My co-worker and I are waiting in line to try Dude's Brews' cannabis beer: George Washington's Secret Stash. Strangely, we're not in a dispensary in Denver or San Francisco. Or in a parking lot at a Phish show at SPAC. We're at the largest beer festival in America: the Great American Beer Festival. Forty people are in front of us in a line so large, it's blocking a lot of beer lovers in the convention hall from going where they want to go. So what's the deal with this beer? How is this even legal? How does it taste? Let's find out.
Yes, this beer is legal
It's legal, but it doesn't get you high. It contains 0% THC. But according to the brewers, it does contain extract "from full-grown cannabis sativa stalk and stem." And it does have about 4mg of cannabinoids (or CBD) per pint. If you're a person who believes in the healing power of cannabis, this is your new favorite beer. And since the federal government recently said this beer was fit to ship to all 50 states, if the brewery hits its Kickstarter goal, it might show up at a bar near you.
For a cannabis beer, it's strangely not hoppy
If you've ever put a super-hoppy beer up to your schnoz and taken a deep breath, you may have noticed how much it smells like weed. That's because hops and cannabis are from the same taxonomic family (for the science behind this, read this Popular Science article, nerd!). So when my co-worker and I saw that the beer was 10% with 100 IBUs and it had CBD in it, I was ready to drink a hop-bomb. That's not what I got.
I wasn't even sure I was drinking an IPA. Even though I got a little of that bitterness in the finish of the beer that reminded me of an IPA, there was something else going on here. It was not my favorite IPA I had at the fest. It was not my least favorite either. But taste is kind of beside the point when you're drinking this beer.
This is a bleeding-edge beer
What matters is that you're drinking a beer using a plant that is slowly becoming recognized as legal and medically useful in a number of states. This beer won't get you high, but it'll give you a buzz, and it might even have a medical benefit. It's a unique cannabis product that just became legal everywhere in the US. You're basically drinking the future.
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