Vegan Beers?

You might be wondering: aren't all beers vegan? They aren't made from meat or dairy, right?

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Well, beers obviously don't have meat or dairy in them. But some beers are made with animal products.

Beer becomes non-vegan during the fining process when gelatin is used to "flocculate" yeast and other suspended particles that make the beer cloudy, so that they settle out. The gelatin may be the kind you buy at the store to make jello, which is made from the bones and skin of pigs and cows. Or it could be isinglass, an especially pure gelatin made from the swim bladders of fish. 

It turns out that making vegan beer is very simple. It's just a matter of substituting one ingredient for another. The vegan-friendly alternative for very small breweries like 7Sisters is a product called Biofine Clear. Because Biofine Clear is used in much the same way as gelatin, the decision to make the substitution is normally based on cost. Biofine Clear is about 7 times the cost of gelatin (depending on your dosing rate). 

 Biofine Clear is a vegan-friendly product used to remove particles from beer to make it clear. Image: BSG Craft Brewing 

Biofine Clear is a vegan-friendly product used to remove particles from beer to make it clear. Image: BSG Craft Brewing 

Members of our local vegan community, including customers and the wonderful people from SLO Vegan Guide, convinced us that making vegan beers was the way to go. SLO Vegan Guide recently interviewed brewmaster Steve about making vegan beer. We have switched over to Biofine Clear, and now all of our beers are 100% vegan! 

Not only that, but we explicitly advertise our beer (along with any guest beers, ciders, wines, and craft sodas) as being vegan. Brewing with Biofine Clear isn't what makes us unique-- a lot of small breweries brew with it! But we don't think vegan customers should constantly have to wonder and ask. So we make it clear: Anything you drink here at 7Sisters is vegan. 

We also worked really hard to create yummy vegan menu items, including grilled cheese and chili! These recipes took quite a bit of experimentation to find the perfect melty "cheese" (made from cashews), and to make the chili have that rich texture (the trick is lots of mushrooms and walnuts). We are expanding our vegan menu items soon!

 One of our lovely customers enjoying a vegan grilled cheese sandwich and michelada. ( Look at her cool avocado tattoo! )

One of our lovely customers enjoying a vegan grilled cheese sandwich and michelada. (Look at her cool avocado tattoo!)

With our commitment to vegan-friendly beverages and a selection of vegan menu items, we are proud to be SLO's most vegan-friendly brewery!

Steve & Emily

Sustainable Scouts

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We talk a lot about sustainability at 7Sisters, but that's only one way we want to make a difference. We also want to support causes that we believe in, by providing a free meeting space (just contact us if you're interested!), sharing resources, and promoting groups and causes. All with a delicious beer in hand.

The Girl Scouts of America are an organization that helps empower women from a young age. With Girl Scout Cookie season just beginning, we thought this would be a great opportunity to help an organization that has helped so many others. On Tues, Feb 6 we are having a Beer & Girl Scout Cookie Pairing event at the brewery. For $5, we will pair Girl Scout Cookies with your flight of beers.  

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During the event we will also be selling boxes of all your favorite cookies on behalf of a local scout through our Point of Sale system (credit and debit cards accepted!). All box proceeds go to the Girl Scouts, and we will also donate a portion of the cookie/beer pairing proceeds to the scouts.  

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Ever wonder where all that cookie money goes? Girl Scouts of America contracts directly with two bakers in the US, so no middlepeople. After paying 20% to the baker for making and transporting the cookies, about 20% goes to the local troop, and the rest goes to the national program for campground upgrades, volunteer training, low income assistance, program development, and organizational administration.

So come by and try our cookie/beer pairings and pick up a bunch of boxes for friends (you know, the ones that can't wait for the Samoas to come back every year), and help out an organization truly worthy of your assistance.

- Steve

More about the Beer & Girl Scout Cookie Pairing Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/2097151290514489/

Sustainably Brewed

It's on our logo glasses, and it's becoming our mantra. We live it every day.

At 7Sisters Brewing, we are committed to sustainability in every component of our business, from the brewing process to our kitchen to the tasting room. Over the past week we have provided daily blurbs about how we put sustainability into action at 7Sisters Brewing. These blurbs are compiled here.

Sustainability [suh-stey-nuh-bil-i-tee]: the quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance

#1: COMPOST-CRAZY

 Image from Tufts University Composting Program

Image from Tufts University Composting Program

We are crazy for compost here, composting everything from our spent grain to our kitchen scraps to our palm leaf plates. We even use compostable straws instead of plastic! Our waste goes to SLO's community compost program, where it will eventually nourish locally grown crops.

