Portland, Oregon based Coalition Brewing has the distinction of being one of the only breweries in the United States that currently brews a CBD beer. According to Phil Boyle, Beer Ambassador for Coalition Brewing, they became interested in doing a CBD beer back in August 2016 after they heard about a CBD beer made by Dads and Dudes Breweria in Colorado.
Researching CBD Beer
With their interest peaked in the possibility of brewing a CBD beer they began conducting research which they have made available on their website. They didn’t want to produce a gimmicky beer where they simply added CBD oil into an already brewed beer. Rather, they explored how to create a synergy using these two plants’ profiles. So, they learned about the similarities between cannabis and hops and how both plants produce similar organic aromatic compounds known as terpenes. These terpenes include myrcene (a relaxant found in both hemp and hops), limonene (the primary component in lemon oil, also prevalent in hemp and hops), and pinene (an energizing term found in basil, hemp, hops, and pine).
Then Boyle and head brewer Elan Walsky were invited to the Canna Society Soirée in September 2016 where they met Bill Stewart, with Half Baked Labs, a chemical engineer and cannabis chef. Stewart recalls that encounter. “We ended up sitting together and talking all evening about the project. The following Monday, I got together with them with samples of various hemp infusions so that they could learn about the flavors, aromas, and routes of infusion for hemp.”
Two Flowers CBD Beer
Walksy designed the first brew around the flavor and aroma of fresh pressed hemp juice to make their first CBD beer. Two Flowers, a West Coast style IPA (ABV: 6% and IBU: 55) possesses grassy citrus notes and a crisp hop forward taste thanks to its combination of Cascade and Sentinel hops, hemp juice, and a proprietarily CBD oil (product) blend made so that it’s OLCC compliant.
They followed up this year round beer with seasonal CBD beers such as a Lemon and Basil CBD Sour. These added flavors to the beer are also closely related to hops and cannabis on the terpene spectrum, Boyle added they plan to release a Double Chocolate Stout in November. As Coalition Brewing is only a 10-barrel brewery, they choose to focus on producing select quality seasonals designed for those who appreciate the quest to find a singular craft beer.
Presently, their CBD beers are only available on tap from their tasting room, as well as select other locations listed on their website. Boyle adds they will not be bottling any CBD beer until they receive approval from the Federal government.
In addition to brewing CBD beer, they plan to offer social events. For example, recently, they hosted a CBD dinner that consisted of four courses of food infused with CBD and Hops and paired with their CBD beers. At these social events Boyle hopes to introduce the normal beer drinker who doesn’t use cannabis into the health and wellness benefits of trying a CBD beer. Conversely, he would like for cannabis users who don’t drink beer to experience the sensation of adding beer to their CBD consumption.
Boyle stresses that as these beers are made without THC, they do not produce any psychoactive effects. Also, many peered reviewed studies on our website state those who consume CBD beers will still pass a drug test.
Celebrating Oregon Craft
Just as Boyle has formed relationships with craft hops farmers and craft distillers like Indio Spirits, he’s begun to cultivate similar relationships with craft cannabis farmers such as Yerba Buena and Cascade High Organics. These partnerships highlight the unique synergy that can be found within Oregon’s growing legalized recreational market.
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Take for example Oregon’s Fresh Hops season, the annual harvesting of Hops which occurs in early Fall. This harvest that happens to coincide at the same time that outdoor cannabis is harvested points to the unique attributes of this region as a place that can celebrate both cannabis and beer. Coalition partnered with Crosby Hops Farms and Boring Hemp Company to produce a beer first of its kind. This is one of the only regions geographically where brewers can get both fresh hops and cannabis that have been harvested less than three hours ago. This combination of freshness produces a singular product that cannot be found anywhere else.
Though CBD beer remains in its infancy, Boyle has hopes for the future. “I predict the CBD beer trend will continue as we get more into the market and people become more educated about CBD. We cannot tout overall benefits even though we strongly agree with them unless we are referencing a specific study.”