Ministry of Hemp

Ministry of Hemp

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Tag: Beer

Is CBD Beer The Ultimate Way To Relax? Behind The Groundbreaking UK CBD Beer

There are few things in life more relaxing than a cold beer after a hard day at work. Now, what if you infuse that beer with the soothing properties of premium CBD?

A new CBD beer is exciting taste buds even as it promotes relaxation.

There are few things in life more relaxing than a cold beer after a hard day at work. Now, what if you infuse that beer with the soothing properties of premium CBD? That’s precisely the idea that friends Carl Boon and Thierry Florit had one evening over a few drinks, which ultimately led to the creation of one of the UK’s first CBD beers.

A close up of the Green Times "High Flyer" CBD beer label on a wooden table. Green Times unique CBD beer combines a delicious light ale with the relaxing power of full spectrum CBD oil.

Green Times unique CBD beer combines a delicious light ale with the relaxing power of full spectrum CBD oil.

The result is High Flyer: an India pale ale (IPA) craft beer with a 4.3% ABV and containing 10mg of high-quality CBD in each bottle. Its evolution was far from simple. The two business partners overcame numerous development and legal hurdles along the way.

Editor’s Note: U.S. regulations currently prevent the national distribution of CBD-infused alcoholic beverages. We were especially excited to hear about this new offering in the UK and hope American laws and policies change in the near future. — KO

THE INSPIRED COMBINATION OF CBD AND BEER

Boon runs the successful online CBD company CBDUltra, while Florit is an experienced designer for many major brands. We spoke with them about the long process of turning a booze-soaked idea into a physical product on sale in shops and pubs.

“The idea first came about during a late-night beer tasting session when Carl joked about making a craft beer infused with cannabis oil — essentially a drink that adds nutrients back into the body, rather than just taking them away,” Florit told us, with a laugh.

Like all good ideas, the duo kept returning to it and soon decided to take it seriously.  A few weeks later they set up Green Times Brewing as an official company and sourced a unique water-soluble, full-spectrum CBD. Turning to one of Boon’s colleagues, an award-winning brewer, they then underwent the long, but no doubt enjoyable, process of fine-tuning the formula.

“After a year of conducting trials and taste tests, we eventually got the formula and taste profile right,” said Florit. “And came up with with a combination of cannabinoids, terpenes and exotic flavours, resulting in an easy-to-drink IPA with a powerful hop hit and refreshing citrus aftertaste.”

THE LONG PROCESS OF DEVELOPING CBD BEER

As you’d expect, specific details about the CBD beer development process have to remain confidential due to the competitive nature of the market.

“We spent a lot of time testing and trialling so we wouldn’t want to give away all of our secrets,” said Boon.

“The actual production process is exclusive to us, along with the water-soluble CBD. But what we can say is that we work with an award-winning London brewery and follow a traditional brewing method using organic malts and hops. And of course the full spectrum cannabis oil extract, which is also fully organic.”

When it came to the legal side of things, Boon;’s experience in the CBD industry proved invaluable.

“Carl has an excellent knowledge of the regulations regarding the commercialisation of CBD products, though we did have to check with a specialised law firm and all the various UK governmental food and drinks organisations regarding the legalities, to make sure there wouldn’t be any issues when going to market,” Florit said.

This includes ensuring the product contains less than 0.2 percent THC and emphasising on the label that “It won’t get you ‘high’”.

Two bottles of "High Flyer" CBD Beer sit on a table in front of a worn bamboo backdrop. Brief initial setbacks led the team behind "High Flyer," a unique CBD beer, to develop a better product including a fully organic formula.

Brief initial setbacks led the team behind “High Flyer,” a unique CBD beer, to develop a better product including a fully organic formula.

Ironically, considering the stringent restrictions on CBD and cannabis-derived products in UK, the main legal issue came from a very different source.

“We had a problem with the original name, Cloud Nine Brewing. Just as it was ready to go to market it was blocked because it was similar to a wine company in New Zealand,” said Florit.

INITIAL SETBACKS LED TO SUCCESSFUL ORGANIC CBD BEER FORMULA

Undeterred, they used this setback to improve the product. “We re-brewed, rebranded, re-bottled and returned with a new company name. Plus we improved the formula to make it totally organic.”

However, UK laws do have an impact on how CBD is marketed, meaning Boon and Florit have to be careful what they say when promoting the beer.

