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George Washington's Secret Stash India Pale Ale

So, Now You Can Drink CBD in... Beer?

Over at AskCBD we just covered a new IPA beer infused with CBD honey, which its brewer, Long Tree Brewing Company, called 'Vermont's First CBD-Infused IPA.' The combination of CBD and beer is a new product category seeing lots of innovation within the cannabis/marijuana and CBD markets, and in microbreweries across the country. Other CBD-infused beers include Two Flowers IPA, produced by Coalition Brewing in Oregon, and General Washington's Secret Stash, produced by Dad & Dudes Breweria in Colorado. What's with the Washington one? Well, the first President of the US, George Washington, is known to have grown hemp at Mount Vernon, his famous home, and some even think he smoked it.

Coalition Brewing, the people behind Two Flowers IPA, have put together a list of multiple studies available through the National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health showing the science and benefits of CBD as applicable to the beer drinker, including perhaps most intriguingly CBD's role in protecting the liver. Alcohol is metabolized in the liver, and CBD could have the potential of making it more resilient to liver damage.

Over and over again, microbrewers mention the synergistic combination of CBD and hops and the flavor compatibility that cannabis specifically has with an IPA, or India Pale Ale, type brew. Breweries may incorporate CBD oil or alternative forms of CBD as varied as hemp juice, or as in the case of Long Tree honey already infused with CBD, into their IPA recipes. Just reading the media's coverage and interviews with brewers across the country, it's obvious how much craftsmanship and even artistry goes into the creation of these beers in what is still a niche product category.

As Elan Walsky of Coalition Brewery told the Portland Mercury:

“Our goal with this project was to showcase the synergy of hops and cannabis,” he explained. “We chose to accomplish this by not only infusing the beer with CBD, but also by incorporating elements of the plant to augment and complement traditional ingredients and flavors of the beer. The base style of this beer is a West Coast IPA—light, crisp, hoppy, bitter, and refreshing. In order to complement the natural bitterness of the hops, we used hemp juice (essentially wheat grass juice, but from hemp). The hemp juice provides pleasant grassy notes that intermingle with the hops’ bitterness to present as a clean, refreshing bitterness, and gives an impression of the cannabis plant.”

Walsky went on to say that the beer uses Centennial and Cascade hops, which are well known for their citrus flavors. “The goal here is to mirror some of the citrus-like notes from the terpenes in the CBD and create a rounded whole. To elevate the citrus notes a bit, we also use a small amount of citrus juice during fermentation.” Coalition’s hope is that the beer, which clocks in at 6 percent ABV and 60 IBU, will have crossover appeal for beer aficionados and cannabis users alike.

As Walsky filled me a growler, we talked about why he couldn’t have just tossed in a handful of buds while brewing the beer.

“As you know, the combination of alcohol and THC is prohibited by the OLCC. It’s still not clear if anyone has ever safely smoked a joint and drank a beer at the same time, but hopefully some peer-reviewed studies are underway as we speak,” he smiled.

“Luckily for us, THC is only one of the things in cannabis that make us like it so much. Since we can’t make a THC beer, what we’ve elected to do is infuse this beer with CBD in an effort to showcase and augment the effects and flavors of hops. So as an added bonus, you’ve got about 10 MG of CBD per glass. Smoking a CBD-rich strain has long been regarded by people in the know as a traditional hangover cure, so it is possible that adding it to beer may result in a less traumatic morning after.”

Photo via Dad & Dudes Breweria.