Anyone sufficiently knowledgeable about both beer and marijuana can attest: certain beers can have an undeniably weed-like taste and smell.
It's not your imagination. Humulus lupulus (hops) and Cannabis sativa (marijuana) look, taste, and smell so much alike at times that many people wonder whether they're related.
Although it's even entirely possible to brew beer with weed, most of the mass-market offerings, due to the strictures of current federal law, don't actually contain the good stuff. That hasn't stopped brewers, however, from tapping into cannabis culture.
Here are five brews that either contain, or pair beautifully with, a little herbal enhancement.
1. Sixpoint Puff
From the makers of Sixpoint Resin, this cloudy, unfiltered brew brings an extra dose of dry hops to the party. "Imagine puffing away on hops for days," according to the brewers, "then just chillin' as the party starts winding down. This ish is Keller. Breathe deep... it's Mad Science." It's meant to be consumed fresh - like, within-100-days-of-brewing-fresh - making it pretty much the closest thing you can get to drinking an IPA straight from the tanks. Guaranteed to put your head in the clouds.
2. Weed Golden Ale
Sweet and malty with a hint of hops and light fruit, this beer gets its name from the small mountain city of Weed, California, famed for its stunning views of Mt. Shasta. The markers of this golden ale are well aware of the the humour: they've written "A Friend in Weed is a Friend Indeed!" around the outside of the bottle cap. (It used to be "Try LEGAL Weed," until killjoy authorities put an end to that.) Interesting and complex: also, available at Whole Foods.
3. Pinner IPA
Can we be blunt? Pinner Throwback IPA is both intensely flavourful, and intensely crushable at 4.9% ABV and 35 IBUs. It uses several varieties of hops to achieve a complex profile of "tropical fruits, citrus juices, pineapple and spice berry up front in the aroma and flavor," according to manufacturers, and "biscuit and toasted bread at the back." Perfect to pass around at your next party.
4. Euphoria Cannabis Beer
Made in a time-honoured Czech brewery dating back to 1871, Euphoria combines two Czech traditions: great beer, and first-rate craft cannabis. "Its individual taste is given by the connection of a deeply fermented beer with pleasantly light bitter taste and extract obtained from hemp growing in mountain valleys in Switzerland," according to manufacturers, meaning that this beer actually contains weed in addition to cold-filtered, artisian water, and zero additives. This mix of pure ingredients – plus the natural goodness of hemp – accounts for its singularly clean, smooth and slightly bitter refreshing taste and golden-brown color. Dig the joint-style roll-up packaging, as well.
5. Dude's Brews Sativa IPA
The hotly-anticipated follow up to Dank IPA, Sativa "uses pounds of the same smells-like-the-good-stuff hops as Dank IPA, but brings it down a notch for the casual, bud-lovin' drinker," according to a release by the manufacturer, Dude's Brews. "Finding a legal hemp oil was difficult," says owner Mason "Dude" Hembree. "Locally cultivated cannabis is not legal for brewers, yet." After a year of negotiations and government obstacles, Dude's Brews was able to find a water-soluble and 420 percent legal product to pump CBDs into the beer. "We joke sometimes that it will end the bar fight," says co-owner Tom "Dad" Hembree.