Nov 15, 2022 - Business

Hemp is the new hop for craft beer

Illustration of cannabis and beer emoji smiling at each other.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Instead of hops, how about hemp in your beer?

What's happening: Beyond CBD and THC beers, brewers are starting to experiment more with the non-psychoactive cannabis plant, says Ross Koenigs, author of "Brewing with Hemp: The Essential Guide."

  • There are a "lot of people who seem very hungry for more knowledge" since the legalization of hemp in the 2018 farm bill, he adds. "It's still somewhat of an undeveloped space."

How it works: In his previous job at New Belgium, he made the Hemperor, a cannabis-flavored IPA. "From a flavor and aroma perspective, it behaves almost analogously to hops. You could more or less go 1 to 1 with your brewing methods," he explains.

  • Other brewers using hemp include SweetWater, a Georgia-based brewer with an outpost in Fort Collins.

Of note: Koenigs is opening his own brewery Second Dawn in Aurora later this fall.

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