Humulus Lupulus, more commonly known as “hops”, are easily the most prominent ingredient in beer. Using the term “dank” or “weed-like” when describing in India pale ale isn’t just a fun descriptor, but pretty accurate. Marijana and Humulus share the same family – Cannabaceae. The very unique scents by both hops and weed are not only familial traits but quite complimentary of each other.
Terpenes are hydrocarbons derived from the essential oils of hemp plants, and a major component of their resin. Terpenes give plants their aroma, taste and even color. While marijuana is still illegal in a majority of U.S. states, the flavor terpenes – which lack the psychoactive cannabinoids Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) have the blessing of the U.S. government.
Taking some of the all-stars in hops, and combining with the “dankness” of weed aromas is heating up in craft beer. Atlanta based SweetWater has had 420 Pale Ale for years, sporting a weed-culture undertone, only containing hops from the Cannabaceae family.
This month, SweetWater 420 Strain: G13 IPA debuts on draft, marrying hops and weed aroma mimicking terpenes into truly (dare we say dank again-) experience.
The origin of G13, or “Government Indica Strain 13” marijuana is the subject of various rumors, including one where the government created this “super-strain”. It was even mentioned in the movie American Beauty back in 1999. It’s easily one of the most well-known strains known to pop-culture after first appearing sometime in the 1970’s.
SweetWater has been experimenting for months with various iterations of plant-derived terpenes with cannabis aromatics, and India pale ales. The final recipe uses a proprietary terpene blend on the backdrop of a dry-hopped IPA that smells like the infamous G13 strain. Per head brewer Nick Nock, “The [IPA] flavor was undeniable, and a no-brainer for this first release. We used Columbus and Simcoe hops in both the boil and double dry-hop, plus flaked oats and wheat for a smooth finish.”
Let us say this. You know damn well when someone opens a bottle of 420 Strain: G13 IPA by smell alone. When Beer Street Journal published a photo of 420 Strain prior to this piece. Many followers made allusions to New Belgium’s recent terpene heavy release – The Hemperor. That beer also smelled like Willy Nelson’s house or a Widespread Panic concert. Sadly, so many drinkers told us while the beer’s aroma was very much on point, but the beer’s taste didn’t match. New Belgium does fantastic work, but that the disparity for many was hard to get past.
SweetWater’s 420 Strain: G13 doesn’t stop at the extremely notable aroma. The brewery got the IPA recipe right to boot. The entire package is dank, juicy, and incredibly aromatic. The brewer and laboratory work really shines in this creation. Keep in mind, just because you’ve had one IPA, doesn’t mean you’ve had them all. Same goes for terpene beers.
When you pour it in a glass, you get a face full of the G13 aroma, like opening a bag of fresh marijuana. And though it smells like the infamous cannabis strain, it tastes like a super delicious, nice and soft IPA with a clean finish.- SweetWater Brewing
The brewery is creating a full “420 Strain” series using various cannabis mimicking terpenes.
SweetWater 420 Strain: G13 is hitting taps in all of the brewery’s distribution states this summer. Expect new black bottles and black cans coming in the fall. The brewing team is working on new recipes for the 420 Strain Series, including a porter or stout.
Availability: Draft (Summer). Cans/ Bottles (Fall)
Debut: June 22, 2018
6% ABV, 48 IBUs
Oskar Blues Barrel-Aged Mocha Ten FIDY will be available at both Colorado and North Carolina breweries in July.
July 7th National Chocolate Day – a perfect day to release the latest iteration of the most recognizable imperial stouts in beer – Oskar Blues Ten FIDY. That motor oil resembling liquid has been aging in bourbon barrels with Cholaca, a pure liquid cacao.
The finishing flourish is a hefty dosing of Mexican bean cold brew from Hotbox Roasters.
The O.G. Imperial Stout got a one-way golden ticket to the inside of a barrel, where it went ass-over-elbows into a Cholaca chocolate river and then hotbox’d with Hotbox Roasters’ cold brew until it manifested as a smooth mocha mutha.
Oskar Blues Barrel-Aged Mocha Ten FIDY will only be available at the Longmont, Colorado-based brewery and the Brevard, North Carolina brewery on July 7th. Wristbands will be handed out starting at 9:30 am (local time). 19.2-ounce cans are available by the can ($15), 12-count case ($180) with a 5 case limit.
Style: Imperial Stout (w/ Coffee. Chocolate. Barrel Aged. Bourbon.)
Availability: 19.2oz Cans, Limited Draft. Brewery Only.
Every beer collaboration is born out of friendship and mutual respect for one another’s brewing passions. In this case, the fermented love spans 2,000 miles. Introducing Firestone Walker / Creature Comforts Mother’s Milk.
The base beer is a milk stout that has been aging for nearly a year in rye whiskey barrels – a very intentional move. According to Eric Ponce, Firestone Walker’s barrel program manager, the sweetness of bourbon barrels would have been too cloying. “We designed the base beer with the intent of aging it in rye whiskey barrels—we thought it would be the perfect marriage. The dash of salt just makes everything pop on the palate,” he explains in a recent press release.
Mother’s Milk will be available to all attendees of this weekend’s Firestone Walker Invitational. 12-ounce bottles will be available at the brewery on June 2nd.
