Isinglass - a gelatine made using fish swim bladder - is used to make beer crystal clear

Some people will already know a lot of finings are not vegetarian. Everyone else will be surprised at the revelation but after a little reading understand how this is the case and move on. It's an interesting aspect of brewing and very nice to see it getting 'air-time' on the BBC news website. Click here to read the article.

This is admittedly a wheat beer (which should be cloudy) but you get the idea...

This is admittedly a wheat beer (which should be cloudy) but you get the idea...

The journalist, Liam Barnes, writes really well on the use of Isinglass as a fining to clear beer. What's most refreshing about the article is it asks: do we need to clear our beers?

Using finings isn't the end of the world by any means (unless you're a vegetarian maybe) but it could be unnecessary and therefore worth changing the current perception.  A lot of beer drinkers question every single hazy beer served to them, even slightly hazy beer. Yet a lot of dry hopped beers will appear slightly hazy, this isn't an indication that it's gone off, or that you're drinking from the bottom of the barrel, it's just a sign that the oils from the hops (which are released in abundance when you dry-hop) have imparted a beautiful fruity, citrusy, floral note to beer. The oils have slightly emulsified in the beer and left a faint haze - nothing more sinister than that (...and that's not even sinister in and of itself).

Drink hazy beer sometimes, unless your landlord is trying to sell you the dregs and call it 'real ale'!