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
Red Brick In Bloom Modern IPA will be available at the brewery on June 14th.
Another in a line of taproom releases, Red Brick Modern IPA features an all-star lineup of Cashmere, Mosaic, Citra, and Enigma hops, plus a soft flaked oats and wheat malt bill.
…this delicious and bold profile of hops compliment the body of the beer perfectly
Red Brick In Bloom Modern IPA is available in 16-ounce cans and limited draft. The IPA has already sold out online, but cans will be available in the brewery opens at 4 pm.
Hops: Cashmere, Mosaic, Citra, Enigma
Availability: 16oz Cans, Draft.
Bell’s Sparkleberry Ale is slated for 16-ounce cans in June 2018.
This fruit-forward release first debuted in 2013 in honor of the Kalamazoo, Michigan Pride Festival. Bell’s Brewery was a presenting sponsor. Since then, the beer has been made more widely available on draft, plus a few 750-milliliter bottles at Bell’s General Store.
This summer, Bell’s Sparkleberry Ale is now available in 16-ounce cans for the first time.
The brewery continues to maintain their partnership with Kalamazoo Pride, a fundraiser for OutFront Kalamazoo. The Kalamazoo Gay-Lesbian Resource Center, OutFront Kalamazoo, continues to serve the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community of greater Kalamazoo, its friends, and allies.
“Our celebration of diversity is no secret, but this can says it front and center. No matter who you are or who you love, all are welcome at Bell’s.”- Laura Bell, CEO of Bell’s Brewery
Bell’s Sparkleberry Ale is now available in 16-ounce cans and draft.
Last summer, Avondale, Georgia based Wild Heaven debuted a “summery” edition of their wildly popular Emergency Drinking Beer. The brewery juiced thousands of pounds of fresh watermelons and infused the juice with their pilsner inspired beer. The result is summer in a 12-ounce can.
Despite the success of Watermelon EDB on draft last summer, Wild Heaven took a year review quality control and packaging best practices ahead of canning this fruit beer – a first for the brewery.
Wild Heaven Watermelon EDB has officially made it’s can debut for this first time in time for the official start of summer. Available in 12-ounce cans and draft as hot weather seasonal.
Lead Image: Eric Johnson, Brewery co-founder
Purcellville, Virginia based Adroit Theory Brewing Company debuts a new “beast” of a hoppy beer today.
Adroit Theory AK – DIPA (Chaos Warrior Edition) is the third in this series of releases. Enigma, Mosaic, and Citra hops headline this dank release.
Sirens wail. Smoke abounds. Glass shards litter the pavement from the molotov cocktail explosion. Chaos lines the streets. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? A lone vigilante rises to balance the scales of power. But whose side is he on?
Adroit Theory AK – DIPA will be available in 22-ounce bottles and draft when the brewery opens on June 7th.
Style: Imperial IPA
Hops: Enigma, Mosaic, Citra
Availability: 22oz Bottles, Draft
8.3% ABV, 27 IBUs
Image: Adroit Theory
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
SweetWater Twisted Fish is hitting shelves this week – brewed with and for Building Conservation Trust. The Trust is the Coastal Conservation Association’s National Habitat Program.
Water is the biggest component of every beer, and Atlanta based SweetWater Brewing Co. is dedicated to protecting the Earth’s precious liquid. In 2006, the brewery launched the “Save Our Water” initiative in conjunction with local Chattahoochee Riverkeeper. Every summer since, SweetWater has donated $100,000 dollars to clean water and natural habitat protection initiatives around the nation.
In honor of those hard-working freshwater protectors, SweetWater created Twisted Fish. This new pilsner is brewed with traditional Czech yeast, Hallertau hops, pilsner malts while breaking tradition Citra and Mandarina Bavaria hop varieties.
Lagers and pilsners are being seen more frequently on beer shelves, and for most this is a very welcomed sight. SweetWater’s new pilsner is built on a traditional recipe, with an American hoppy twist. The crisp and clean pilsner most certainly has a traditional start with each sip, finishing with a juicier, more citrus hop aroma and flavor. It’s almost a pilsner that finishes with a lingering “hazy IPA” aroma and flavor.
A little bit of the old world and a little bit of the new world make for a truly a unique, pilsner that does some good in the process.
SweetWater Twisted Fish is available in 16-ounce cans and draft across the brewery’s entire 22-state distribution while supplies last. According to the brewery, they have already sold through every keg they have in the taproom.
Hops: Hallertau Mittelfruh, Citra, Mandarina Bavaria, Crystal
Malts: Pilsner, Carapils, Vienna
Availability: 16oz Cans, Draft.
Debut: Late May 2018
PIC: Beer Street Journal