“Personally, I have been using CBD for some time now,” said Boon. “Mainly for stress relief, to keep zen and for general mental well being — and drinking this beer gives me a real sense of relaxation. But despite all the talk about the potential health benefits of CBD, it is classified as a food supplement so we can’t recommend it for any specific health conditions.”

Anecdotal reports tell a different story, and one that might appeal to those keen to avoid the dreaded morning-after-the-night-before.

“Due to the organic ingredients, fresh hops and cannabinoids, we’ve had customers say that they don’t get hangovers from drinking this,” Boon continued, adding, “But you’ll have to test that for yourself.”

Indeed, these customers may include some famous names considering some of the clients who buy from CBDultra.

Goldie the drum and bass DJ is an avid fan,” noted Boon. “He uses it to deal with anxiety and hypertension. Another customer using our CBD oil has now come off seventeen different prescription painkillers — he did a YouTube video talking about it and it’s had over 2 million hits already!”

THE FUTURE OF CBD BEER? THE SKY’S THE LIMIT

The pair have big plans for the future. Following a November launch in Manchester, they have many stockists lined up across the country and deal with constant requests from a public who are becoming more educated about CBD, and keen to try it in all its forms.

“People are continually asking every day where they can get it,” said Boon. “So the more distributors and stockists we can get on board the better.”

“With regards to markets, we are currently focusing on distributing to the UK, but we may consider exporting across Europe and other parts of the world as more and more countries change their laws on cannabis use.”

A pale, foamy beer in a glass sits next to a capped brown beer bottle chilling in a small pile of ice. The success of the UK's first CBD beer is likely to lead to more CBD-infused brews in the near future.

The success of the UK’s first CBD beer is likely to lead to more CBD-infused brews in the near future.

Expanding the range seems likely too.

“More beers indeed!” Florit said. “We’re looking at a gluten-free version, along with a vegan-friendly High Flyer ale. I’ve always been a huge fan of the German-style wheat beers and Carl loves Indian Pale Ales so let’s see who wins the argument!”

Certainly in the UK, beer is up there as our national drink, alongside tea (which you can also find at CBDultra). That explains the excitement around this brew in both the British press and among the public.

Boon agreed. “We’re genuinely enhancing one of the nation’s favourite drinks, so it’s going to be here to stay!”

After tasting the beer — it’s a delicious light ale, with a satisfying kick from the sativa-derived terpenes — it’s hard to disagree. And considering both beer and CBD are two of the world’s oldest relaxation tools, the only question is why hasn’t this combination happened before?

Thanks to two friends sharing a few drinks and sparking an idea, now we know how tasty CBD beer can be.

See more: Green Times Brewing

 

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Hemp Craft Beer & The Breweries That Make It

Hemp craft beer is making a name for itself, with the help of a handful of pioneering American breweries. It began with New Belgium’s “The Hemperor,” but now other breweries both large and small are entering the hemp and cannabis market.

Hemp craft beer is making a name for itself, with the help of a handful of pioneering American breweries.

There are many products that utilize hemp; clothing, skincare products, CBD oils & tinctures, and hemp-enhanced edibles, but there remains a noticeable absence of hemp in the alcohol industry. Most notably, the craft beer market, a market that’s notorious for experimentation to produce unique flavors.

Thanks to unmet market needs and the relaxing regulations towards hemp & cannabis products, breweries such as New Belgium have initiated their foray into the hemp craft beer market. Upon their release of “The Hemperor,” the Colorado brewery gained nationwide media attention due to this trailblazing and delicious beverage.

A pint glass of dark beer sits on a rustic bar top in a darkened bar. While hemp makes an enticing beer ingredient, craft hemp beer brewers face legal and regulatory hurdles before they can bring their brews to market.

While hemp makes an enticing beer ingredient, craft hemp beer brewers face legal and regulatory hurdles before they can bring their brews to market.

Previously, we reviewed The Hemperor and interviewed a local maker of hemp wine. The recent growth of hemp craft beer left us eager to look deeper into this enticing topic.

THE CURRENT STATE OF THE HEMP CRAFT BEER MARKET

Other breweries looking to imitate New Belgium’s success must fight a gauntlet of obstacles.

Thanks to the difficulty of state and federal regulations, New Belgium had to experiment with many iterations of The Hemperor. This is because the use of hemp flowers & leaves in products is forbidden by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The use of CBD is also forbidden in alcohol products with national distribution.

Eventually, the brewery landed on hulled hemp seeds as the base for The Hemperor. Hulled hemp seeds, better known as hemp hearts, are an ingredient that can be found in your local supermarket. Hemp hearts are versatile, and can be used in many applications such as making hemp milk. Now, The Hemperor is available in all states except Kansas (party poopers if you ask us).

