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Cannabis & Beer: Together at Last

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Oregon is beer. I realized that living in Massachusetts for a short time prior to becoming an Oregonian. But the concept stuck with me: Making a name for yourself as a region via the craft industry that people picture when dreaming up an experience. Now, as a resident of Oregon, I know our state is becoming a household name when it comes to cannabis.

While the “cannafam” often has a bone to pick with alcohol, I must admit there is a time and a place for everything—in moderation. I think recreation is one of the most important healing factors towards a healthier lifestyle and one that many Americans are missing. Stress can be an overwhelming factor when it comes to health issues. With that said, there is most definitely a time and a place for cannabis and beer to be enjoyed simultaneously. But what makes us so attracted to both of these controversial products?

Flavor: “Terps” are where it all starts: organic hydrocarbons found in the essential oils of plants. Hops are in the same family of taxonomic classification (Cannabaceae) as cannabis. Modern hops are bred and cultivated to practically drip with smell and flavor compounds as brewers seek out juicier and more unique experiences. And they are looking to the cannabis world for cutting edge knowledge because, like all plants, the myriad of flavors and smells in cannabis also come from terpenoids like terpenes and sesquiterpenes as well as other compounds like flavonoids such as anthocyanin (which also gives cannabis and other plants their purple color). I recently drank some “Hemperor HPA” from New Belgium Brewing in Colorado. Brewed with hemp seeds, the acrid, skunky flavor was all too familiar for an “OG” to not enjoy.

Effects: While I can preach all day about the health benefits of cannabis or the antioxidants in a glass of red wine, not to mention rest and relaxation, they also allow us to explore our minds and the world around us more broadly from a new and often insightful perspective.

A fitting example is (responsibly) utilizing the lighter alcohol content in the “Lawnmower Lager” from Ashland’s Caldera Brewing with your favorite Saturday afternoon strain choice to . . . well, mow the lawn!

Culture: The beer community shares many members with the cannabis community. Cannabis breeders and consumers are chasing new and exciting terpene profiles and strain effects like they are the hottest Top 40 song-of-the-week with mind-melting results, man. Not only in their dynamic ability to cover the flavor, smell and effects spectrums, but in the prolific and infinite nature of breeding rabbit hole! Check out Lagunitas Brewing’s annual 4/20 release.


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