Cannabis Beer - What Is It & How Is It Made

Cannabis Beer - What Is It & How Is It Made

What Is Cannabis Beer?

Cannabis beer is an exciting newcomer making waves in the world of cannabis and beer. Now, if you think it’s just regular beer with cannabis sprinkled on it, you’re in for a surprise.

Before we get into the details, just know that there are two types of “cannabis beer” — cannabis beer and cannabis-infused beer — each with its own brewing process, characteristics, and flavor profiles.

The first one, cannabis beer, is simply beer brewed using the cannabis plant instead of the traditional barley. Though this method yields a non-alcoholic drink, cannabis beer still offers a flavor similar to the rich, earthy taste of conventional beer.

On the other hand, cannabis-infused beer is made from regular barley-brewed beer with added cannabis extracts. Since it’s made with the traditional brewing process, its taste is closer to regular beer. However, it’s currently illegal to commercially produce and sell cannabis-infused beer in the U.S. (though you can mix your own beverage in the privacy of your home), so you’ll probably see more cannabis beer in the market in the foreseeable future.

How Is Cannabis Beer Made?

Making cannabis beer is a fascinating blend of cannabis extraction and traditional beer-brewing techniques. Here’s a brief breakdown of the entire process:

  1. Decarboxylation

THC is the main psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant that’s responsible for the “high” feeling. To activate these compounds, raw cannabis needs to undergo a process called decarboxylation, where the plant is heated up to a specific temperature over a specific period. Depending on the settings you use, you can get varying flavor intensity and THC percentage.

  1. Brewing

Next, it’s time to start brewing. The activated cannabis is added to a mix of water and brewer’s yeast. The yeast then acts on the sugars contained in the cannabis plant, which produces a substance called “wort,” which is essentially unfermented beer. During this stage, you can also add hops into the mixture to remove some of the bitterness and achieve different flavors and aromas.

  1. Fermentation

The wort is then transferred to a fermentation vessel, where the yeast continues to work hard to consume the remaining sugars. Unlike in the traditional beer brewing process, no alcohol is produced during this step. Instead, this is where cannabis beer gets its beer-like flavor and texture. During this process, the yeast releases carbon dioxide, which gives the beer its fizzy texture.

  1. Maturation

Once fermentation is done, the mixture is left to mature for a period ranging from a few weeks to a couple of months, depending on the brew. This maturation period allows the flavors to meld together and lets the remaining yeast and sediments settle at the bottom.

  1. Packaging

Finally, all you have to do is follow the standard packaging procedure for beer, and you’re good to go! 

Where To Find Cannabis Beer

Thanks to cannabis legalization making leaps and strides across the globe, cannabis products like cannabis beer are now more commercially available to the masses. Whether you’re keen to try cannabis beer for the first time or looking to discover new brews to enjoy, check these out:

  • Local dispensaries: The first place to check out would be local cannabis dispensaries in your area. Nowadays, a lot of dispensaries have diversified their product range to offer cannabis products, including cannabis beer. Buying from dispensaries also gives you peace of mind knowing you’re buying safe, legitimate cannabis products.
  • Craft breweries: If cannabis in your state is legal, there’s a high chance that your local craft breweries may be carrying cannabis brews. And, if you’re interested, you can even learn more about their brewing process and maybe even take a tour of the brewery.
  • Online cannabis stores: If you want convenience, you can just shop for a wide range of cannabis beer online. Shopping online also lets you compare different cannabis beers to see which one fits your preferences the most. Just make sure you’re buying from a reputable store to ensure you’re getting a product that’s legal and safe.

Examples Of Cannabis Beer

Wondering which brand of cannabis beer you should try out first? Here are some of our recommendations:

Humboldt Brewing Company

Humboldt is a California-based brewery that’s recently expanded to offering its own special blend of cannabis beer, the Smoky Hazy Hemp, a golden smoked hemp ale ala hazy IPA-style. It's not really made with cannabis though. Instead, they use hemp seeds during the brewing process.

High Style Brewing Company

High Style is a craft brewery from San Diego, California, offering a line of THC-infused beer. Currently, they provide three options: Blood Orange Haze, Grapefruit Haze, and Pale Haze.

Hop & Hemp Brew Co.

This UK-based craft brewery is known for its Easy Times IPA, a CBD-infused India pale ale with a sweet, fruity aroma.

To Sum It Up

Cannabis beer is a relatively new and enjoyable way to consume your favorite plant. With its growing popularity in the cannabis space, cannabis beer is becoming increasingly accessible, now available in different types, flavors, and percentages. When buying cannabis beer, make sure you buy from trusted and reputable manufacturers and retailers to ensure product safety.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does cannabis beer have alcohol in it?

No, cannabis beer doesn’t have alcohol because it’s made from cannabis instead of traditional grains like barley. However, the taste and aroma are very similar to regular beer due to having similar brewing processes. Cannabis-infused beers contain alcohol and THC. However, it’s currently illegal to produce and sell these beverages commercially.

Is cannabis in beer illegal?

Yes and no, depending on the brewing process. It’s illegal to produce and sell beverages containing alcohol and THC. However, what’s not illegal is beer made using cannabis, which contains no alcohol and only THC.

What percent is cannabis beer?

Since cannabis beer doesn’t contain alcohol, the “percent” of cannabis beer refers to its content of THC or CBD, the two main active compounds in cannabis. Similar to alcoholic drinks, the percentage can vary but should always be clearly marked on the product label. When trying cannabis beer for the first time, consider starting with a low-THC or CBD variety.

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