With the success of New Belgium, major beer companies are looking to get a slice of the pie. Corona & Modelo manufacturer Constellation Brands, Blue Moon founder Keith Villa, and Molson Coors are some of the notable names looking to dip their toes into hemp and cannabis beer. Constellation Brands and Molson Coors partnered with Canadian cannabis producers, while Keith Villa is working with a producer in his home state of Colorado.

BREWERIES THAT MAKE HEMP CRAFT BEER

New Belgium's The Hemperor hemp craft beerNew Belgium Brewing: The Hemperor

New Belgium are experiencing a moment as the most recognized hemp craft beer trailblazer. Released in April of this year, New Belgium have already experienced an instant success with The Hemperor. While they haven’t released a statement with future plans, one can almost be sure that they will release more hemp infused products.

Sweetwater Brewing Company 420 Strain G13 IPA craft hemp beerSweetwater Brewing Company: 420 Strain G13 IPA

This Atlanta based brewery has long been a fan of cannabis culture. Their best seller is the aptly named “420 Extra Pale Ale.” This past June, the brewery finally released their first (of seemingly many to come) hemp-enhanced beers. Their new beverage, “420 Strain G13 IPA,” mimics the famous G13 strain of psychoactive cannabis in terms of smell and taste, without the high. Sweetwater achieves this by infusing the pale ale with hemp, hops, terpenes, and other organic materials.

In a statement in the New York Times, co-founder Freddy Bensch says: “We think the drinker and the cannabis consumer are the same person.”

Bensch means that by releasing their G13 product, the brewery is tapping into a market that’s already connected to their traditional target-market. It’s worth noting that in just a couple of months, the G13 IPA has become their 2nd highest selling product.

Lagunitas Hi Fi Hops Cannabis Craft BeerLagunitas Brewing: Hi-Fi Hops

With the recreational use of psychoactive cannabis becoming legal, California-based Lagunitas Brewery pounced on the new market. Releasing their “Hi-Fi Hops” product line, in collaboration with CannaCraft (a cannabis-extract manufacturer), they offer cannabis-infused sparkling water drinks. Hi-Fi Hops products can only be found in medical marijuana dispensaries in California. While a little more left-field, the introduction of a cannabis-infused sparkling water opens the conversation up from merely a beer product, into a whole slew of hemp, CBD & THC-infused beverages.

Lagunitas is at the forefront of the fusion of cannabis into traditional drinks.

WHERE HEMP CRAFT BEER FITS INTO CRAFT BEER CULTURE

So where does hemp craft beer stand within existing craft beer culture?

Craft beer culture is already at the forefront of counterculture. Craft beers began with mad-scientist brewers looking for new flavors in unconventional ingredients. Long synonymous with bearded, beanie-wearing hipsters, craft beer culture is comfortable standing out. In fact, being different is the greatest asset of a craft beer. One needs only to look at the ingredients and artwork on their bottles to recognize this.

A photo showing three different beers of different colors in pint glasses. The success of New Belgium is bringing a host of new hemp craft beer to market, as well as entries from some larger brewers too.

The success of New Belgium is bringing a host of new hemp craft beer to market, as well as entries from some larger brewers too.

Cannabis and hemp belong to the same family of plants as hops. Breweries such as New Belgium and Sweetwater are using the green & herbal notes of the hemp plant to enhance their IPAs, which already tout flavors of bitterness, freshness and hoppiness.

So, we think that hemp craft beers will fit right in! In fact, we believe it’ll do more than fit in, we think they will thrive. The same hipster beanie-wearing dudes who drink IPAs are probably already using hemp in their breakfasts or daily supplements; so why not have hemp with their beer?

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Hemp Beer Goes Nationwide: New Belgium Launches The Hemperor (VIDEO)

Last month, we got to attend a special tasting of a unique new hemp beer, and talk to part of the team behind its creation. “We finally brought together hemp and hops,” said Steve Navas, brand activation manager for New Belgium, when describing The Hemperor.

Last month, we got to try a unique new hemp beer and talk to part of the team behind it.

“We finally brought together hemp and hops,” said Steve Navas, brand activation manager for New Belgium Brewing.

The private bar in downtown Austin where the tasting took place was filled with the incredible smell of The Hemperor hemp pale ale. As we spoke with Navas, the sounds of local bluegrass band Steel Betty tickled our ears.

Over the past few months, New Belgium has traveled the USA sharing their new hemp beer, The Hemperor.

