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?

The Christmas lights are twinkling and holiday music is playing in local… Continue reading

Trial: Witness describes encounter with accused murderer while tending to fatally injured Descoteau

Wright said he was working in his yard when he heard a woman screaming.

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

Otter makes a snack out of koi fish in Vancouver Chinese garden

Staff say the otter has eaten at least five fish

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

Most Read