Is Pot Beer on the Horizon in Light of Colorado Marijuana Legalization?

Written by David Young for

A beer that will get you drunk and high sounds like a lethal combination, but it could be bubbling up in your neighbor’s garage.

With the move by voters to legalize adult marijuana possession, cultivation and sales in Colorado as part of Amendment 64 Tuesday, the likelihood of pot beer is out of the question for commercial brewers, but already in the works by homebrewers.

While commercial brewers have no plans to use marijuana in their beers based on the fact that brewer’s recipes are regulated by federal government where marijuana is still illegal, homebrewers have been, and are expected to continue, using marijuana in home-made beer.

Boulder-based American Homebrewer Association Director Gary Glass said homebrewers have been using marijuana in homebrews before Amendment 64 passed. He is not sure how the legalization of it will impact the homebrewing market. He noted Marijuana could be a expensive ingredient to add to a beer.

At a Boulder Dredhop Homebrew Competition, Glass said he had the opportunity to sample a beer brewed with marijuana.

Glass said he didn’t particularity like the beer and would not seek it out, but noted that with innovations coming out of the homebrewing community there is room for a whole new style of beer with marijuana.

Zach Weakland, co-owner of High Hops Brewing and Hops Farm and Brew Shop, 6461 Colorado Highway 392, said, despite the name, they have no plans to brew with or grow marijuana. As far as homebrewers, Weakland has heard of homebrewers brewing with marijuana. “I think it has already been going on and I think it will increase now,” he said.

Sean Nook, homebrewer and owner of Black Bottle Brewery, said he has known brewers who have dabbled with incorporating marijuana into their beers, but has never tried it.

“Hops and marijuana are in the same family, but totally different. Hops are meant as a flavoring bitter agent and the marijuana buds, I have been told by people, that it won’t work for some reason,” said Nook who has not plans to brew with the drug. “They (homebrewers) will do anything. I look to homebrewers for inspiration.”

Active homebrewer Josh Grenz is the treasurer for the WeizGuys Loveland homebrew club, member of the Fort Collins Liquid Poets Society homebrew club and co-owner of Verboten Brewery, a new brewery in Loveland that received its federal license Wednesday and is expected to open in December. He is familiar with homebrewers using hemp in the brewing process, and noted there could be an increase in marijuana in brewing.

Since the amendment passed Grenz hasn’t heard any talk among the homebrew community about using cannabis in beer, but noted there hasn’t been a meeting since Tuesday.

The mechanics of making marijuana beer, and the question of if you can get high from it, are questionable. The internet is littered with various recipes and tips on how to best incorporate cannabis tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, into a beer.

THC is slightly soluble in boiling water. Adding alcohol, oil, or butter causes the THC to dissolve better, according to

Weakland, not sure how it would work, said THC has to have an oil catalyst, so it may have to be cooked into an oil before being added to the fermenter.

Commercial brewers who distribute out of state, such as New Belgium Brewing Co., said they have no intentions of using marijuana to brew in light of Amendment 64.

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