Did you know that cannabis and hops are genetically related? That’s why they’re a perfect match in a recent innovation: cannabis-infused beer. Humulus lupus (hops) and Cannabis sativa (cannabis) come together for a refreshing, exciting, and relaxing experience.
Cannabidiol, the cannabinoid that doesn’t produce mind-altering effects, has been a popular compound used to infuse into many types of brew. While CBD beer and cannabis-infused beer, in general, have received some federal pushback, it's a beverage trend that is slowly taking over breweries.
Terpenes are the chemical compounds responsible for the distinctive aroma found in plants. Not surprisingly, cannabis and hops share similar aromatic molecules including myrcene, humulene, pinene, limonene, and linalool.
For example, the humulene compound contributes to an IPA’s hoppy and bitter taste and can also be found in many cannabis cultivars (strains). Myrcene, the most abundant terpene found in cannabis, is also plentiful in hops. For this reason, beer drinkers will notice strong marijuana-like notes that are also found in many cannabis strains.
A Growing CBD Beer Market
CBD beer is slowly, but surely becoming more mainstream and being produced by home brewers and craft brewers alike. In the U.S., Dad & Dudes Brewery in Aurora, Colorado became the first American brewer to put out a CBD-infused brewski at the 2015 Great American Beer Festival. They released two beers: Sativa IPA and Double IPA.
The fun came to a screeching halt very quickly. The brewery was ordered to stop brewing their CBD beer, but painstakingly fought back and gained approval by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TBB) to become the first and only CBD beer called George Washington’s Secret Stash, in honor of our first hemp-growing president.
Cannabis Beer In The U.S.
Since Dad & Dudes set precedent, other craft breweries have stepped in to make their own CBD beers and other cannabinoids like the hallucinogenic tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Although brewers are hopeful to gain TBB approval of their ales, CBD beer is in a legal gray area at the moment. Brewers must comply with federal, state, and local regulations, which have been known to prohibit infusing CBD oil into food and drinks like cocktails and beer.
Big Beer Steps In
During a time where alcohol consumption is going down, big breweries are taking an “if-you-can’t-beat-them-join-them” approach with the cannabis industry. Molson Coors, the world’s second-largest brewer, has expressed interest in developing a cannabis-infused beer in Canada. America’s Constellation Brands has invested $4 billion in the Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth. Wide availability of cannabis-infused beers seems inevitable.
International CBD Beer
The CBD market isn’t limited to the United States. In fact, U.K. brewers like Green Monkey, Green Times Brewing, and Cloud 9 Brewing have released their own CBD brews infused with cannabinoids and terpenes. Other European countries are also bringing CBD to the masses.
Sensunique, a Netherlands-based event company, and Heine & Essenius Wijnkoperij partnered to offer tailored tasting events, vaporizer rentals, wines, and even CBD beer. Arthur Heine’s exquisitely crafted CBD beer combines the refreshing and distinctive taste of a homebrewed beer and the unique effects of CBD. For more information, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CBD beer is likely to end up in major store shelves in the future, but not without federal intervention to keep consumers safe. While health-conscious consumers may not be looking toward CBD beer solely for their therapeutic effects, it gives brewers and beer drinkers a new ingredient to enjoy.