Unfined, or ‘natural’ beer, is big news in the brewing community. For a long time ‘cloudy’ beer has been frowned upon with pub goers only wanting to drink clean, shiny pints that have been fined before being poured.

Derby Brewing Company, like many other breweries, uses dried fish swim bladders, known as isinglass, to clump the live yeast together at the bottom of the beer. The majority of it is filtered out of the beer before the finished product goes on sale but traces of the isinglass can remain.

Our brewers and pub managers are starting to agree that unfined beer is the way to go. “Unfined cask ale has a more intense aroma and flavour. The added finings that cause the yeast to drop thereby making the beer bright can also suck some of the flavour out of the beer. This is particularly noticeable in IPA style beers that have been brewed with generous amounts of new world hops,” says John, the manager at The Tap.

Derby Brewing Company is starting to introduce more unfined beers into their range. The brewery are all for it too: “It’s completely natural, and the presence of yeast and other “haze forming” matter helps preserve more flavour.”

While the majority of beers created will still be fined, The Tap will be serving many of our new brews unfined as well as fined. The newer unfined creations also mean that more people can enjoy them: the lack of isinglass means that unfined beer is vegan.

Christabel Bancroft