June 27th, 2017 | Updated on June 27th, 2018
For beer drinkers everywhere, this news is a serious game changer. Cannabis infused beers are hitting the shelves nationwide, and we couldn’t be more stoked about it.
Whether you love the earthy, hoppy, terpy flavors of a craft beer, or the crisp and refreshing taste of a light lager, there’s a cannabis beer for you.
While some beverages like Blue Moon’s cannabis infused “beers” are brewed to give you that nice THC high without the alcohol, other companies are taking a completely different approach, and infusing non-psychoactive CBD into their recipes.
Tempted to try both? So are we! Read on as we break down the story behind how cannabis beers came to be, and where to find them in a store near you.
History of Cannabis Infused Beers
The practice of infusing beers with speciality ingredients is as old as the history of craft beer itself. According to the Brewers Association for Small and Independent Craft Brewers, the craft beer movement started with homebrewing in the 1970s, when light lagers were the American preference.
In order to try new styles and tastes, beer aficionados had to brew their own concoctions in their home. This has been true of cannabis infused beers up until just recently.
In the last couple years, mainstream brewers have begun testing hemp and marijuana infusions in their beers for taste, health benefits and for psychoactive effects, too.
How is Cannabis Infused Beer Made?
Legalized states like Colorado are booming with cannabis beer options, as locals and visitors alike have grown so accustomed to smoking and vaping dry herb that they’ve been excited to test out new ways to consume.
Craft edibles, infused dinner parties and now cannabis cocktails and beer are all the rage.
So, how exactly is cannabis craft beer made? For legal reasons we can’t suggest that you try this at home unless you live in a legal state, but for curious consumers here’s how it all works.
1. Harnessing the Hoppy Flavor
The best type of beer to brew with cannabis is any style of IPA by far. The flavors and scents of and hops pair like magic, producing a seriously dank and delicious drink.
Brewers pick their favorite strains of cannabis to compliment the leaf hops they’ll be using. This amps up the flavor profile and creates a beautiful union in the beer.
For example, brewers could choose between piney or earthy hops, citrusy or fruity varieties, or woody, grassy notes.
2. The Brewing Process with Added Bud
When it’s time to brew, cannabis is added directly into the beer boil. Cannabis beer brewers first add their malts, then their hops along with some finely ground cannabis to their boil. Lastly, brewers yeast is added to activate the blend.
If the brewer is creating a CBD beer, extract is used rather than the whole cannabis bud. Or, hemp can be added in place of cannabis for a rich flavor profile without any THC psychoactivity.
3. Canning and Consuming the Final Product
After a 10-day fermentation period, the cannabis beer is ready to be bottled or canned. After another couple weeks in the bottle, it’s ready to be consumed.
The effects of adding full buds to beer will be about the same as a strong cannabis THC edible, so consume responsibly.
After putting so much time and care into crafting a delicious beer, we love that bewers are getting creative with the names of their beer and their labels, paying homage to the beautiful plant they infused.
Examples include O’Fallon’s Hemp Hop Rye, and Venice Duck Brewery’s Stoner Duck, and Dad and Dude’s Breweria’s General Washington’s Secret Stash.
4. Legal considerations for cannabis infused beer
As with any of your other favorite ways to consume, make sure you know the rules and regulations around cannabis in your state or when you’re traveling.
Many brewers are getting around federal regulations by testing out batches with hemp and CBD infusions, which can be a great way to get the flavor and health benefits from your favorite plant without breaking any laws.
Consume with care, and let us know your favorite cannabis infused beer in the comments below.