Mirroring trends in the US, more German brewers are brewing with hemp, the non-psychoactive stem portion of the cannabis plant that is used in a variety of commercial items including paper, textiles, clothing and increasingly beer.
Here’s the deal…
Since hemp can legally be grown in Germany, in unintoxicating varieties as an industrial crop, it is increasingly used as an ingredient in foods as well as in brewing beer.
But the content of tetrahydrocannabinols (THC), which is responsible for the cannabis high, is not allowed to exceed 0.2 percent of the crops and when used in food products or drinks, the plant is even more stringently regulated.
According to Germany’s Federal Institute for the Evaluation of Risk (!) , the THC content in drinks is limited to a buzz-killing five micrograms, for cooking oils, 5000 micrograms, and in other products 150 micrograms per kilogram.
And just as in the states, what exactly hemp contributes to beer is up for debate in Germany …
Hemp doesn’t add to the beer’s mood enhancing qualities (that continues to be alcohol’s domain, at least as long as recreational cannabis is prohibited in both countries).
And even the cannabis-like dankness that hemp beers such as New Belgium’s The Hemperor like to trumpet, is in many instances more a function if the beer’s hop mix than it is the brew’s hemp terpenes aromatics.
But given that recreational cannabis is transitioning in its acceptance around the world, and now legal in Uruguay and Canada…cannabis is trending and smart brewers are learning that brewing with a product like hemp can deliver considerable marketing buzz even when it doesn’t deliver a real pot buzz.
Urban Winkler, from the Weissenohe Brewery, home to one of Germany’s first hemp beers, Cannabis Club Sud, explained to The Local that the beer’s association with cannabis plays a significant part in its allure…
“Cannabis naturally has an eye-catching function,” Winkler added, “a father finds it cool to buy his son a Cannabis Sud with a cannabis leaf on the label for his 18th birthday.