Cannabis Amber Ale
Beer And Cannabis Are More Closely Related Than
You'd Think
By Nick Johnson
Given the massive and rapidly expanding scopes of the craft beer and cannabis industries, overlap between the two was inevitable. Many have begun to combine hemp and hops due to their similarities, so the next time you're at your local brewery, don't be surprised if your IPA has a distinctly hempy flavor.
Millions of years ago, hops branched off from the evolutionary tree of cannabis, finding the wet soil alongside creeks preferable to the dry savannahs, while cannabis stayed put in the savannahs, resulting in speciation. For decades, beer and cannabis were wedged into the Urticales order, but further investigation revealed they belonged in the Rosales order, with a new family name of Cannabaceae being given to them in the 2000s.
The genetic connection between hops and cannabis is expressed in their shared aromatic, bitter notes that result from terpenes, a naturally occurring plant compound. Inspired by this, craft brewers around the country have created hop-forward beers with flavors reminiscent of cannabis, such as craft beer titan New Belgium’s Hemperor HPA.