Beers, full booze and non-alcoholic alike, are pushing forward with another big trend: The aromas of hemp and cannabis. CBD-infused beer is taking over. Learn which companies are pioneering it, and see why it's generating so much buzz among connoisseurs.
7 Best CBD and Cannabis-Infused Beers for a Different Buzz
With CBD legalized across much of the U.S. (though not at the federal level) and marijuana legalization slowly — or quickly — sweeping its way across the country, breweries don’t want to be left behind. CBD or cannabidiol has found its way into pretty much every product, whether it makes sense or not. Some of the best examples are the CBD creams and muscle balms for athletes, like those from Beam, and mellow smoking products like Dad Grass. Even a sports drink company, BioSteel, is starting to push products infused with CBD. It’s no surprise the laidback beer industry, which is often associated with marijuana, wants a piece of the industry it’s so close to.
There’s a natural connection, too, when it comes to beer and CBD. Cannabis and hops both belong to the same Cannabaceae plant family. That’s why there are so many beers a novice IPA lover might take a big whiff of and say, “Whoa, that smells like weed.” Don’t be surprised if, as weed becomes more normalized in the world, more beers start to utilize the herb to further enhance its beers. Breweries are combining booze and weed, or booze and THC. But they’re also hopping on the health crazes and mixing CBD oil with non-alcoholic brews. Here are our favorite hemp, CBD, and cannabis beers.
Best Hemp Beer By A Beer Giant: The Hemperor
If New Belgium, one of the nation’s largest brewers, can jump on the hemp-derived bandwagon (earlier than most at that), then it’s likely only a matter of time more breweries make beers infused with hemp, CBD and THC. Unlike many of the beers on this list, The Hemperor is wildly distributed. For those who’ve purchased the beer, whether for true enjoyment or pure curiosity, you’ll remember how pungent the weed-like smell was when you cracked open the cap. Really, though, all the hemp in The Hemperor does is amplify the hoppy flavors of the “Hemp Pale Ale.”
Best Non-IPA For A Hemp-Inspired Beer: Humboldt Brown
Unlike a lot of hemp- or cannabis-derived beers, the long-time brewery Humboldt decided to stray away from the hop-heavy IPA and pale ale style for its hemp beer. Thankfully, Humboldt took a creative route with its beer. The Humboldt Hemp Ale is brewed with toasted hemp seeds to give off the earthy-dank herbal notes. The best part about a well-brewed brown ale is how a well-hopped schedule can actually improve it. That’s the case here, as well.
Best Cannabis Beer By A Brewing Legend: Ceria Brewing Co.
Keith Villa created a beer that transformed many light beer drinkers into craft beer drinkers: Blue Moon. The two nationwide flagships of his new endeavor, Ceria Brewing Co., are not cannabis or CBD-infused, but non-alcoholic beers. Still, part of the reason Villa retired from MillerCoors and the Blue Moon empire he built was to pursue brewing with cannabis. And he now makes those beers for dispensaries in Colorado and, soon, California. He recently went on a big PR tour supporting a new book: “Brewing with Cannabis: Using THC and CBD in Beer.”
Best THC-infused Beer By An In-Your-Face Brewery: Hop Chronic
Flying Dog Brewing Co.’s labels are, on their own, plenty eye-popping. The beers, like its infamous Raging Bitch Belgian IPA and Doggie Style Pale Ale are fabulous beers. So Flying Dog’s partnership with Leaf Medical Cannabis provides a delicious example of what a cannabis beer can be. The beer was non-alcoholic, but really, when you’re sipping on a weed drink, what’s the need for booze?
Best Cannabis-Infused Beverage By A Brewery Known For Weed: Hi-Fi Hops
Lagunitas has had its fair share of run-ins with weed, so why not keep it rolling? The Hi-Fi Hops Cannabis-Infused Hoppy Sparkling Water hits all the high notes. First, it capitalizes on the THC craze, building on top of the non-alcoholic buzz with the sparkling water hype. Three separate brands carry a variety of different THC and CBD levels, keeping it all cool with zero alcohol.
Best Cannabis-infused Beer Portfolio: Two Roots Brewing Co.
Two Roots has a great array of cannabis-infused beers, all registering below 0.5% alcohol. The IPA-spired New West and the new take on a hefeweizen, Tropical Infamy both offer up 5MG of THC with a burst of beer flavor. Grapefruit Fight, Mango Dango and Straight Dank can punch up the fruity hoppiness with 10MG of THC. Shadow Monk drops the THC back down but allows the Dubbel-inspired non-alcoholic beer, perfect for an after-dinner treat.
