Pot Beer

Written by Greg Kitsock

©Copyright 1997 Greg Kitsock

It was called Brain Death, and it was a high­gravity brew in more than one sense of the word.

Brain Death was the creation of two homebrewers and certified beer judges, both brewers of whom are highly respected in their hobby. (For reasons that will become apparent, they wish to remain anonymous.) A potent barleywine (OG 1,100), Brain Death contained an extra ingredient that one of the euphemistically calls “special hops”.

In fact, the beer was “dry­hemped” with flowers of the female marijuana plant, homegrown by an acquaintance in Texas. The alcohol and tetrahydrocannibanol (THC) made a mind­rattling combination.

The creators of Brain Death brought some samples to the 1988 American Homebrewers Association convention in Denver, CO. There, the brewers were approached by Michael Jackson. Recalled one of them: “We told him what was in it, and poured him a pint. Forty­five minutes later, he came back and asked, ‘Is there any chance there would be some Brain Death left?’ We gave him our last bottle.”

The brewer later had his copy of Michael Jackson’s Beer Companion inscribed, “To [NAME]. Ever since we met, I’ve been suffering from Brain Death. Cheers, Michael.”
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