Even if you have been living under a rock, there is no escaping the headlines. The Devil’s Lettuce has been legalized. Yes, the Jazz Cabbage is now available from government-approved retailers, who will mostly likely be lacking in Bob Dylan on the stereo or some sweet incense burning to hide that telltale aroma from your square parents or dorm supervisor.
The now-legal availability of the wacky tabaccy in Canada has the beer industry worried that people will want to wind down after a long day by taking a ride on the green train with Cheech & Chong instead of the traditional method of cracking open a six-pack.
Wanting to remain the supplier of all your vice-related needs, the beer industry has been experimenting with cannabis-based beer on the down-low for the past year or so.
Unlike other weed beers that are a typical barley-based brew with cannabis oils added after the fermentation process, new beers are under development that swap out the barley ingredient for the stems and roots of the cannabis plant.
The biggest player in this market right now is Constellation Brands, parent company of Corona and many other beer brands. Constellation Brands has invested $5 billion into the Canadian pot industry, so they very much want to be the enabler of all your degenerate urges.
The first few attempts at making a beer from the stems and roots of the cannabis plant resulted in a beer that tasted much like rotten broccoli, but after roping in a lab full of eager PhD candidates at a Canadian university that asked to remain anonymous, the inquisitive-minded budding chemists finally struck on a formulation for making a beer from pot plants instead of barley.
As an added bonus, beer made from the cannabis plant is entirely gluten free, so those with gluten intolerances or Celiac disease can space out while listening to Pink Floyd with a THC-infused beer.
Marijuana-based beers are classed as edibles, which will not become legal in Canada until sometime in 2019, but you better believe that the industry giants already have plans in place to claim their piece of that market next year.
Molson Coors has a spinoff up and running already in Quebec, working on a non-alcoholic beverage made from the cannabis plant. The kinks are still being worked out, so expect to hear more as we get closer to legalized edibles next year.
Closer to home, there is a factory-farming pot plantation near the Caroline natural gas plant that is partnering with the drinks industry to provide concentrated THC oils and tinctures for blending with beverages. These offerings will be entirely un-beerlike, although the producers are aiming for similar levels and duration of intoxication as a can of beer. All these drinks companies are waiting on the Canadian government to announce the timeline for legalizing edibles, so this will be on the down-low until sometime next year.
Looking south of the border to Colorado, many Marijuana-infused beers appeared after decriminalization in that state, so there will likely be a similar rush of new bud-based beers appearing on the Canadian market next year.
Wine and weed do not tend to mix well, although it is unclear whether this is due to the terpenes in the maui wowie clashing with the subtle flavours that the winemakers gently coax from the grapes, or just plain old wine snobbery.
Regardless of the underlying reasons, you should not expect to see a Cheech & Chong Chardonnay on the shelves anytime soon, but there will likely be plenty of distilled spirits with a green tint and skunky aroma on the market in the near future.
Faithful readers may recall that Gin is made by starting with a base neutral spirit like Vodka, and then infusing with botanicals like Juniper berries. The same method of using ethyl alcohol as an effective solvent for pulling THC oils out of plants has not escaped the notice of
There are already some budding ganjapreneurs out there who are developing a spirit called Ginja Ganja, which is basically a gin infused with cannabis, along with assorted other botanicals to hide the skunky aromas from the THC. Perhaps it may even replace the Rye & Ginger as Alberta’s favourite highball!