Best CBD Beer Brewed With A Punny Name: Green Times Brewing
The labels of Green Times Brewing beers read like a mouth-watering IPA. Take Five, the New England IPA pictured above, is brewed with a tempting hop bill of Citra, Columbus, Mosaic, and Simcoe hops. But add in a little bit of CBD and there’s a nice added mental relief to the buzz from its 5% ABV. The beer will have you believe you’re drinking a great beer, because you are! Unfortunately, you’ll have to fly to the United Kingdom to get a taste.
The 411 on CBD-Infused Beer
Is CBD-infused beer the next big thing? It just might be. A range of new CBD infusions have been hitting the market in recent years thanks to changing legislation and new research into the benefits of cannabidiol. Although many people use CBD to address specific health conditions, CBD is also popular for recreational use, which is part of what makes it a perfect solution for beer enthusiasts who are curious about the potential health benefits of cannabidiol.
What Is CBD Beer?
CBD beer has come about as a result of the growing demand for non-alcoholic beverages with CBD and advances in nano-emulsification technology. Previously, the hydrophobic nature of CBD oil would have made it impractical to create cannabis-infused beers. Now, beer lovers can enjoy a low alcohol drink with all of the benefits of CBD use.
CBD Beer’s Uncertain Beginnings
While the CBD industry has had a lot of success with CBD-infused products such as CBD oils, CBD balms, CBD e-liquids, CBD edibles, and CBD beverages, CBD-infused beers have taken longer to hit the shelves due to red tape constraints and legal uncertainty. Most of the pioneering brands in America—including Coalition Brewing Company and Longtrail Brewing Co.—have had to halt production at some point or even shut their doors. At present, there are only two or three companies making CBD-infused beer in the United States.
Why There’s So Much Confusion about CBD
Because CBD has not been approved as an official food additive or dietary supplement by the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the federal government prohibits its use in foods. This has resulted in several states banning CBD-infused edibles and beverages.
Nevertheless, THC-infused edibles and beverages (including THC beer) are sold without any qualms in many states that have approved recreational cannabis. This is another area where state and federal laws remain at odds.
How Is CBD-Infused Beer Made?
CBD beer is made by infusing a non-alcoholic flavor base made with hops and barley with CBD oil. To make it, breweries use a traditional brewing process, remove the alcohol, and then add a nano-emulsified form of CBD. The result is a non-alcoholic product with a pleasantly hoppy aroma and the wellness-promoting effects of CBD.
What Kind of CBD Extracts Are Used in Beer?
Most CBD beers make use of hemp extracts. Some use full-spectrum extracts, some use broad-spectrum extracts, and others utilize pure CBD isolate. From a legal standpoint, hemp is any Cannabis sativa plant that contains .3% THC or less. So it contains the cannabinoids you need, but there’s not enough THC to have a psychotropic effect.
Interestingly, cannabis and hops come from the same plant family—Cannabaceae—so it’s a nice twist that the two might be combined. Some brands, like Humboldt, even brew with toasted hemp seeds for a fully aromatic brewing experience, while others are content with the time-tested formula of hops and barley, infused with a hemp extract at the end.
Does CBD Beer Contain Alcohol?
CBD beer is usually a non-alcoholic beverage, so it shouldn’t contain any alcohol at all. It does, however, have ingredients that enhance the flavor of the beer and help to make CBD more effective, including terpenes—the naturally occurring compounds in cannabis that give the plant its signature aroma (and some of its therapeutic effects).
Due to the brewing process, some CBD beers contain low levels of alcohol, so be sure to check the product label before buying. In any case, CBD beer doesn’t contain enough alcohol to make you tipsy. At the most, a CBD beer will contain 0.5% alcohol, which is the same as a standard non-alcoholic beer.
What Are the Benefits Of CBD-Infused Beer?
There are a number of benefits to drinking CBD beer, not the least of which is the possibility of driving yourself home. Consider some of the research-based benefits of CBD:
Cannabis-Infused Beer Is Great for Socializing
There’s nothing like enjoying an ice-cold brew, but CBD makes the social experience even better. The reason that most people drink beer is that it makes them feel more relaxed and comfortable in social settings, and CBD-infused beer may offer similar benefits.
