Why You Should Check The Beer Label Before Drinking

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From the Anash.org inbox: A Crown Heights resident noticed a friend accidentally serving non-kosher beer purchased from local kosher stores, and warns others to be cautious and check the kashrus of the products they purchase.

From the Anash.org inbox:

Recently I went to my friend’s house to have a few beers and it turns out 3 out of the 6 beers we were going to try were not Kosher! All of these beers were purchased from a local kosher store in Crown Heights, and I was shocked that non-kosher products were being sold there.

This isn’t an isolated incident; my brother-in-law out of town had beers with lactose served with the cholent at his kiddush. Even while doing Smichah, I saw well intentioned people drinking treif beer- which is sold in local Crown Heights kosher stores.

I ask everyone to do your due diligence next time you decide to buy a beer from your local store and check one of the many available kashrus lists online to see whether your purchase is acceptable. It behooves us as Chassidim of the Rebbe and Frumme Yidden to be extremely careful when it comes to something as important as what we put into our mouths.

Some notes about Kosher beer (abridged from the cRc website):

  • Unflavored beer, brewed in factories that only produce unflavored beer, do not require hashgacha. This applies to both light and dark beer, both full calorie and light versions.
  • Flavored beer always requires reliable kosher certification. (Herbal flavors may in fact be kosher, but each product requires individual research.)
  • A company owned by a Jew who does not sell his product for Pesach results in beer that is Chometz She’avar alav HaPesach, and is not kosher.
  • Unflavored beer produced in a factory which also makes flavored beer may have serious kashrus issues.
  • Unflavored beer from large companies appears to be less problematic due to the fact that they generally do not experiment with such unusual flavorings. (The notable exception is Budweiser Chelada, a mixture of beer and clam juice.) Checking the label for dairy or other allergen statements may be a prudent measure.
  • The main concerns appear to be in microbreweries due to their non-kosher flavorings. This applies to both the flavored and the non-flavored products. The general rule is: a beer which is only available in a specific region is likely from a microbrewery, and must have a reliable hechsher.

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