Yes, beer brewed with hemp exists, and it’s legal in the U.S., but before rushing into conclusions, be aware that the commercialized version doesn’t contain THC, so it won’t get you high. This uprising form of beer infused with elements of the hemp plant is gaining popularity as many breweries throughout America are producing it. Read on to understand what is hemp beer and if it’s safe to drink it.
What Is Hemp Beer?
The majority of beers containing hemp that you may find in the market nowadays do not contain THC, the active ingredient in cannabis with a psychoactive effect. These hemp beers are simply made of blending hemp with hops focusing on obtaining the flavors. The only part that is allowed to be used by commercial breweries is the hemp seed heart, which contains no THC or CBD.
Drinking most of the hemp-infused beers available on the market will not give you any high effect, neither the therapeutic effects of CBD, but you may feel a very distinct flavor. Many brewers are currently experimenting with cannabis terpenes, the flavor compounds. Terpenes can be found in many natural foods and ingredients like hops, coffee, fruits, and also in hemp seeds. This means that the hemp-infused beer that you see everywhere can have an intense marijuana smell and flavor, but there are no cannabinoids in this product.
Can A Beer Brewed With Hemp Contain THC?
While the commercial production of any alcoholic beverage that contains THC is unlawful in the U.S. at a federal level, some companies are investing in THC beers. In the states where cannabis is legal for recreational use, companies are creating alcohol-free THC beers, but these will not likely reach the liquor stores anytime soon because of the regulations.
On the other hand, in the states where home-brewing is legal along with the recreational use of cannabis, there are lots of people creating beers at home with THC. These cannot be commercialized, but you may find it in the house of that friend who likes to brew artisanal beers at home. There are many different recipes used by home-brewers who are enthusiastic about cannabis, including THC or CBD.
What’s The Secret Of The Best Hemp Beer Recipe?
Hops and cannabis can be considered as close cousins, as they both belong to the same botanical family, the Cannabinaceae. The similarities between the two plants include a couple of shared terpenes, a similar aroma, and the flavor. The molecules responsible for the fragrance of the hops are also present in hemp and are the ones that give the smell qualities such as skunky, earthy, or citrusy. These flavors are usually related to hoppy IPA beers. That said, the best hemp beer recipe should incorporate the flavors of hemp and hops together.
Although many home-brewers differ in the best way to brew a beer with hemp, there’s consensus about using female plants, as it does not contain seeds. Hops are used to stabilize the brewing process and enrich the final flavor of the beer, but hemp flowers can do a similar job. During the home brewing process, you can replace the hops with hemp or add it when the wort begins to boil to extract cannabinoids. It is crucial to soak the hemp buds before adding it to the process as it can remove unwanted toxins.
The Best Hemp Beers
If you are a fan of hoppy IPA style beers, most of the commercialized hemp beers will suit your taste. You can expect beers with sweet flavors but mild bitterness at the end, medium body, and a strong cannabis aroma. Here’s a list of some the most popular hemp beers according to the app Untappd (none of the following contain THC or CBD):
The Hemperor IPA: This beer, crafted by the New Belgium Brewing Company, uses hemp seeds in the brewing process, and the flavor is considered extremely dank. You will definitely feel the aroma of cannabis and the taste of the hops.
Dubhe Imperial Black IPA: Created by Uinta Brewing Company, this imperial black IPA presents the flavors of coffee, vanilla, and pine. Brewed with hemp seeds, it has high amounts of hops and roasted malts for high bitterness.
Humboldt Brown Hemp Ale: This beer was initially called a hemp ale and uses toasted hemp seeds in the brewing process. Created by the Humboldt Brewing Co., this brown ale beer has a unique herb-accented flavor and darker malts.
Hemp Hop Rye Amber Ale: Crafted by the O’Fallon Brewery, this amber ale has toasted hemp seeds used in the brewing process to bring a smooth beer with a nutty flavor. With a taste that resembles caramel, you can also feel the rye and hops present.
Hemp Gose: The style of this beer requires it to be light and refreshing as a sour gose beer. The hemp added when Goodwood Brewing brews this beer brings an herbal aroma to the beer, along with the malt body.
Now that you already know what all the fuss regarding hemp beers is about, you can choose the one that best suits your drinking style and try it safely. Don’t forget to drink responsibly.