Thursday, August 9, 2018

What Makes Beer Kosher? Part I

One of the questions I most commonly get is, what makes beer kosher?
First a short introduction on kosher food in general. There is a common misconception that to become kosher, food needs to be blessed by a Rabbi. This can't be farther than the truth. Rather, a kosher certified product tells the consumer that a Rabbi (known as a Mashgiach) oversaw the production of said product, and is in compliance with the complex laws of kosher. Which basically entails making sure no non-kosher ingredients are used in production of the product. Or, and maybe more important to our question of beer, no non-kosher ingredients are used on the production line.
With that introduction we can move on to beer. Beer in it's most basic form is made from four main ingredients. They are water, malted barley, hops, and yeast. The leading Kashrus Agencies in America have come out and said that these four ingredients in and of themselves are kosher even without supervision. Therefore, for a long time most assumed all beer to be considered kosher even without certification. What many people do not know, is that the large breweries also known as macro breweries, substitute other ingredients in place of malted barley. Commonly known as adjuncts, they usually use rice or corn, to lighten the beer and therefore it also make it less flavorful. These ingredients as well, were considered reccomended by the Kashrus Agencies.
At this point all large breweries' (non-flavored) beer are considered recommended.
Then came the microbreweries.
To be continued....

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