Let’s bring cannabis to the people in a way, a format, that’s easy to consume and that’s familiar to them,” Keith Villa recounts. “Beer has been with us for thousands of years. People know how to drink it. Our Western culture is such that we almost always have a drink in our hands as we’re socializing.

“So we said: Let’s use beer. That’ll be our vehicle to bring cannabis to the masses.”

This week in Boulder Weekly, “Cannabis pro Omnibus:” Villa on getting CERIA Brewing up and running, finding a way to make cannabinoids and beer to play nice, and an excerpt from Brewing with Cannabis: Using THC and CBD in Beer:

In addition to being home to one of the first legal recreational marijuana markets in the U.S., Colorado is also home to the headquarters of the American Homebrewers Association and the Brewers Association. Interestingly, American homebrewers were some of the first innovators to experiment with marijuana beers (Ed Rosenthal, Marijuana Beer). These early adopters were most likely aware of the illegality of marijuana but forged ahead with putting it into small-batch homebrews, showing that beers containing active THC can be made successfully.

In contrast to homebrewers, commercial craft brewers can only operate if they have a brewing permit issued by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), an agency of the Department of the Treasury, and so are very aware that they could lose their permit and livelihood if they brew with anything that is illegal under federal laws. However, this is not to insinuate that today’s craft brewers are standing by idle, waiting for federal legalization. Although this topic will be covered in other chapters, many craft breweries have either produced beers with cannabis terpenes to mimic the smell of marijuana (e.g., Hemperor Pale Ale by New Belgium Brewing Company), brewed with CBD (e.g., George Washington’s Secret Stash by Dad’s and Dude’s Breweria), or produced non-alcoholic beers with psychoactive THC (e.g., Grainwave by CERIA Brewing Company).

—Keith Villa, Brewing with Cannabis: Using THC and CBD in Beer, pg. 17

Next week: Dosing, beer styles, and, of course, a word on seltzer.

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