 

 

 

#2: SLOCAL SLOCAL #SLOCAL! 

 Image is painting of SLO in 1868 by Leon Trousett

Image is painting of SLO in 1868 by Leon Trousett

We source almost everything for the brewery locally, supporting our community and cutting out the waste inherent in long-distance shipping. Here is an exciting list of some of the local businesses we work with directly.

Our food is house-made from scratch and sourced from our amazing community of artisan food producers, including:
-cheeses from Central Coast Creamery in SLO
-salumi from Alle-Pia Fine Cured Meats in Atascadero
-bread from Back Porch Bakery in Atascadero and Edna’s Bakery in SLO
-spices and herbs from Spice of Life in Paso Robles
 

 

We proudly showcase local cideries and breweries as guest taps (current features include Two Broads Ciderworks in SLO and Naughty Oak Brewing Co. in Orcutt). Local wines are coming in January!

 Local artist Amanda McClellan's  The Nine Sisters .   Click here  to find this on her Etsy shop.

Local artist Amanda McClellan's The Nine Sisters.  Click here to find this on her Etsy shop.

The décor in the brewery is hyper-local: we landscaped our patio with drought-tolerant plants from Native Sons Nursery in Arroyo Grande; local artist Isaac Yorke (@imyorke) installed our spray paint mural; we feature and sell the work of local artists (currently on display is the work of Amanda and Skylar McClellan). Even our T-shirts and hats are made by JCarroll, a stone’s throw from the brewery’s front door.

We are proud members of the SLO Chamber of Commerce and the Central Coast Brewer’s Guild, and we are thrilled to be approved as SLO’s first vegan-friendly brewery by SLOVegan Guide.
Last but certainly not least, all of our servers are Cal Poly alumni or current graduate students. That’s about as SLOCAL as it gets!

#3: REPURPOSED Materials! 

 Photo by Kathleen Gerber

Photo by Kathleen Gerber

Next time you're in the brewery take a look around and you'll notice that the tasting room is built from repurposed materials. Our bar, shown here, is built from school lockers topped with zinc-wrapped wood from the shipping crate in which the lockers arrived!

Other repurposed features include our lighting (made from Cal Poly lab lamps), our patio bars (made from the wood forms used when pouring the concrete patio), and our tables (shop benches from LA Technical College). This is another way that we are working to reduce waste to help shrink our footprint as we produce our beers.

 

 

 

#4: WATER CONSERVATION

 Photo by Matthew Pierson

Photo by Matthew Pierson

Water is a subject near and dear to the heart of Californians, and the brewing industry is a thirsty consumer.  On average, they consume between 4 and 6 pints of water for every pint produced, most of it in the cleaning process. Our brewer at 7Sisters is an environmental engineer, and he looked at every aspect of the brewing process, from brewing to cooling to cleaning, and re-engineered it to use far less water- about 2 pints per pint. As we expand to packaging, you can be sure we will be working hard to keep our water footprint as small as possible, without compromising quality.

 

#5: ENERGY EFFICIENCY

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Using energy inefficiently depletes our natural resources and releases pollutants into our environment unnecessarily. At 7Sisters, we have designed our hybrid natural gas and electric brewing system to take advantage of the most efficient properties of each system while minimizing the less efficient aspects. It costs a little more, but we think it's worth it. Additionally, every light bulb in our brewery is a dimmable LED. When you walk into the well-lit tasting room, all those lights combined use about as much electricity as two 60-watt light bulbs. The three bright patio lights use as much electricity as just one 60-watt bulb.

Think outside the barrel!

Thank you for supporting sustainable brewing practices. If you haven't checked out our tasting room and restaurant yet, we hope to see you soon. Here are a few highlights to get your mouth watering.
- Our kitchen features gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches and other bar fare, with vegan and gluten free options available.
- We are family-friendly, with games and craft root beer for your kiddos, and our patio is pet-friendly.
- Check out our Event Calendar for fun, free happenings at the brewery, including Friday Pint Night ($8 logo glass with $2 off refills every Friday, forever), Sunday Open Mic Night (performers get a free beer), monthly Comedy Night, Wednesday live Irish music, and many other live music events.

 Cheers! Photo by Kyle Nessen

Cheers! Photo by Kyle Nessen