Non pasteurized beers / Live beers.
Beers normally undergo pasteurization to ensure longer shelf life and uniformity.
Craft brewery, also called micro brewery, generally means a brewery which produces a limited amount of beer. In the U.S.A, the "Brewers Association" use a fixed maximum limit of 15,000 US beer barrels (1,800,000 l; 460,000 US gal; 390,000 imp gal) a year to define microbrewery. An American "craft brewery" is a small, independent and traditional brewery.
Craft Beer (produced from a Craft Brewery or Micro Brewery) is an American term which is also common in Canada and New Zealand and generally refers to beer that is brewed using traditional methods, without additives such as rice or corn; brewed for distinction and flavor rather than mass appeal. In the early 1980s, with just a dozen or so national brands of beer to choose from, microbrewers were established in the U.S. so as to offer the full-flavored beers available in Europe. It wasn’t until the mid 1990s, however, that these craft brewers started gaining real momentum. According to the Institute for Brewing Studies, there are now nearly 1500 microbreweries and brewpubs that produce 3% of all the beer consumed in America. By the late 1990s, certified organic beers started appearing on the shelves nationally. Craft beers uses the best quality malts and hops. Take the case of the Czech pilsner, now the most common style of beer brewed worldwide. Craft brewers follow the course of their European ancestors, making all-malt pilsners with a full-bodied flavor and generous helpings of hops. Because of the increased percentage of specialty malt and hop ingredients you are going to experience flavors and aromas not found in light Industrial style lagers. Craft beer means natural beer brewed in a non-automated brewery of less than 50-barrel brew length, using traditional methods and premium, whole, natural ingredients, and no flavor-lessening adjuncts or extracts, additives or preservatives
There is a resurgence of appreciation for craft beers in many countries of the world as a product of fine craft, like wine. In general almost all mainstream commercial and mass-produced beers (Budweiser, Coors, Miller), except for some keg beer or draught beer, is pasteurized. The list below shows list of craft beers that have confirmed that they don’t pasteurize their beers, either their bottled beers or keg beers version.
Pasteurization is named for French scientist Louis Pasteur, who discovered that fluids can be partially sterilized at high temperatures. This process enables the brewer to kill traces of live yeast or other organisms which helps the beer stay fresh longer. The filled and closed packages are conveyed through different sections of a "tunnel" pasteurizer, and are sprayed with heated water. Pasteurization is also needed to preserve product uniformity. The brewer has only minimal control of the conditions and the length of time packaged beer will be stored, particularly by the retailer and the consumer.
The downside of pasteurization is that it alters the taste and destroy the natural yeast and enzymes in the beers, and along with them, potential health benefits.
Non pasteurized beers have better taste and better health benefits since it is not subjected to heat.
Drinking unpasteurized beers is safe. An unpasteurized beer is "live" beer, containing living micro-organisms such as yeast. The alcohol in beer will kill any harmful bacteria, which is why unpasteurized beer is not a health risk. Unpasteurized beer has health benefits. It has live yeast, which is one of the most effective ways of getting vitamin B complexes. (The B vitamins also counteract hangovers, just an added benefit of unpasteurized beer.) Certain types of beer contain lactobacillus, which is the beneficial bacteria in fermented vegetables and dairy ferments (yogurt, kefir). Sour beers are the ones which usually contain lactobacillus. Of course, only an unpasteurized beer will contain live lactobacillus that are beneficial for you. Almost all or all commercial beers are pasteurized, which makes the yeast not very useful, and the lactobacillus useless.
Beers that are “bottle-conditioned” are not pasteurized. Many Belgian Ale and U.S craft beers are bottle conditioned. Big Beer (Budweiser, Coors, Miller) pasteurizes beers after bottling to prevent microbes from causing “off” flavors. These microbes, however, do not cause illness. Craft brewers do not typically pasteurize, and while there is little evidence to support any claims, I expect that research will ultimately reveal that unpasteurized “live” beers are nutritionally superior to pasteurized beers. The major difference between Big Beer and craft brewers extends beyond pasteurization to filtration. The big beers companies filter their beer to remove yeast and protein that causes the beer to cloud at lower temps, called chill haze. But filtering the yeast removes most of the B vitamins – think brewer’s yeast – and other nutrients like chromium, evidence that unfiltered beers are more nutritious.
Some brewers are reverting back to “bottle-conditioning”, a centuries-old tradition of preserving beer. Bottle-conditioned beers undergo a second brief fermentation – in the bottle – which carbonates the beer naturally. In addition, the added yeast fights off the microbes that cause “off” flavors and enables the beer to improve with age, like a bottle of wine.
There are health benefits associated with moderate beer consumption. Keep in mind, too, that darker beers contain more antioxidants than lighter beers.
Non pasteurized beers list / Un-pasteurized beers list
Anchor Steam Brewery (San Francisco, California): Both Anchor Steam bottled beers and keg are flash-pasteurized and filtered.