Availability: 12oz Bottles. Limited Release
Image: Firestone Walker
New York State-based Brewery Ommegang is debuting a new small batch project in June known as Ommegang Blenderie.
Famously Belgian brewing influenced Ommegang has been blending beers for years. One of the most well-known beers in the brewery’s lineup (if not across all of craft beer) is Three Philosophers was first released in 2002, a blend of Ommegang’s Quadruple and Belgium based Liefman’s Kriek.
Ommegang Blenderie will take the brewery’s blending efforts a step further, into a whole new series of small batch blended releases. Two releases are planned for June – Faith & Fortitude, and Zen & Zymurgy.
Fath & Fortitude – a blend of aged sours and farmhouse-style saisons. The 6.5% ABV beer is described as having “notes of apricot, citrus, and tropical fruits mix with just a hint of barnyard funk.” Available at SAVOR in Washington D.C. and on sale at the brewery on June 16th.
Zen & Zymurgy – a mixed fermentation sour ale built on a saison base with 4 different yeast cultures, boasting “Aromas of sweet fruit, lemon and oak and tart flavors of fruit, malt, and Brettanomyces.” Available first at the Firestone Walker Invitational, on June 2nd, and on sale in August 2018.
One of Ommegang’s most recent blends is available nationally now – Saison Rose, a blend of two of the brewery’s saisons.
Expect more releases from Ommegang Blenderie in the coming months and years.
Image: Brewery Ommegang
Elysian Brewing and legendary band Def Leppard have a new musically inspired beer. Def Leppard Pale Ale debuts this summer.
The band is touring with another epic band Journey this summer, starting with Hartford, Connecticut on May 21st. Seattle, Washington is no stranger to music (or beer for that matter). In honor of Def Leppard’s Sheffield, England origin, the duo created an English-style pale ale brewed with English malts, and American-grown Pacific Northwest hops.
Def Leppard Pale is what happens when a mega British rock band collides with an American craft brewery. Both fanatics of their craft, Def Leppard and Elysian are excited to blend their worlds together, music and beer.
16-ounce cans of Elysian Def Leppard Pale Ale will be available in select tour cities starting on the band’s second stop on May 23rd in Albany, New York. The can design is a tribute to the 30th Anniversary of Def Leppard’s Hysteria album, known for epic songs like “Pour Some Sugar on Me” and “Love Bites”.
Style: Pale Ale
Hops: Cascade, Simcoe, Chinook, Magnum
Malts: 2 Row, Munich, Carahell, Acidulated
Availability: 16oz Cans, Draft
6% ABV, 27 IBUs
Last summer, MillerCoors re-released the popular 90’s clear malt beverage ‘Zima’. It was an overwhelming hit. Incidentally, the article announcing it’s return is the #1 most read article in Beer Street Journal’s 11-year history.
The beverage hit the market around 1994, and was an instant hit. We think of it like an alcoholic Crystal Pepsi. (Which, incidentally, is also back on shelves.) Fans would soak Jolly Ranchers and Skittles in the bottles for interesting fruity variations. Not that we would know. We just turned 21 yesterday.
The malt beverage was sold with the tagline “Zomething Different.” Which obviously prompted drunk folks to try to pronounce everything with a “Z” in front of it. Think of it like the “WAZZZZZZZUP” Budweiser commercials that debuted in 1999. It got a little annoying after a while.
“Last summer, Zima was the ultimate comeback kid. People were picking up a six-pack to relive their 90s memories, to stock up for theme parties, or to just see what all the fuss was about. So, when it was time to decide if we were going to bring it back, we thought ‘why wouldn’t we?” – Dilini Fernando, senior marketing manager, innovation
The brand officially died in 2008 in the United States, but it never left Japan. According to MillerCoors, the brand still does extremely well there. The Citrusy clear alcoholic beverage is only 5% alcohol by volume.
Weren’t old enough to drink Zima before it died in 2008? Summer of 2018 is your chance (again). 6 packs of the hit 90’s beverage are hitting shelves now.
Jolly Rangers not included.
Stone Brewing will make a strong political statement this May.. Stone I’M PEACH Double IPA is coming by month’s end.
We live in turbulent times. uThe United States is more polarized politically then it has in years. By the looks of it, Stone Brewing will be making a bold political statement in the form of a beer – Stone I’M PEACH Double IPA.
In case you missed the not subtle note in the name – I’M PEACH aka IMPEACH. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out they are alluding to President Trump. Read the allusion in the beer’s description:
It’s what a lot of us are thinking. We want to shout I’M PEACH from the rooftops. Yet, we’re afraid of the potential alienation from select peach-hating members of our friends and family. We want to call fro and I’M PEACH, but we’re afraid that we’ll look soft. Peach soft, like some freedom hating sissy, right? Nope. Not in our world. We know peaches are for the righteous. We’ve seen the light of their sweet juicy glory and how they pair excellently with the standup character of an American IPA. It’s not just right for you, it’s right for the country. You’re proud of our beautiful nation. You support good taste. Have an I’M PEACH party and we’ll unite hops, peaches, and each other.
Not much subtlety found there.
Stone I’M PEACH Double IPA will debut in late May 2018 in 12-ounce cans and draft.
Style: Imperial IPA (w/ Peaches)
Availability: 12oz Cans, Draft.
Debut: Late May 2018