The craft beer renaissance and the legalization movement are a match made in heaven. A number of West Coast breweries, big and small, are releasing cannabinoid-infused beers, despite its legal grey area. Can’t bring yourself to choose between a joint or a pint? You don’t have to with these cannabis-infused beers and ciders.
Coalition Brewing Company
Kylie Hoyt and Elan Walsky of Oregon-based Coalition Brewing are leading the charge when it comes to weed-infused beer in Oregon. They’ve married CBD and hops—”kissing cousins,” as they put it—to create seasonal CBD beers. Currently, you can buy Two Flowers IPA and Herbs of a Feather, which Mr. Walsky described to High Times as a “lemon and basil sour CBD beer.”
Last winter, you could find Special Brownies, a chocolate milk stout with CBD. Coalition Brewing is planning the release of another CBD and terpene-infused beer that will be called Certified.
Elan Walsky has a background in science and a lifelong passion for beer and marijuana. He explained, “The original impetus for brewing the beer was to show the natural synergy that exists between hops and hemp. They’re both in the family Cannabaceae and, in fact, they’re two of the most closely related plants, genetically speaking, in that family.”
Long Trail Brewing
This Vermont brewery is experimenting with CBD-infusions, to great success. Specifically, they’ve partnered with local CBD-rich hemp producer, Luce Farm. Long Trail Brewing started off by selling the farm’s CBD-infused honey with their cheese plates.
Next, they took a different approach. Joe Pimentel, who runs Luce Farm, told High Times, “We got a call three days later saying ‘hey, why don’t we try brewing a beer with it?’ It sounded like a great idea.”
Since then, this Bridgewater Corners brewpub has released two batches of Long Trail’s Honey-Ginger IPA. Eventually, they began offering a straight-up IPA called the Medicator. Communications Manager Drew Vetere told High Times, “In its most recent iteration, Medicator featured hemp oil and terpenes which delivered the weed-like character to the beer.”
Unfortunately, Vetere reports that they’ve had to stop brewing infused-beer, at least for the time being. Long Trail Brewing remains hopeful that, one day soon, they’ll be able to offer it again.
This Colorado-based brewery has created quite the stir, even by Colorado standards. Last year, Keith Villa, the brewmaster who famously invented Blue Moon beer, left a 30-year career at MillerCoors to launch Ceria, with his wife Jodi as CEO, and brew THC-infused beer.
Not only will this non-alcoholic beer get you ‘high’, but you’ll be able to choose which kind of high you’d like to experience. Working with research company Ebbu, Villa explained to us that they use CBD, THC and other cannabinoids to achieve specific results.
CERIA will be releasing three beers sometime between Thanksgiving and New Years. The first will be a light American lager with a low level of THC. This beer will be aimed at drinkers who want to “have as many as those as they would a regular beer with alcohol,” Villa says.
The second type will be a Belgian style wheat ale with higher THC content, an estimated 6 to 10 mg of THC per serving. According to Villa, “That one will have the bliss sensation.”
An IPA will be Ceria’s third release. It will contain between 10 and 15 mg of THC per serving. All Ceria’s brews will be clearly labeled, from lower strength with a green marijuana leaf label to more potent options will a black one.
Oregon-based Xylem Cider offers a unique array of weekly changing terpene-brewed ciders. Check out the aptly-named INDICAtion, Hashtag, Joint Custody and Blunt Tool, all either on the menu right now or coming in the upcoming weeks.
Co-founder Nick Fillis loves cider and the brewing process. “You could just call us fermentation enthusiasts,” he related to High Times. “Pickles, salami, cheese, beer, cider, wine, meat—you name it. Fermentation has been a passion for us.”
Xylem Cider teamed up with True Terpenes, an FDA-approved company that sources the terpenes found in cannabis from other plants. “What we’re doing is we’re using terpenes to mimic that flavor and aroma of cannabis plants without the THC,” Fillis explained. Xylem Ciders has completely replaced hops with terpenes.
Though Xylem Cider has only been open for four months, they have big plans. In addition to selling their cider to 50 Oregon-based restaurants and bars, they’re going to start canning some of their seasonal ciders. And as of next month, you can sign up for their monthly subscription plan.
