Barack and Michelle Obama enjoy a pint during their 2011 visit+
Barack and Michelle Obama enjoy a pint during their 2011 visit
Published at 12:01AM, October 31 2015
It’s official — Guinness is now good for vegans.
The company is to stop using fish bladders in its filters, so for the first time in its 256-year history it will be offering a vegan friendly pint of stout.
Vegans and strict vegetarians have long petitioned the St James’s Gate Brewery to stop using isinglass, a fishing industry by-product, to remove extra yeast from the stout.
A spokesman for Guinness said yesterday that a new filtration plant, set to be built next year, will spell the end of the substance, obtained from the dried swim bladders of fish, ending up in the black stuff.
“Whilst isinglass is a very effective means of clarification, and has been used for many years, we expect to stop using it as the new filtration asset is introduced,” the spokesman said.
The news will be a welcome surprise for vegans. In January the company wrote to Barnivore, an online guide to vegan beer and wine, and said that no alternative could be found to filter the famous stout. The company said it was reviewing its options, but that to date, we have not found any alternative that is as effective and as environmentally friendly as isinglass,”
The company is now understood to be looking at two filtration methods which would not require isinglass.
The agent has long been a source of frustration for beer-loving vegans as it does not need to be included on the label in most countries.
In 2003, the European Parliament ditched a plan to force beer makers to highlight the use of isinglass on bottles and cans after breweries lobbied for its exemption from labelling on the grounds that it had traditionally been used in the brewing process with no recorded side effects.
Isinglass is not used for flavour or texture but for helping the yeast sediment settle faster, and tiny particles of fish remain in the final drink. Its use dates to the 1700s when it was employed to refine cheaper beer by removing the sediment and particles left at the bottom of the barrel.
In St James’s Brewery it is believed to have been introduced to the product by Alexander Forbes-Watson in the 1800s, saving the company £6,000 a year by recovering beer at the bottom of their vats.
It is rarely used in modern brewing as synthetic gelatins do the same work, although many British “real-ale” cask beers use it to refine the final brew.
Here, we’ve selected our essential top ten, with the first eight being Somerville’s selections from Ireland for his top 50 best wild places in Ireland and Britain:
1. Umbra Dunes, Co. Derry
Home to plentiful supplies of rare flowers, Umbra Dunes is reached by following a natural trail through wooded areas out to the Dunes. The backdrop to the Dunes is a stunning scenery of purple cliffs.
2. Beaghmore Stone Circles, Co. Tyrone
Seven circles of stone, ten rows and a dozen or so round cairns were positioned here in low lying bog land in Tyrone during the mid Bronze Age. They were first discovered by bog-cutters in the 1930s and now are visible, though many more structures could still be beneath layers of bog. The stone circles are believed to correlate with the summer solstice as well as the cycles of the sun and moon.
3. Sperrin Hills, Co. Tyrone
A perfect spot for a nature enthusiast’s walk in Tyrone. With no roads and the aging shepherds paths fading back into the ground, the walk over the Hills is truly a naturally led one. The Hills form a natural barrier overlooking the lush Glenelly Valley.
4. Nephin Beg Mountains, Co. Mayo
Author Christopher Somerville proclaims “You will never, ever forget the Bangor Trail if you decide to tackle it.” The 30 mile rugged trail through the Nephin Beg Mountains is “the loneliest hill track through the widest extent of blanket bog and the remotest mountain range in Ireland.”
5. Caher Island, Co. Mayo
The “lonely and alluring” small slip 6 miles off the coast of Mayo holds “the simple beauty of a tiny, ancient church in ruins” with seemingly untouched markers and offerings around it. The difficult to access Caher Island is the stuff of myths - “feathers and fresh flowers lie in offerings, though you have seen no other boat.” Local people believe that the “sea itself” guards the tiny island and “will rise up against anyone foolish enough to take anything away.”
6. Aran Islands, Co. Galway
Geographically an extension of Co Clare’s Burren district, the Aran Islands are “Irish-speaking islands, remote in the mouth of the bay.” Though the Islands are both physically forboding and beautiful, the natives of the Islands are welcoming but not forthcoming with strangers. History and nature collide on this chain of three islands off the coast of Galway.
7. The Burren, Co. Clare
“The Burren is without question the most magical place in County Clare,” writes Somerville. This old seabed that hoisted to the air and then scraped by icebergs comprises 500 square miles “of rounded grey hills and rocky coast on the southern shores of Galway Bay.” The area boasts floral rarities that attract botanists from around the world.
8. Great and Little Skellig, Co Kerry
Described as “an unforgettable experience,” Skelling Michael is 9 miles off of the Iveragh Peninsula in Co Kerry. Here, you’ll find an “emotional moment” at the summit of Skellig Michael where a monastery sustained itself for 500 years off of rainwater and fish caught in from the sea. The remains of 1,500 year old crosses can be found still standing near the remains of the huts and churches the monks built before moving ashore.
9. Glenariff, Co. Antrim
Described as “the most breathtaking piece of coastal scenery in Ireland” by Somerville, Glenariff offers a striking display of beautifully colored cliffs. The Glenariff Forest Park offers four walking tours, with the most dramatic being the Waterfall Trail. Somerville recommends going either early or late in the day to avoid distracting crowds and, if possible, after it rains when “there is a magic in the woods.”
10. Old Kenmare Road, Co. Kerry
An 11 mile trail that takes you through some of the most untouched and scenic pieces in Co. Kerry, the path originates near the south shore of Muckross Lake and brings you to an overlook to Peakeen Mountain and Knockanaguish. The trail brings you to encounter everything from glens, to waterfalls, to ruins of old settlements.