- Some people who use CBD say that it helps to calm their racing thoughts. In other words, it might help you relax and enjoy the party. , CBD has anxiolytic (anxiety-relieving) properties. In other words, if you’re nervous, anxious, or generally stressed, CBD might help you chill out. also suggest that CBD may also have antidepressant properties. In other words, it might boost your mood.
In short, CBD beer offers the same benefits that normal beer does, with zero alcohol.
Cannabis Beer May Help with Social Anxiety
One of the reasons that people drink beer is to help calm their anxiety when faced with social situations. Fortunately, CBD seems to be especially helpful for social anxiety and—better yet—won’t lead to alcohol addiction like alcoholic drinks can do.
CBD Beer Could Help You Sleep
According to research, CBD may help you get a better night’s sleep—especially if you can’t sleep because of anxiety or chronic pain. Instead of opening the fridge to drink alcohol and relax in the evening, pop out a cannabis-infused beer and enjoy the calming properties of hemp.
CBD Beer Is Good for Your Health
CBD cannabis beer is also great for your health in general because it helps to modulate the endocannabinoid system—the network of receptors responsible for keeping your other bodily systems in balance. People often use CBD for pain relief and mental health issues, and taking cannabidiol in a beverage is just as effective as ingesting it in edibles or oils.
CBD Beer Is Perfect for Designated Drivers
Being the designated driver is an important role, but it can feel frustrating. Everybody else is out enjoying a few drinks and letting loose, and you are stuck with soft drinks for the night. The great thing about CBD beer is that you can still enjoy a drink that helps you relax and enjoy the evening like everybody else, but you are still fit to drive.
Where Can You Get CBD Beer?
If you’d like to try CBD-infused beer for yourself, you’ll most likely be able to purchase this from dispensaries in states where CBD-infused beers are legal. Although there are some legislative barriers that prohibit the use of CBD in food and drink, these only exist in certain states and the law is always changing. As a result, CBD beer is more widely available than ever before.
At present, the main brands that make CBD-infused beers are Outbound Brewing in San Diego, Coalition Brewing Company in Oregon, and Ceria Brewing around the United States. If you’re ever overseas, be sure to check out Green Times Brewing in the UK. While their CBD beers are widely advertised, Outbound Brewing is not yet offering its products for sale. Keep an eye out for this brand in dispensaries in the future.
Best Flavors of CBD-Infused Beer to Try
To tantalize your taste buds, these are some of the flavors of cannabis beer that are currently available (or coming soon) in the United States:
Grainwave Belgian-Style White from Ceria Brewing
Ceria Brewing’s specialty is Grainwave—a classic Belgian-style white ale heightened with the flavors of blood orange peel and coriander. These spices add the aromatic terpenes limonene and linalool that have been associated with anti-inflammatory and anxiolytic effects. This brew pairs perfectly with chicken, Mexican food, salad, seafood, and vanilla-based desserts. It’s available in dispensaries around the United States.
Two Flowers IPA from Coalition Brewing Company
Coalition Brewing has launched its first CBD beer in Oregon with Two Flowers IPA. This craft beer is described on their site as “a west coast IPA that is light, crisp, bitter, and refreshing.” And the two flowers? Well, they are naturally hops and hemp!
The trio of Brews from Outbound Brewing
While not yet available on dispensary shelves, the three flavors coming from Outbound Brewing are already causing a sensation on the net:
Grapefruit Haze is a pale golden brew with a refreshing citrusy aroma and tangy grapefruit zestiness. The brew is perfected with a flurry of small bubbles with each and every sip.
For those who appreciate a subtle flavor, Pale Haze is a mild-tasting CBD-infused beer with a hazy amber hue. The effervescent texture carries citrus and floral flavors with a pleasantly hoppy aroma.
Blood Orange Haze
Blood Orange Haze is a tan-colored beer with the refreshing taste of blood orange peel. The fizzy texture goes perfectly with the citrusy zestiness and earthy notes of this CBD brew.
Join the CBD Beer Revolution
CBD beer is changing the way that people enjoy recreational drinking. It’s the norm for people to go out to bars and drink beer or relax in the evening at home with a few cold ones.
But CBD beer is also offering a great alternative for a healthy lifestyle, with the same relaxing effects of an alcoholic beer plus the therapeutic effects of CBD. Have you ever tried cannabis-infused beer? Tell us what you think.