Beer is one of the oldest drinks categories. It evolves and changes, breweries experiment with the ingredients, alcohol content and methods of production. Today we will take a quick look at what modern craft breweries offer to us, their customers. We will tell you about low-gluten beer, find out if all beer is vegan and meet you with a functional beer brewed with mushrooms. Let's go!
The mechanism of producing low-gluten beer is quite complex and tricky. As we know, beer is made with the following ingredients: water, hops, malt, and yeast. Barley, wheat and rye are commonly used crops that give beer its traditional flavor. Though all of these grains are a source of gluten, it does not mean that all beers contain high levels of gluten as a finished product.
Low-gluten beer is made by the reduction of gluten level during fermentation. To make their beer low in gluten, brewers add enzymes designed to break down gluten. Note, that enzymes don’t remove the gluten — they break it down into tiny molecules that, theoretically, are too insignificant for your organism to recognize it and react.
Small Beer Brew Co produce a naturally low-gluten beer, they don't add enzymes artificially. Gluten falls into smaller particles during the conditioning time known as lagering. The industry standard lagering period is usually around 4-6 days, while Small Beer is stored for a minimum of 6 weeks, sometimes up to 12 weeks for their Lager. It is during this extended period of time, that the enzymes present in the yeast have time to break down gluten and the final product is a naturally low-gluten beer.
However low-gluten beer is not suitable for people with celiac disease, it is still a great option for those who want to reduce gluten in their diet.
Isn’t all beer vegan? Nope, it is not. Despite being brewed from predominantly plant-based ingredients, there are beers including finings of animal origin. One of the most commonly used component is lactose. Brewers add lactose to make their beer more creamy and smooth as well as to build body and mouthfeel in low-alcohol beers.
If you're vegan, it’s always best to check the ingredients before you buy a beer.
Not vegan-friendly beer ingredients:
- Isinglass (Beer fining, made with fish swim bladders.)
- Gelatin (A protein received from boiling animals' skin, bones, ligaments. It is used to clear beers.)
- Glycerin (Animal-derived glycerin is sometimes called tallow, and is taken from beef or mutton fat.)
- Casein (Casein is a milk ingredient and is not vegan.)
Adaptogens are superfoods, herbs and plantsknow for their ability to help the body adapt to stressors. Adaptogens had been used in medicine for centuries and delivered healthy benefits such as supporting cognitive function and boosting energy. These plants contain elements that help our body to deal with stress and stay calm without any "high" effect.
Being aware of consumers' desire for healthier drink options, beer makers started to produce functional beers with adaptogens. Fungtn is one of such breweries.
Fungtn is the UK’s first brewery producing adaptogenic alcohol-free beer. Their beer is brewed with medicinal mushrooms, packed with antioxidants and claimed to be a natural solution to our daily stresses. Fungtn beer comes in three varieties:
Chaga Lager. Crisp, refreshing dark, European style lager. Malted, chocolate nose with a full rounded body. Enhanced with organic Chaga.
Reishi Citra Beer. Juicy, sweet/sour citra hop beer with a pineapple, grapefruit nose. Enhanced with organic Reishi
Lion’s Mane IPA. Deep, earthy IPA with high notes of peach and stone fruit. Enhanced with organic Lion’s Mane.