The 10 Most Beautiful European Cities To Visit This Fall
Autumn in Les Tuilleries in Paris (Flickr: Ryan Blyth)
Plan your family vacation in the Fall after the summer's heat and crowds have disappeared. It's a great time to visit Europe with good weather (mostly!) for exploring, better rates all around, and that glorious Fall light bathing the picturesque scenery. Whether you choose Paris, Rome or Prague, each city has its own charm and exciting events at this special time of year.
Here are our top picks for the best towns to visit in Europe for fall foliage and more.
Paris has its fair share of kids entertainment in the Fall season. Wander the parks as the leaves change, sample the warming 'chocolat chauds' to fend off any chills, or stay up all night for the "White Night" (October 3) to visit museums by night for free! You'll find plenty of museums with kid-friendly exhibits to keep you busy in the daytime too, such as the Musee en Herbe, which is running a Tintin exhibit until the end of November. To stay in the heart of the action, try the Hotel des Grands Hommes near the Luxembourg gardens or Hotel Home near the Eiffel Tower.
Visit when the temperatures are ideal for roaming compared to the blistering summer's heat! The perfect family fall vacation in Rome includes a stroll around Villa Borghese, mooching around the Campo di Fiori markets, getting an ice cream at Giolitti's near the Pantheon and taking a look at the Coliseum, where gladiators once fought for their lives. If budget is no issue check into the gorgeous Hotel de Russie where kids are treated like VIPs. For a resort feel try the Gran Melia, within easy reach of Trastevere and Vatican City.
Autumn in Amsterdam (Flickr: Jan)
Kid-friendly Amsterdam offers a great cultural family vacation. Cruise the canals and take in the views in the crisp autumn light, which inspired so many artists. In the fall, catch the annual Cinekid Festival for film, television and new-media with over 50,000 children (15 October to 1 November 2015) or be spooked at the Halloween Festival (October 29 till November 1 2015). To stay in town, check into the Crowne Plaza City Centre with its bunk bed rooms, or to be close to the zoo, head to The Rembrandt, a boutique hotel with a resident cat.
Prague in the fall (Flickr: Moyan Brenn)
Prague in the fall is a sight to behold, with its mellow glow and its coat of golden leaves. With kids, don't miss climbing the Petrín Tower and Charles Bridge for great fall views. To sleep like a baby, the Four Seasons Hotel is the perfect home from home with babysitting services. For those who like a kid's club, try Alchymist Grand And Spa Hotel.
A fairytale city, Budapest is ideal in the fall when you can still sample the famous baths and the beaches, or hit the museums. October is a busy month with the Palinka & Sausage Festival, Children's Festival and the Vintage Model Trains Festival, as well as the Budapest Vintage Cars Festival! Book into the chic Four Seasons Gresham Palace with its lovely pool or to get wet at the Aquaworld Resort Budapest.
Dubrovnik Old Harbour in the Old City (Flickr: S J Pinkney)
Dubbed the "Jewel of the Adriatic," Dubrovnik deserves its nickname. Just as pretty in the Fall when the sun still shines, though less harshly over the cobbled streets and the leaves start to fall, it's a great place to combine beach, culture and history perfectly. Even better, the summer's tourists have left! Go island hopping or take aGame of Thrones tour (it's the setting for King's Landing) -- all in perfect weather. For the best views, stay at the luxurious Excelsior, a sophisticated family-friendly hotel, with the great discounted Fall rates.
Fall is the perfect time for a family vacation in Dublin thanks to the many festivals and events, from the Jurassic Adventures at the state-of-the-art Helix theatre, to the Animation Film Festival and Bram Stoker Scary Festival. In keeping with the scary theme, Halloween is also a great time to visit for the GAA Museum's Halloween Tours in Croke Park, the Ghastly Glasnevin Cemetery's Children's Ghoulish Graveyard Tours and the Spooktacular at the zoo amongst others. For a treat, try the Halloween trick or treat workshop at the Chocolate Warehouse! Stay at the Westbury Hotel, famous for its Teddy Bear Tea or, try the Radisson Blu St. Helen's Hotel for 18th century Georgian grandeur.
Pretty as a picture especially during the Fall season, Oxford is the perfect place for Harry Potter fans to take a family vacation. Catch all the action as the students return and cycle around town in their black robes! Visit the University Parks, at their best in their autumn colours, see the beautiful college buildings, the covered market for a warming cup of tea or soup, and don't miss the Ashmolean Museum's Tutankhamun exhibition running until November 2nd. To stay in a family-friendly hotel with a twist, check into the Malmaison Oxford Castle, a swish boutique hotel set in the old prison!
Fall folliage in Belfont Hallen, Bruges (Flickr: Derek Winterburn)
Families in search of culture, history and chocolate won't be disappointed in the "Venice of the North"! The UNESCO World Heritage Site with its canals and ancient buildings, and many chocolate shops is utterly charming, especially in the soft Fall light. Even better in late September, the Kookeet festival brings gourmet food to town with gastronomic dishes at fair prices! Stay at the Hotel Dukes' Palace, a former aristocratic residence with 5 family rooms and a large garden to roam free in.
Tucked between France, Italy and the Mediterranean, Monaco is a great place to visit in the fall with its warm weather and great autumnal events such as the Grimaldi Trophy sailing cup, which takes place on 17th and 18th of October with the Monaco Yacht Club. Kids will love the the annual fun fair at Port Hercule which brings the place alive from 23 October to November 19th. Families will love the Hotel Metropole's cool kids amenities like 'Petit Prince' bathing products, mini-robes and Mary-Poppins style nannies.
Rowena Carr-Allinson contributed this to MiniTime. Since the arrival of her son in 2011, she has taken him everywhere from Bangkok to NYC, writing family friendly articles en route.