Drinking fish bladders

During my television viewing of Emeril Lagasse on his Planet Green show, I’ve been noticing this commercial for Bill Nye’s new show called ‘Stuff Happens‘. In the commercial, I’m always caught off guard with Bill asking people if they would drink ground up fish bladders. This sounds gross right? I felt I had to clear the air and figure out the misconceptions.

First off, I’m a Bill Nye fan. He was an original member of the Almost Live! crew for goodness sakes! Almost Live is legendary for Seattleites and he was Bill Nye The Science Guy afterall! He’s a super smart dude who makes learning and science super fun and interesting. So I’m not bemoaning him – if anything I’m just annoyed at people’s perceptions.

When Bill was talking about drinking fish bladders, I’m sure he was referencing Isinglass. What’s Isinglass? Well it is indeed fish bladders and it’s often used in making beer and wine. It’s used to clarify alcohol, helping remove the yeast sediment, sort of like a filter. It’s not for all beers, and it predominantly follows British-style ales.

I first learned about while trying to learn about the myth of Guiness beers. I came to learn of isinglass and it’s use in beer and wine. I didn’t really have a problem with this, but I could see that if I was vegetarian (especially one of those strict, militant ones)  this would be a problem. Luckily, these folks have kept a handy little list that breaks down most every type of beer that would or would not be suitable for vegetarians. That said, Wiki says that most of the isinglass is gone by the time the beer is drank, but it is something to think about nonetheless.

So yeah, there you have it, my little science lesson for the day. Now you know, and as the dudes from GI Joe told us, knowing is half the battle. I’m still looking forward to checking out Bill Nye’s show.