Photo | Newbelgium.com
While the Alabama legislature debates making medical marijuana legal in the Yellowhammer State (which would make it the 34th state, plus Washington D.C., to do so), in places where recreational pot has been legalized, people continue to develop innovative ways to get their buzz on, including pot-infused beers.
Not surprisingly, states that led the way in cannabis legalization are also those with brewers pioneering pot-infused beers. Seattle’s Tarukino Company, which produces a number of cannabis products, released its Reeb Bitter Barley Soda last fall, available in cannabis stores throughout Washington state. It is non-alcoholic; the buzz comes instead from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the intoxicating compound in cannabis.
Current laws prohibit selling alcohol infused with THC, so THC-infused beers such as the Bitter Barley Soda are all non-alcoholic. That is not considered a downside as they provide the buzz without the hangover, and with fewer calories, said Keith Villa, founder of Colorado’s Ceria Brewing Company in an interview in Outside magazine. Villa, the brewer behind Coors’ successful Blue Moon line of beers, has gone all-in on cannabis beer, developing Grainwave, a Belgian-style white ale, with no alcohol but 5 milligrams of THC in every bottle.
In Maryland, Flying Dog Brewery has developed Hop Chronic IPA, a non-alcoholic, THC-infused beer that it has proposed as a liquid alternative to smoking marijuana for the state’s medical cannabis patients. If approved, it would be sold only through the state’s medical marijuana dispensaries, but state regulators have not yet approved the proposal.
While it is illegal to sell alcohol infused with THC, a number of brewers are infusing their beers with cannabidiol, or CBD, another byproduct of the cannabis plant that is said to provide relief to a whole host of physical and mental ailments, but without the intoxicating properties of THC. While western craft brewers have been experimenting with CBD in their beers for a while, Oregon’s Coalition Brewing Company and Colorado’s Dad and Dudes Breweria have come out with some of the first commercially produced CBD-infused brews.
Coalition’s Two Flowers IPA (6 percent ABV) is promoted as a light, West Coast IPA with grassy notes that temper the hops. Dad and Dude’s Dank IPA (6.5 percent ABV) is a sweet, Colorado-style IPA that was originally known as George Washington’s Secret Stash, named for the first president and hemp farmer. Neither is currently available outside of the states in which they are brewed.
Unlike the restrictions on CBD and THC beers, hemp-infused beers contain neither CBD nor THC and are therefore legal for sale (almost) everywhere in the U.S. A number of brewers use hemp seeds in the brewing process, which gives the beer a dank taste and a cannabis aroma. One hemp-infused beer available at a number of grocery and package stores in our in our area is New Belgium’s Hemperor IPA (7 percent ABV).
None of our local breweries have any pot-infused beers (yet), but there are a number of new and special beers available if you are looking for something different this weekend. Haint Blue debuted its Berried Truth Berliner Weisse last Sunday at the Ice House. The guys at Fairhope Brewing Company have brought out their longtime favorite Kingslayer, a strong, bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout, and, for the first time, Daracrys, a bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout infused with serrano peppers, in honor of the final season of “Game of Thrones.”
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