Lagunitas Brewing Co. has built a solid reputation in the craft brew industry thanks to its line of hoppy IPAs, which deliver a strong buzz. With that said, Lagunitas created an even bigger buzz, when it became the first craft brewer t0 test a cannabis-infused ale that includes two very popular strains of weed.
Thanks to a three-way partnership between Lagunitas, Northern California cannabis grower CannaCraft, and the extraction company AbsoluteXtracts, Californians have the chance to try the first-ever cannabis-infused ale with cannabis terpenes — the aromatic oils that contain the aroma and unique flavors found within cannabis and hops.
Lagunitias SuperCritical Ale is infused with Blue Dream and Girl Scout Cookies terpenes and showcases how marijuana can be used to compliment hops.
"Giving brewers access to these terpenes from cannabis is like having notes in a musical scale that you didn't have before," Jeremy Marshall, Lagunitas so-called 'Brewmonster,' said in a YouTube clip.
Due to the earthy, rich flavor of the Girl Scout Cookie strain, and the pungent, citrus-like aromas of Blue Dream, SuperCritical delivers, a "very earthy taste with hints of pine and citrus — very different from that of a typical IPA," according to Fortune.
While SuperCritical doesn't contain THC and won't get you high — it definitely tastes like it could. Kial Long, Vice President of Marketing at AbsoluteXtracts added that that this one-of-a-kind batch of Lagunitas also contained six different hops that were handpicked for this project.
"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," Long told the SF Gate.
This cannabis-infused ale is a perfect example of brewers focusing on flavor as the driving force.
While visually similar, some people may not know that cannabis and hops have many other similarities. Both are categorized within, "the Cannabaceae family of flowering plants, and both rely on compounds called terpenes to provide their essential flavors and aromas," according to the SF Gate.
Moreover, "Supercritical" is a term familiar to brewing and cannabis extraction processes, it involves converting liquid Co2 (carbon dioxide) into gas with heat and pressure, in order to extract valuable flavor molecules off the cannabis plant.
"Supercritical is the common denominator between our industry [beer] and their industry [extraction]." — Jeremy Marshall, Lagunitas Brewmonster, co-creator of SuperCritical
Here's a video AbsoluteXtracts posted to Instagram that gives a detailed visual of the state-of-the-art processes behind cannabis terpene extraction.
Interestingly enough, the Lagunitas X AbsoluteXtracts collaboration extends further than a cannabis-infused ale. A SuperCritial vape cartridge infused with hops and terpenes, which will be the pyschoactive alternative to the ale, is in the works.
SuperCritial is only available in California on tap. You can find a list of SuperCritical stocked bars here.