10 British breweries that make vegan cask ales
Vegan-friendly cask ale is on the rise. Here, the drinks business identifies 10 British breweries making delicious real ale available for all.
Historically, if you’ve been a beer-adoring vegan, most of the beers you have been guided towards have been packaged in cans and bottles and have often been the big macro beer brands that have the time, money and resources to label and market their beers. But what if you really hanker for a pint of cask ale, but you feel concerned that without clear pump clip labelling or bar staff in the know won’t be able to verify the best choices for a vegan drinker? Look no further. While many pub and bar owners need to take note and stock well-labelled cask ale options, consumers can also be given a bit of clarity over which breweries avoid Isinglass finings, lactose or honey in their brews. Here’s a handy list for any vegan’s looking for extra help in searching for delicious real ale made by some of Britain’s best breweries also known for serving it out of their taphouses or flying the flag for beer that is suitable for all.
1, Moor Beer Co
“All our output is vegan,” Moor tells db and has previously led by being one of the first breweries in Britain to make 100% vegan-friendly beer. Looking for a tasty unfined beer on cask in a pub? Look out for its pump clips on the hand pulls on the bar. The brewery itself is based in Bristol, but you are likely to see Moor beers all over the UK, or ask your local to look into stocking some on cask to try.
2, Top Rope Brewing
Top Rope Brewing is a microbrewery and taproom based in Liverpool which focuses on bold flavoured, vegan friendly beers, some of which are available on cask. What’s especially handy for vegan’s is that Top Rope’s pump clips proudly display the words ‘vegan friendly’. This brewery may be small, but its following is growing due to its ethos and genuinely quaffable brews.
3, Four Priests Brewery
A small but beautifully formed brewery that makes golden ale, best bitter, oatmeal stout and an APA all in cask and all vegan-friendly too. The team are sharing their journey via YouTube too and have built up a following via the beer festival circuit. An honest take on starting a brewery and creating beers people come back to try time and time again. Middlewich is just south of Manchester and north of Stoke on Trent.
4, Purity Brewing Co
Accredited by the Vegan Society. Purity has previously referred to using a centrifuge to extract all the unwanted particles left in the beer and has also been cited to be using the fining agent Super F instead of Isinglass in all its cask beers. Based in Birmingham, Purity’s beers are available all over the UK, but it also serves them in Brum in its own taprooms too. Well worth a visit.
5, Gun Brewery
Currently seven of Gun’s eight beers in its core range on cask are vegan-friendly. The only beer that isn’t vegan is its Parabellum Milk Stout, which obviously contains lactose. But, if you’re looking on the bar and you’re more in the south of the country, lots of Gun’s beers are widely available – especially across Brighton which sees a big demand for veganism and often flags up the diversity of vegan options on pub food and drink menus.
6, Good Chemistry Brewing
Fresh unfined and unfiltered beers that are available on cask and suitable for vegans. Good Chemistry tells db: “All our beers are always suitable for vegans. We’re working on making that more obvious, but you can always choose a GCB beer with absolute confidence that it’s the case.” Good Chemistry also has a couple of pubs in Bristol where the brewery is based, notably The Good Measure on Chandos Road and The King’s Head on Victoria Street.
7, Neptune Brewery
Based in Liverpool, but serving up cask ale options to pubs and bars all over the UK, Neptune tells db: “Since inception our beers have been brewed vegan friendly. Always will be too.” But don’t just buy Neptune’s beers because they fit the bill, try some because they’re truly delicious and are made by really wonderfully decent and friendly small business owners Julie and Les O’Grady who are making great strides in the Liverpool craft beer scene.
8, Tom’s Tap & Brewhouse
When discussing vegan-friendly cask ale, Sean Ayling who is the owner and brewer there and also serves up vegan-friendly beer in the adjoining taphouse based in Crewe. Speaking to db, Ayling queried: “Why would you want to limit who can drink your beer? If we were bigger (maybe soon) we’d likely go gluten-free too. The testing cost being the only barrier.” What is excellent about this is that Ayling himself welcomes people to the taphouse to try vegan beers on cask and offers to talk anyone through the range too. A step forwards for those looking to expand their repertoire.
9, Brass Castle Brewery
The Brass Castle makes cask ale predominantly for Yorkshire, but the small team’s beers are gaining traction across the UK and everything Brass Castle brews is both vegan and gluten-free. The best place to drink some of its beer is fresh from the brewery in the Brass Castle Taphouse in Malton.
10, Mumbles Brewery
All the cask ales from Mumbles Brewery are suitable for vegans apart from its Oystermouth Stout. The brewery, based in Mumbles, Swansea in Wales was established in 2011 and its beers are available across pubs in the Gower region, South Wales and also a host of pubs and bars in Bristol too. The team also offers mini casks which contain live yeast for real ale fans to try at home. Once opened the mini casks will remain fresh for up to three days.