One of California’s most popular breweries — Lagunitas Brewing Company — has officially crossed over into the cannabis industry. The brewers at Lagunitas, based in Santa Rosa, partnered with Cannacraft’s AbsoluteXtracts to create both a beer and a vape pen that bring flavors from hops and cannabis together to create whole new experiences.
SuperCritical Ale is brewed with cannabis terpenes extracted from Girl Scout Cookies and Blue Dream varietals. These terpenes contribute to the flavor without adding any cannabinoids — like THC — so, no high here. Terpenes create the aroma and the range of flavors in your favorite cannabis buds. But these naturally occurring chemicals aren’t exclusive to cannabis; they’re found in nearly all plants with a scent, from lavender to mangoes.
Even hops has naturally occurring terpenes, like myrcene, but the definition listed on “Craft Beer and Brewing Magazine” suggests that hop terpenes may not play as major a role in the flavor of beer as they do in cannabis. This is because most of the terpenes are burned off during the brewing process and are occasionally infused into dry hops for additional flavor, according to the article.
Do terpenes Make a Difference?
I cracked open the SuperCritical Ale and poured a glass. I was surprised to see a light golden beer fill my cup, similar to a light IPA or blonde ale.
The aroma was reminiscent of a typical beer, but something was different. There was a subtly twisted scent that peaked my interest.
SuperCritical’s infusion of cannabis terpenes has definitely altered the tasting experience. The terpenes brought citrus-like pops along the tongue and roof of my mouth that lingered long after each sip. It wasn’t the flavor, but rather the feel of citrus which came through like squeezing a lemon into a glass of iced tea.
The combination of terpenes is fruity and bitter, but smooth like an ale. While the citrus-like sensation lingered in my mouth for several minutes after my last drink, that sensation lifted after about 5 to 10 minutes and my mouth had a clean feeling.
SuperCritical brings together top Yakima hops and terpenes extracted from Northern California’s finest cannabis. Lagunitas does not specify which terpenes are being used, but that may only matter for cannabis geeks like me. SuperCritical is a beer, and beer is for recreation, after all. Knowing the specific terpene profile is much more important when a patient is looking for medicine. Less important when you’re browsing the beer aisle before going to your friend’s place. That being said, the Lagunitas brewmonster and AbsoluteXtracts budmaster explain in a couple short videos on the Lagunitas’ website why they selected the dream-like qualities of Blue Dream and the earthy, grounded nature of Girl Scout Cookies to pull terpenes from, plus they give their own light-hearted review of this small batch brew.
The cannabis-infused ale is an interesting drink to share with friends, and whether it’s a novelty or your new go-to will depend on your own tastes. Apparently it’s quite popular though, as Lagunitas has already sold out of the first batch and are working on the second.
Will it have the same profile as before? Or will the brewmasters play with more terpene combinations? Follow @lagunitasbeer on Instagram or @lagunitasbrewingco on Facebook to look for word on the next batch.