Kosher Beer

Kosher Beer

From a Torah perspective, intoxicating drinks are looked at from two different perspectives. One one hand, wine is used for many religious functions, such as kiddush and havdalah on Shabbat and holidays and many and life cycle events such as weddings and brit milah ceremonies. One the other hand, drinking too much and getting drunk are generally thought of as unacceptable in the Orthodox Jewish world.

All unflavored beer with no additives are considered to be kosher, even without certification. Some of the most popular kosher beer companies include:

  • Samuel Adams
  • Coors
  • Saranac
  • Pete's Brewing
  • and
  • Brooklyn Brewery
  • .
    These beers are generally available where ever beer is sold.

    Beer and Kashrut

    Beer is a fermented beverage made of grains and other starches. Generally, beer that is unflavored may be considered to be kosher beer, but it must be kept in mind that the beer may be flavored without clear labeling. There are flavored beers that are kosher, but these beers must have a kosher certification, of a heksher, as do stouts. Kosher beer is widely available.

    Beer is generally made out of kosher ingredients, which are water, barley, yeast and hops. Other problematic ingredients may be added. Most of the beer made in the United States, Norway, Germany and England is kosher beer.

    Beer during Pesach

    There is a certain time of the year when even kosher beer is not permitted to be consumed. What makes food kosher for Pesach is strictly avoiding anything that contains chametz. Chametz refers to fermented grain products, which would include beer and liquor.

    Kosher Wine

    Wine is mentioned many times in the Torah. Noach, who along with his family, are the sole survivors after God decides to destroy all life on earth. After the devastation, Noach planted a vineyard and made wine, making him the first tiller of the soil.

    In modern days, kosher wines must be produced in accordance to halacha, Jewish law. In order for kosher wines to be considered as such, Jews who are shomer mitzvot, who keep the laws of the Torah, must be involved in the entire process of making it. Because wine was habitually used on ancient pagan rituals, its production is much more strict than other alcoholic beverages. Because of its connection with idolatry, wine and other grape products made by gentiles is prohibited by Jews.

    Since many kosher wines are also kosher for Pesach, they are often kept free from contact with breads and grains.

    Kosher Liquor

    Liquor refers to blended and flavored alcoholic drinks. Most are made of alcohol, sugar or corn syrup, and flavorings. Kosher liquors always need certification. This is because the alcoholic base used in liquor is often grape brandy, the flavorings and the presence of glycerin, a common sweetener and emulsifier, which is commonly made from animal fat. It is crucial for all of these ingredients to be kosher. Kosher liquors may also contain dairy, and those that do will say so on the heksher. Kosher liquors that contain dairy may not be eaten with meals that contain meat. An important factor in what makes food kosher is the strict separation of meat and dairy.

    Alcohol and Purim

    Although drinking is generally discouraged in the Orthodox Jewish world, Purim is one holiday that getting drunk is actively encouraged. The Talmud in Megillah 7a that "A person should drink on Purim until the point where they cannot tell the difference between Blessed is Mordechai and Cursed is Haman." There are many spiritual reasons for this widespread and popular custom.

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