Over the past few months, New Belgium has traveled the U.S. sharing their new hemp beer, The Hemperor. (New Belgium Brewing)

“We’re one of the first breweries to be able to nationally roll out a beer like this,” Navas told us. “This is two years in the making.”

As for The Hemperor? We thought it was delicious. Here’s how we described this hemp beer in our official Hemperor review:

Wow! Powerful green hemp aroma from this pale ale. The hemp adds a nutty, smooth flavor that balances out the hops, especially in comparison to most IPAs. This beer is sweet with a very mild bitter aftertaste.

You can also feel good about your purchase, because one dollar from every bottle sold goes to support hemp legalization. Keep an eye out for The Hemperor at a store near you.

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The Hemperor Beer Review: New Belgium Adds Hemp Flavor & Aroma To Hops

The Hemperor is a unique new offering from New Belgium. While this “HPA” or Hemp Pale Ale has the strong flavor of hops, the hemp flavor balances out the bitterness. And the hempy smell of The Hemperor has to be experienced to be believed.

Our Hemperor beer review in a nut (hemp?) shell: Delicious!

New Belgium Brewing recently invited our Editor in Chief to a special Austin, Texas tasting of their new hemp beer, The Hemperor HPA.

The Hemperor is a unique new offering. This is the first hemp beer from a brewery as ubiquitous as New Belgium. While this “HPA” or Hemp Pale Ale has the strong flavor of hops, the hemp flavor balances out the bitterness. The smell of The Hemperor has to be experienced to be believed. The private downtown bar where the tasting took place smelled like a hemp field at harvest, just from the open bottles and glasses of beer.

New Belgium are also believers in hemp legalization. One dollar from every bottle sold goes to groups like Hemp 4 Victory.

“It’s a crop that has a lot of stigma in this country and I think this beer could be a catalyst for change,” declared Steve Navas, brand activation manager at New Belgium.

New Belgium is also encouraging beer fans to contact their elected representatives and demand total hemp legalization.

HEMP AND HOPS COME TOGETHER IN THE HEMPEROR

Hemp and hops have a long history of human cultivation but they’ve rarely been combined in a modern beer. Since New Belgium is from Colorado, the heart of modern hemp growing in the U.S. it might be inevitable that they’d decide to mix the two.

“Our brewers met some farmers, got to brewing, and figured out it tastes great in a beer,” Navas said.

Regulations are one issue that may have kept hemp beers from reaching a national market before. As the creators of hemp wine discovered, the government bodies which oversee alcohol licensing and distribution in the U.S. are resistant to ingredients like hemp. Now for sale in 49 states, The Hemperor is still unavailable in Kansas, which has extremely strict laws on hemp products.

Steve Navas of New Belgium poses with a glass of The Hemperor at the Austin, Texas tasting. (Ministry of Hemp)

New Belgium is lobbying to change those regulations. “Hopefully in the next few months we’ll be able to sell this in that state as well,” Navas said.

Other than that small amount of resistance, he said people greet The Hemperor with excitement.

“People are overall ecstatic about it,” Navas said.

“The beer speaks for itself and it smells for itself,” he added, taking a whiff of the beer’s distinctive aroma in his glass.

OFFICIAL HEMPEROR BEER REVIEW

Official Hemperor Beer Review

  • Highlights: New Belgium’s The Hemperor HPA has an incredibly rich, herbal hempy aroma but contains absolutely no THC. It has a light golden amber color. The taste of hemp balances out the bitterness of the hops. A portion of the profits from every bottle sold go to hemp legalization causes.
  • Price: $18.83 for a six-pack (Amazon)
  • Strength: 7% alcohol by volume
  • Taste & Aroma: Wow! Powerful green hemp aroma from this pale ale. The hemp adds a nutty, smooth flavor that balances out the hops, especially in comparison to most IPAs. This beer is sweet with a very mild bitter aftertaste.
  • Ingredients: Water, ale yeast, wheat (Pale, White Wheat and Midnight Wheat), Hops (Nugget, Cascade, HBC 522 and Simcoe), Hemp hearts and natural flavor

The Hemperor is sourced from Colorado-grown hemp plants. Despite the smell, The Hemperor contains does not contain any THC, the ingredient in marijuana that makes people feel high. It’s also not a source of CBD or any of the other cannabinoids or terpenes found in the cannabis plant, just delicious hemp flavor. Sign up at Hemp 4 Victory to join the efforts of New Belgium and their allies to spread the word about hemp legalization.

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