To my surprise, Anchor Steam, a San Francisco microbrewery pasteurizes their keg and bottled beers. I have never been really a fan of Anchor Steam, as it tasted too bland for me. Could this be related to the pasteurization process of Anchor Steam beers?
Thank you for your e-mail. All of our beers are flash-pasteurized and filtered. Best regards,Anchor Brewing Company
Deschutes Brewery (Oregon) / Black Butte Porter Beers:
Thank you again for your inquiry. At this time none of our brews are pasteurized. We may consider it with beer aged in oak barrels but only the barrel aged portion of the brew would be pasteurized. We prefer un-pasteurized brews as well. Hope this helps. :)
North Coast Brewery(California):
Thanks for being in touch. None of our beers is pasteurized. All of our beers are filtered with the exception of PranQster, Blue Star Wheat Beer, and Le Merle. Hope you’re enjoying our list.
Mark E. Ruedric
President and Brewmaster
Kona Brewing Company: All Kona beers are not pasteurized.
Widmer Brewing Company: All Widmer beers are not pasteurized.
Thank you for your email. We don’t pasteurize our beers and have an extensive QA department to ensure the finest quality of beer for you.
Craft Brewers Alliance, Inc.
929 North Russell Street, Portland, OR 97227
Samuel Adams Brewing Company:
All Samuel Adams beers in kegs are unpasteurized but the Samuel Adams bottled beers are pasteurized. Any of Sam Adams wheat beers are going to be unfiltered but the rest are filtered.
Mendocino Brewing Company:
All Mendocino Beers from west coast (Ukiah, California) are un-pasteurized, but the east coast Mendocino beers are pasteurized.
Gordon Biersch Brewery: Update from Gordon Biersch
We flash pasteurize our beer and we do filter it.
Thank you for your interest in Gordon Biersch.
Gordon Biersch Brewing Company
Pyramid Brewery: None of Pyramid's bottled beers is pasteurized.
Widmer Brewery (Oregon): None of Widmer's bottled beers is pasteurized.
Redhook Brewery: No Response from Redhook Brewery
Sierra Nevada Brewery: Update from Sierra Nevada beers
Thanks for the inquiry. All our bottled beer is brewed, filtered and packaged without the use of isinglass, bone char or any other animal by-product. Pale Ale, Celebration and Summerfest is filtered using cellulose trap filters coupled with centrifugation. All others use centrifugation only.
We do not pasteurize at all as the heat would kill the yeast and the beer would not bottle condition. Bottle conditioning is unique to Sierra Nevada beers. We dose back a small amount of yeast in the bottle. The yeast ferments the priming sugar and creates the finish carbonation and flavors unique to our beer. Hope this helps.
Beck’s Beers: Beck’s beers from Germany is not a craft beer, but I wrote to them and was not surprised to learn that all Beck’s beers are pasteurized.
All beers from Budweiser, Millers, and Coors are all pasteurized for both keg and bottle versions. I have visited and done brewery tour of the Budweiser brewery in Fairfield, California; and one of the stops in the brewery tour is to see the pasteurization machine where they spray all the beers with hot water to pasteurize their beers.
Bottle Conditioned: Living Beer
Live beer, however, generally refers to the presence of noble yeasts left over from the brewing process. Beers that have been bottled unpasteurized and unfiltered, with a significant amount of live yeast, are called "bottle-conditioned" beers. The purpose of bottling beers in such a manner is to give them the potential to age and develop more complexity. Yeast inhibits oxidation and contributes complex flavors as it breaks down slowly in the bottle. Many Belgian ales are traditionally bottle conditioned through a secondary fermentation in the bottle, in a process similar to that which produces champagne. Some bottled beers from U.S.A, such as Mendocino RedTail Ale from Mendocino Brewing Company are bottle-conditioned. is brewed in the traditional "old world" manner, using premium two-row malted barley, hops and our own special proprietary yeast strain. It is an amber ale with a rich complex refreshing flavor and a crisp dry finish. Red Tail Ale is "Bottle Conditioned." Like good wine, Red Tail Ale is a perfect complement to fine dining. Mendocino Blue Heron Pale Ale is a delightful, medium bodied smooth ale, with a distinctive crisp mouth-feel and a fresh hoppy finish. It is brewed using premium two-row Pale malted barley, generous amounts of both Cluster bittering hops and Cascade finishing hops and our own special proprietary yeast strain. Blue Heron Pale Ale is "Bottle Conditioned.
An unpasteurized beer bottled with its yeast will not age in the manner of a conventionally processed beer. With age, bottle-conditioned beers develop a rounded, smoother mouthfeel, and over the course of years, often take on winey, vinous flavors.
Bottle conditioning is an economical means for small-scale craft brewers to bottle ales without the need for costly pasteurization or filtration equipment. How long one cellars bottle-conditioned beers is a matter of personal taste and will also depend on the specific character of the beer in question.
