What’s In Our Beer? Is it Vegan? Vegetarian? GMO free?

What’s In Our Beer? Is it Vegan? Vegetarian? GMO free?


There has been stuff stuff flying around the internet about what is in beer. Admittedly some of it is pretty concerning and some of it is pretty inaccurate.  Now we know that it will come as no shock to most of you that there are untruths and half truths on the web… so we asked Lead Brewer Jeff Rowe to talk about it in one of his blog posts.  Here is his response:

If I’m Vegetarian/Vegan—can I drink Cape Cod Beer?

Well, If you’re vegetarian the answer is yes. Our beer is vegetarian across the board. We use malt, yeast, hops, and water to make our beer. All of which are vegetarian. The debate over beer being vegetarian or not largely stems from the filtering process. Many brewers, and home-brewers use isinglass to clarify their beer. Isinglass is an animal by-product. Technically… wait for it… it’s fish bladder. Isinglass is largely found in British brewing, especially the fining of cask ale, though it does pop up with some American brewers. We at Cape Cod Beer do not fine our casks with isinglass, nor do we clarify, or filter our beer using isinglass. We use Diatomaceous Earth to filter our beer.

What is Diatomaceous Earth?

This would be the short answer: Diatomaceous earth consists of fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shelled algae. While that may sound suspect to a vegetarian—it has been put under the microscope (pun so intended) by various reliable vegetarian resource guides. Through research on this product it has been deemed not only vegetarian, but vegan.

Now, If you’re a vegan… I’ve got a different, but simple answer: The vast majority of the beer that Cape Cod Beer makes is vegan. We have only one beer that cannot be considered vegan friendly. And that one beer is our Stargazer Stout. Stargazer is a milk stout in which we use lactose in the brewing process. Lactose is a sugar derived from milk (an animal by-product) thereby, making it not suitable for a vegan lifestyle. And again, that would be our only non-vegan beer at this point. Even our Mint Chocolate Porter is made using vegan cacao nibs. We have no plans on changing any part of our process that would render our beer non-vegetarian, or vegan (besides Stargazer) for that matter.

It’s worth noting that in the time that I’ve been in the brewing industry—brewers have become more transparent/aware about what beers can be considered vegetarian, or vegan. More and more at festivals and events you’ll come across a sign under the description of the beer that reads: VG (vegetarian) or V (Vegan). Regardless of whether or not your diet preference is a moral stance, or a health concern—it’s always nice to see fellow brewers making the effort to help you navigate what you can’t, or won’t ingest.

 What about GMOs?

Regardless of how you feel about GMOs, we think it is important that people who might be trying to avoid them be reassured that all of the grain that Cape Cod Beer brews with, at this time, is GMO Free.  We felt pretty sure in that statement a few days ago, but admittedly decided to once again verify our knowledge by contacting each of the malting companies we do business with (thank you internet) directly and verify that this remains true.  They all responded as we expected that they are GMO free at this time. As a company we hope to remain GMO free.

Thanks for reading,


Jeff Rowe
Lead Brewer (and vegetarian)
Cape Cod Beer