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New Year, New Beer

Whenever January rears its ugly head, the guilt-free joyride of festive indulgence has the brakes firmly slammed on, as various brands’ marketing departments bombard us with stark reminders that we’ve probably overdone it, and should start the new year with a month of temperance, moderation, or exploration.

Buzzwords start filling up our timelines to try and goad us out of the annual post-Christmas existential funk we find ourselves in.

Dry January. Veganuary. Tryanuary.

Fortunately, in the wonderful world of beer, the Venn diagram for these three resolutions is tighter than you’d first assume:

“Hello, I’d like to try something I’ve never had before that also happens to be alcohol-free and vegan friendly.”

“Right you are, please enjoy this Paulaner Weissbier, I’m sure you’ll find it flavoursome and refreshing.”

Of course, the rate at which the craft beer sector is expanding and diversifying, these month-long commitments can be enjoyed and celebrated the whole year round.


Low-and-no alcohol beers have proliferated at a great pace in recent years, with many commercial and independent brewers alike adding a lighter offering to their portfolio, from supermarket mainstays like Beavertown and Tiny Rebel, to smaller cask-orientated producers like Saltaire and Ilkley.

Furthermore, there are now multiple breweries that have been founded solely on the principle of producing alcohol-free beer – Big Drop of Ipswich and Edinburgh’s Brulo being two you should especially go out of your way to try.

Gone are the days where having an alcohol-free beer meant being served a bottle of over-carbonated, thin, sugary dreck – it’s just as good as the real thing.


Vegan beer is probably even more ubiquitous nowadays, coinciding with a broader acceptance of naturally hazy beer being dispensed. Yet, and somewhat surprisingly, it’s not entirely common knowledge that an animal byproduct is used in some recipes to achieve crystal clarity in a cask-conditioned ale. Before you spit your pint of golden bitter back out, you’re not actually drinking fish-guts right now – those don’t actually make it as far as your glass.

Some brewers display their vegan credentials loud and proud in their branding, or if not certainly pointing you in that direction by declaring their beer to be unfined or unfiltered. Such beers will carry a magnificent, alluring haze – like sunshine through thin cloud – that gives you a visual preview of the silky, smooth body of the beer you’re about to drink.

However, a couple of regular mainstays on the Beer Hall bar are creating vegan-friendly ales that pour crystal clear. Rooster’s are one of the proponents of non-animal product finings; a relatively new innovation that recreates the clarification effect using a synthetic product. Marble use no additional fining or filtration methods at all, instead opting for time, patience, and a great deal of scrutiny of their liquid.


Whatever your drinking habits for January, whether it be teetotal, animal-free, or just going out of your comfort zone, you’re guaranteed to find something that fits the bill at Bowland Beer Hall.

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