The Great American Beer Festival, around since 1982, is an annual celebration and competition where brewers from all around the nation show up to put their bubbly brews to the test. The Festival is a mainstay of the American craft brewing industry, and has grown and evolved with its industry. Every year, this festival represents the largest collection of U.S. beer served, and is not only a festival that invites the public to come out and taste everyone’s offerings, but holds a private competition, as well. Situated in Denver, Colorado, this Festival set an awesome stage in October 2016 for a small brewery based in Aurora, Colorado to premiere the country’s first cannabis-infused beer line.
Dads and Dudes is a microbrewery that has developed a special line of beers they have dubbed General Washington’s Secret Stash, a tribute to the fact that one of our country’s great forefathers, George Washington, cultivated hemp on American soil in the 18th century. The company, owned by Mason Hembree, first had to get approval for their cannabis-infused formula, then subsequently got approval for the label on their product — two requirements for eventual distribution of the product across state lines.
Hemp seeds, which contain notoriously low trace amounts of cannabinoids and terpenes, have been a common ingredient in beer brews for many years now. But no microbrewing operation has done what Dad and Dudes did with their new General Washington line. Their line uses an infusion derived from the stems and stalks of cannabis plants, and contain measurable amounts of the cannabinoids, CBD, CBN, and CBG– three cannabinoids which are not psychoactive, but associated instead with therapeutic outcomes such as muscle relaxation and anti-inflammation. THC, the most recognizable cannabinoid and the molecule which is responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis, is not present in Dad and Dudes’ formula. The extract which this microbrewery uses is also chock full of terpenes, the super varied body of plant molecules which lend flavor and aroma, and are already a common factor in beer brewing.
The brewers at Dad and Dudes report that every keg of General Washington’s Secret Stash is infused with a quarter gram of the extract, coming down to just about 2 milligrams per pint. The extract is totally legal all across the United States, and is added far along during the beer brewing process that the sought after cannabinoid and terpenoid molecules aren’t damaged or altered. The tasteless extract’s addition to various beer recipes does not result in pints that taste or smell skunky like most cannabis. Just like all other beer formulas, various ingredients are chosen and added because of their subtle effects on the final product’s overall flavor profile.
The first variety which Dad and Dudes produced with this extract, for instance, is an IPA that is described as a “malt-forward” brew with a caramel profile and a super dry, citrusy flavor. With a 6.5% ABV, this IPA fits right in with its group, but opens the door to cannabis applications in a whole other industry. High in cannabinoids and terpenes, while lacking the psychoactive THC cannabinoid, Dad and Dude’s GW Secret Stash also has an Imperial IPA and a cream ale with orange peel, offerings that are sure to attract some cannabis fans to beer and vice versa.
For more about cannabis-infused foods, read more of our Food FryDaze articles.