Grab your favorite strain of cannabis and a good cold beer for this one. We are going to talk about families and relationships. The relationship between cannabis and hops that is.
I’m sure most of you can agree a cold beer and a nice joint is a good relaxing combination, almost a perfect pairing some would say. Well what if I told you there is a really good reason for that. The two are closely related, especially when you start back at the beginning. Yes we all know it is great to cure that inevitable cottonmouth. So, cure that cottonmouth with a cold sip and enjoy some cool facts and knowledge.
Humulus lupulus is the plant we get hops from. Yes, the hops used to make beer. Humulus lupulus is a very close relative of the cannabis plant. Cannabis is the plant we all know and love, the plant many use as medicine and even for fun. You could say cannabis and Humulus lupulus are cousins. Who would’ve thought. Both plants are genetically related and belong to the Cannabinaceae Family.
As studies continue and further questions are asked, scientists are learning so much more about these two cousin plants.Cannabis and hops both contain very similar smells and tastes. These are the similar terpenes they have in common. The appearance is similar as well, as they both grow in the iconic bud form. They also both can be nice and sticky when grown properly. Yup some good Ole’ sticky Icky. Ok let’s get back to some science and good knowledge again.
But first, a small smell and sip of a cold beer. Wow, notice that some strains and beers have similar smells. Gotta love it. There are 30 plus terpenes in cannabis and just about the same amount in hops. Quick refresher…Terpenes are organic compounds that are produced by several flowers and trees. All terpenes have distinct tastes, smells, and effects and are a major factor in the end result of a strain of cannabis or hops. A few terpenes shared by hops and cannabis are myrcene, beta-pinene, and alpha-humulene.
So, like any family, you know there will always be differences. The similarities between them are usually what give rise to these differences. In hops, the alpha acids give beer a bitter taste and preserve the final product longer. These alpha acids are actually terpenoids that are found in cannabis and are responsible for the manufacture of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive part of cannabis. Some of these same terpenes, like alpha-humulene also defend the plants from fungus or pests.
So if Humulus lupulus (hops) and cannabis are cousins and closely related, that also may help explain some of the awesome and new things going on in the crafting and pairing world of beer and cannabis. There are a couple breweries that have infused their beers with CBD and even some with THC. These combinations are delicious and satisfying. Maybe a new entourage effect. I mean, we are blending compounds and terpenes in a new and thirst quenching way. I guess this means we have cousins that can get along well and work good together. It may be hard to get some of these beers, it all depends on where you live. If you live in a recreational state, then the chances of finding THC infused beers are much greater. CBD infused beers may be a little easier to find, but definitely not sitting on every corner store end cap like the color changing cans that some of these big companies have.
That being said, I’m on to the next cool thing going in with the cousins: hops and cannabis. Pairing? That’s right! Pairing certain strains of cannabis with certain beers to attain terpenes that work well with each other. It’s been done for centuries with wine and cheese. It’s the new big thing and even taking off in high class communities. Its pairing for all. Cannabis and breweries are the new hot thing. So, when I talk about pairing, I am not talking about that cool little color changing can. We are talking about your local brewery who has just as much pride and passion when brewing as the grower you get your flower or product from. Taking pride in sharing knowledge, I have smoked a bunch and drank a bunch so that I could give you a few examples. Just kidding I smoked a lot, drank a little, and did some research.
A nice wheat beer would pair great with some nice Liberty Haze. Liberty Haze has high level of limonene – a citrusy terpene. Not a fan of wheat beers? Grab an IPA and your favorite piney strain like Pineapple, they go great together. Because well, the family thing. They both share similar terpenes like pinene. Here are some ideas to start smelling, sipping, and smoking. Like they say “The nose knows”, so go find your perfect paired combination.