Lagunitas may be known for its “curious ales and lagers,” but their newest product is a little more curious than most. Last week Lagunitas released SuperCritical, an IPA that uses real cannabis terpenes.
The new beer marks probably the most high profile brewer yet to use cannabis as an ingredient. While others have involved weed in their brewing process before, these have mostly been local microbreweries. But Lagunitas is the next thing to a household name. It’s owned by Heineken, carried in grocery stores across the country, and advertises weekly on the mega-popular radio show/podcast This American Life, where it’s said to be “known for keeping the pub in public radio.”
SuperCritical uses concentrates manufactured by AbsoluteXtracts, a Northern California company known both for the quality of its product and for its trouble with the law. Lagunitas has also had its share of regulation trouble. In 2005 the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control suspended the brewer’s license because an employee was caught rolling a joint at a company party.
Choosing from several terpene blends created by AbsoluteXtracts, Lagunitas selected a cross between Girl Scout Cookies and Blue Dream.
“These are created using a combination of dozens of terpenes that we isolate and refine during cannabis extraction, and they are what give our strains their unique flavor and sensory profiles,” says Kial Long, vice president of marketing at AbsoluteXtracts, told the Chicago Tribune.
A medley of hop strains, which have names that are not quite as cool as weed strains such as Tomahawk and Zeus, were chosen to balance the terpene flavors.
The two companies also collaborated on a new line of vape cartridges which employ hop terpenes in the flavor profile. “We really just wanted to pool our resources to see what we could create,” Long said.
SuperCritical contains only cannabis terpenes, so it’s THC factor is non-existent. That being said, the brew will still likely pack a wallop. It clocks in at 6.8 percent percent alcohol. The first release of the beer is a sort of trial run. Most of the small single batch ended up in San Franciscan bars. But depending on the batch’s success, it may expand soon to other states.