Lagunitas Brewing Company
Lagunitas has taprooms in Chicago, Seattle and their home base of Petaluma, California. In addition to their beer staples, the California brewery also ventured into the realm of infused-beer.
Though they haven’t worked with CBD, Lagunitas released SuperCritical, an ale brewed with terpene oil from absoluteXtracts in Sonoma, California. In tandem, absoluteXtracts sells cannabis and hops vape cartridges. One is IPA style, while the other is more citrusy.
A spokesperson for absoluteXtracts explained to us, “The beer was a limited-edition release from Lagunitas and is no longer available. But we have more planned with Lagunitas in the future!”
You can find SuperCritical vape cartridges at a number of Cali-based dispensaries. Unlike the beer, these contain a lot of THC.
Happy Apple Cider
Washington State-based Happy Apple Cider combines home-grown apples with the best quality Northwest weed. They also emphasize using all natural ingredients and forsake all artificial coloring and flavors.
They offer three different types: 5mg, 10mg and 100 mg of THC per 12 ounces, none of which contain alcohol.
And for those who aren’t a fan of the flavor of weed, rest assured that you won’t taste it at all. Happy Apple Cider uses Sōrse, a company that creates cannabis emulsion without its taste or scent.
You can find Happy Apple Cider at dozens of dispensaries across Washington.
In case you hadn’t heard, Run the Jewels has been brewing beer. Partnering with Interboro Brewing out of Brooklyn, Run the Jewels released “Stay Gold” IPA last year. Next, they released The Panther Like a Panther Stout and Legend Has It, a pilsner. Later this year, Double Down IPA will hit stores.
Until then, beer lovers can lust after Legend Has It, to which they added CBD. This drink was only available in Europe on 4/20. Though this was a limited time run, Run the Jewels is expanding their beer line. To date, they’ve worked with six breweries across the U.S. and Europe.
They might run out of songs to name their beers after.
Dads and Dudes Breweria
“I decided to team up with my father who always wanted to do restaurants,” said Co-Founder Mason Hembree to High Times. Together, Mason and his father Thomas built a brewery slash pizza joint in Aurora, Colorado. “We were the first brewery to produce a high CBD hemp infused beer back in 2015,” he explained.
A year later, Dads and Dudes Breweria made history when they received formula approval for a beer that infuses cannabinoids. This beer was named General Washington’s Secret Stash, paying homage to the first president’s hemp farming habit. Dads and Dudes also brewed their beer from industrial hemp.
Today, they offer a medley of classic bar food, pizza and pasta that cater to the lit. Pineapple Express 420 pizza and the Munchies are only three of Dads and Dudes 420-friendly menu options. “We’re the trademark owners of the 420 pizza,” Hembree said. Despite their prohibition-inspired names, these menu options do not contain marijuana.
This father-son duo places an emphasis on teaching their customers in suburban Colorado about weed and hemp. Hembree remarked, “We’re slowly normalizing it by bringing in those names and explaining what they are.”
New Belgium is going back to its Colorado roots with the Hemperor IPA (which they’ve dubbed an HPA). This light IPA combines hemp hearts with dry hops. Technically, it does not contain terpenes from hemp. Rather, brewers use other components of the plant that mimic the flavors of hemp terpenes. There is neither CBD or THC in the Hemperor IPA.
Getting this beer to market wasn’t an easy road for New Belgium. A press release quotes Research and Development Brewer, Ross Koenigs, who says, “This beer has been over two years in the making, most of the time spent learning and reacting to laws that really suppress this crop’s usage.”
Due to restrictions on industrial hemp, you can’t find The Hemperor in Kansas.
Nowadays, The Hemperor had led New Belgium to advocate for hemp legalization. For each barrel of The Hemperor sold, New Belgium donates to the federal hemp legalization effort.
Brewmaster Koenig looks forward to the day when hemp brewing is federally legal. “One day we can brew The Hemperor HPA with hemp flowers and leaves as we originally envisioned,” he hopes.
There has been a lot of talk about marijuana antagonizing the liquor industry. But these CBD, THC and terpene infusions show us that you don’t have to pick a side. For health nuts, beer nerds and potheads alike, infused beer is a dream come true. Sláinte!
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