Fresh, well-brewed beer that has traveled only a small number of miles will invariably taste better than an equivalent beer that left the brewery a few months ago. Indeed, a draft beer that has traveled a great distance (almost all beers on tap that are imports, such as Beck’s, Heineken, Stella, Guinness, etc) will certainly have been pasteurized, thus is slightly handicapped from the start. The flip side to this is that a pasteurized imported keg of beer will certainly last longer when it is tapped than an unpasteurized, "live," craft beer. The latter needs to be drunk fresh. A conscientious draft bar should keep a few tap handles devoted to local craft brews and ensure that they remain fresh.
If a beer fails to live up to its obligation of being fresh, send it back over the bar-politely of course. Beer condition must always be the primary concern of any good bar. When confronted by a long line of tap handles, your first question to the bartender should be, "What’s fresh?"
For the most part, keg beer brewed and packaged in kegs in the U.S. is not pasteurized although the big three (Budweiser, Coors, Miller, plus some such as Anchor Steam) pasteurize even their keg beers. During the packaging process non pasteurized draft beers are sterile filtered and chilled to the point that any surviving bacteria, which could ferment the beer, become dormant. Kegs are kept cold ( < 50°F ) from the brewery to the point of dispense. Draft beer dispensed from a keg should be fresh by storing as short as possible, and serving cold at 38°F.
Temperatures above 38°F may promote non pasteurized draft beers to turn sour or cloudy. Should the temperature rise above 50°F, the dormant bacteria which ferments and spoils beer will once again become active and, subsequent growth will rapidly begin to spoil flavor and cloud the beer.
Most of the keg beer brewed and packaged outside the U.S. (Import beers), are heat pasteurized during packaging. This process kills off the bacteria that ferment and spoils the beer.
Pasteurized draft beer kegs can be transported and stored at room temperature. The beer in these kegs can be flash cooled at the point of dispense. However, most imported kegs are stored and dispensed at the same temperature (38°F) as domestic, non pasteurized kegs.
Response from Beck’s Beers:
You were wondering if we pasteurize our Beck’s bottled beers. Yes, we do. Furthermore, I’d like to explain the process a bit more in depth. Pasteurization allows packaged beer to be shipped and stored without refrigeration.
Beck’s beer is a Classic German Pilsner and features a light grainy malt character and distinctive flowery or spicy noble hops. Brewed according the German purity law, this classic German Pilsner carries a distinctive full-bodied taste, with a fresh “hoppy” bouquet, golden color and rich full head. The taste doesn’t end there. With a slightly fruity but firm crispness, this exciting blend of intriguing flavors ends with a clean, dry finish.
I hope this information is helpful, and that you’re able to raise a cold glass of Beck’s and celebrate your San Francisco Giants winning the World Series (if you’re a fan). Feel free to get back in touch anytime about the beer or anything we do. Until then, I raise my glass to you.
becktoff on November 16, 2019:
are most mexican beers exported or brewed in the U.S. pasturized?
GREGORY SKIDMORE on February 15, 2016:
Thanks for the short, well written article. I live in a small town Wyoming and we are fortunate enough to get Sierra Nevada and Deschutes ales out here. I'll have to do more research on the local breweries, but this information is encouraging!
Lee Henderson Jr on November 12, 2015:
I live near Evansville,In, and I was wondering if I could find unpasteurized beer in this area.
timo on October 14, 2015:
how about Coors Banquet beer is it pasteuirzed
yzhao on January 28, 2015:
Kona actually pasteurizes their bottled beers. I just called to confirm with them.
CodyF on September 12, 2014:
To further clarify, the only MillerCoors product that is pasteurized is Blue Moon. Coors Light, Miller Lite, PBR, Mickeys, Milwaukees Best, Batch 19, Killians, Keystone, etc are all UNpasteurized.
BoiseBurb on February 14, 2014:
Great List! One thing to mention, Coors Light is not pasteurized. The cold filtering is equal to what home brewers call "cold crashing" to drop the sediment out of the beer. That is how they clarify it. This includes bottles and cans, no pasteurization at all with Coors Light.
Drunken Bumb on July 10, 2012:
Trust me on this one you need the probiotics in you diet in some way. The government is trying to kill us with their regulation to pasturize and preserve our food to the point it is too sterile. I home brewed and got well then foolishly went back to commercial beer and got sick again.
Hady Chahine from Manhattan Beach on May 28, 2012:
Your hub is definitely informative for the been connoisseur! Thanks - voted up and will pass along to friends.
Chris on May 23, 2012:
Budweiser kegs are not pasteurized. I've been on the tour in Saint Louis twice, and they clearly say that the bottles are pasteurized, but not the kegs.
Peter Allison from Alameda, CA on November 22, 2010:
Nice hub! I ran through it pretty quick (as I am at work right now) but this has a lot of good information and detail. There are some excellent British ales that are bottle conditioned that you should check out if you can: Old Speckled Hen has a bottle conditioned ale that is far superior to the regular (albeit pretty tasty) offering. Also Hopback Brewery has several including Summer Lightning... And while you are at it try St. Peters organic and bottle conditioned ales!