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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Alcohol for Vegans

I admit that I was startled the first time I heard that you could find lactose in beer. With all due modesty, that means that most people don't have any idea that beers like milk stout, liquors that are cream (not creme) liquors, and even some wines that are "fined" with milk all contain dairy. The amount of lactose and of dairy varies from significant to infinitesimal so it's next to impossible to give guidelines of whether any any individual name, brand, or type might give you problems.

And vegans as well as those keeping kosher may need to avoid products with animal-based ingredients entirely. Where do you go for a list of those? How about Barnivore: Your vegan wine and beer guide.

Barnivore compiles information on hundreds of beer, wine, and liquor companies and rates them as vegan friendly or NOT vegan friendly. The companies that get the dreaded NOT are usually ones that use animal products in the fining process. What does that mean for any individual bottle? Fortunately, the listing for each entry explains the details in more, um, detail. Animal products are not always the same as dairy products so the guide is stricter than we would need, but I don't know of any sites that concentrate solely on dairy in the same way. If you do, please let me know.

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