Cannabis and alcohol have an interesting relationship in American society. Both of the substances have been prohibited by the federal government, but alcohol was able to break free of that disastrous policy after a few year after prohibition helped lead to the rise of gangsters like Al Capone. Marijuana prohibition has lasted for decades, providing a major source of revenue for violent cartels. While alcohol was able to repeal federal prohibition with one amendment, cannabis law reformers have been forced to a state-by-state approach. Once federal cannabis prohibition is repealed, we will surely see THC-infused beer. Lagunitas, potentially getting the jump on the competition, has launched SuperCritcal, an IPA that contains cannabis extracts, but won’t get you high.
The Chicago Tribune reports:
Because SuperCritical is made with the terpenes that AbsoluteXtracts removes from cannabis plants, it doesn’t contain THC, so any pleasant buzz that drinkers might feel comes from the alcohol, not the cannabis. Karen Hamilton, Lagunitas’s director of communications, wrote in an email that the beer is tested in the brewery’s lab, and “lots of people have had the beer, at this point, and NO ONE has experienced any psychotropic effects (to the dismay of some!)”
The beer itself is a dank, odoriferous IPA, checking in at just 6.8 percent alcohol by volume, with grassy flavors, a decent amount of earthy hop bitterness and a noticeably sticky finish. It’s not much different from other IPAs designed to mimic weed’s characteristic flavors, though the taste is slightly greener.
Lagunitas is viewing SuperCritical as an experiment and produced only one batch of 60 barrels, or 120 kegs. Those went to bars across California, primarily in the San Francisco area, by late last week. (A full list is available on the Lagunitas website.) “There may be more SuperCritical coming in the future, and this time to other areas in the U.S.,” Hamilton said.
The cannabis industry is likely to follow the beer model, with some big companies, but also many “micro” companies as well. It is exciting to see a brewery like Lagunitas examining how cannabis can enhance its beers. As legalization spreads, we should see more such collaborations, and once we end cannabis prohibition at the federal level, the two popular substances, will go hand-in-hand for many, leading to THC-infused brews for adults to enjoy.
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