There can only be one undistributed beer of the week. The competition is fierce in San Diego's beer community, but someone has to take the title. This week's best undistributed beer is...
Thorn Street Brewery: OG HighPA
ABV: 4.20% (yep!)
Pair with: smoked sausage or BBQ ribs
This nose on this beer is a recognizable, skunky scent. It's herby, grassy, oil-infused and dank, and exactly what we would hope for in a hemp-infused beer. It's also quite juicy with a drinkable quality ideal for sippin' in San Diego.
The story: This beer comes to us from Thorn Street Brewery's brewmaster and co-owner Eric O'Connor in collaboration with Jetty Extracts. The unique quality of this beer is obviously, the addition of hemp extracts.
"We love experimenting with new flavors and aromas and being on the cutting edge of craft beer. Beer is all about how it tastes though, and the flavors from the extract really blend well with the hops." O'Connor said. "It's a subtle flavor and the smell is unmistakable without being overpowering."
The scent is certainly a notable one, but it doesn't translate to the taste of the beer. The brew itself is piney, grassy and infused with some citrus flavors, thanks to the addition of Mosaic, Citra and Columbus hops. You can find the taste of hemp in this, but it's not something that overtakes the prevailing hoppy flavor.
Being one of the first of its kind, we wondered where the inspiration to brew a hemp-oil beer came from. O'Connor says that it started with a good batch made out of a friendship with Jetty Extracts appropriately, on April 20.
"Our assistant brewer became friends with the owner of Jetty Extracts after meeting him on a fishing trip in Baja. Matt Lee came by the brewery with some essential oils that he had recently made and asked me if I thought they would work well in the beer, and they did," he said. "We did a test run on 4/20, and everyone loved it."
Jetty Extracts is a leading force in the cannabis industry, well known for their extracts. This beer is a summer classic that we know San Diegans will (and have been) going crazy over since its May 2016 release.
"We have been looking to make a Session IPA for the summer that was crisp and refreshing, and we wanted to use Mosaic and Citra hops. The hemp extract seems to blend perfectly with that idea so we went ahead and did it," he said.
Hops and cannabis are from the same family, thus making a collaboration between the two plants pretty cohesive.
"As brewers, we love the beer because the essential oils in the cannabis plants are the same or very similar to the essential oils found in hops," O'Connor said. "By pairing the two, we can create exciting new flavor combinations not possible until now. We are always looking to create something new... as long as it's delicious. We think we hit the mark with OG HighPA."
So, will this beer get you stoned? Although it sits pretty at 4.20% on purpose, there is no THC in this delicious and dank beer, so the answer (for now) is no.
This beer is currently available on tap at Thorn Street Brewery. Get it while it's cold!
Thorn Street Brewery, 3176 Thorn St., North Park. thornstreetbrew.com