Dairy and other animal products are often used in the fining process of beer-making, but there are many delicious vegan beers to choose from if you know where to look! These vegan-friendly brews are my Top 5 favorites, and I've found all of them in abundance throughout the U.S., from New York to the Midwest to Florida to California to Alaska. Cheers!
There is a reason that this delightful Triple-style golden ale has won more international awards than any other Canadian beer, and many reasons why it's my favorite vegan beer to date. Although it's name, La Fin du Monde literally translates as The End of the World, it was named so by Unibroue not in a spirit of foreboding but one of celebration; the end of the world is actually representative of the celebration of the discovery of North America, the new world.
With a light golden hue and plenty of fine-bubble fizz, this 9% ale brims with a light, crisp taste that finishes dry, and despite its high alcohol percentage it doesn't taste like a high-alcohol beer, which is both amazing and, well, dangerous for people like me who love a good beer.
The best way I can describe Van Steenberge Brouwerij's Piraat is to say that it feels like drinking gold. At 10.5% alcohol content, this ale is not messing around, but like La Fin du Monde, it's smooth with only the slightest scent of alcohol. A little bit goes a long way, so buy a few cases of Piraat, and let the flavors develop over the years. Rich and golden with a slightly sweet-and-bitter finish, this is a true beer-lover's beer. And it's vegan!
Unlike La Fin du Monde and Piraat, Chimay's Grand Reserve (also commonly referred to as "Chimay Blue") is a darker Trappist ale colored with purple-maroon tones of plums and raisins and finishing with a slight dry chew. But like the other two brews, it's high alcohol content (9%) is masked by a gentle sweetness and stirring fizz.
4. Don de Dieu
Unibroue's Don de Dieu ("Gift of God") is a great introduction to stronger beers for vegans who have yet to move away from PBR. Scented with honey, vanilla, and fruit, this triple wheat ale has a complex flavor but it goes down smooth from the first sip to the last, even at 8% ABV.
Brewed by monks in a brewery located inside the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Saint-Rémy, the Trappist Rochefort 8 is sold to financially support the monastery, and it is their most-produced ale. Dark with a bold, earthy flavor and a slight chewiness at the finish, this ale has a bite--it's not for anyone with a sweet tooth. The best way to compare this beer is to say that if you love a good cup of black coffee or a chunk of dark chocolate, you'll love this beer. Above all, you'll taste the care that went into its production.