Sep 4, 2008

What is Meat? (Pt. 3: The Beer Conundrum)

This is the last installment of this set (read Part 1 and Part 2 if you haven't) but I think I'll likely revisit the topic, particularly regarding Asian American spaces and vegetarianism.

While writing the previous posts, I discovered a very troubling fact from a search related to a non-alcoholic drink (Jamaican Irish Moss) I had recently. Apparently, some beer companies use isinglass in the filtration of their product. Isinglass is basically extracted from fish swimbladders, so therefore, pretty non-vegetarian. Check out the details on the substance here.

While getting more and more worried about what I've been drinking, I found these lists of beers that are vegetarian (with emails from the companies to back it up). Here's another list of acceptable vegetarian beers.

Note that Guiness is NOT on this list and therefore not a vegetarian beer. *sigh*  I guess this means that I should have hard alcohol if I'm going to drink. Man, Jains had it right not to allow alcohol in the diet. But who the hell knew that you can't have beer without eating fish/etc parts?!?!

This is almost as disturbing as the ground-up insects in some of my favorite candy.

It kind of begs the question about what it is that some people won't eat. I guess some large part of this is the big corporation deciding what corners to cut and what preservatives and other substances will get the desired effect, without really stopping to think whether their consumers want to consume these pieces of animals, insects, and fish. Does it matter? For people like me, the answer is "definitely yes," but what for others? Aside from the grossout factor, is this as disturbing to non-vegetarians as it is to me?

Whatever the case, in post #1 I was crying out against the "pork: the other white meat" campaign in NYC subways. Maybe this revelation about non-veg beers could lead to a new slogan: "beer, the meat with hops."


Fire Fly said...

Isinglass isn't the only animal-derived fining product used in brewing, and animal finings are also used in winemaking.

Fire Fly said...

Also, the lists are a bit Eurocentric... I don't see any of the popular Australian beers on there...

Rage said...

Thanks for the insights - links would be wonderful.