Review: We Tried Heineken’s New Weed “Beer”

As marijuana legalizations sweeps the US, we’ve seen a proliferation of cannabis products. Not only vapes and edibles of every imaginable kind, but also salves, soaks and even suppositories. We here at Craft Sense are most excited by products that incorporate our other favorite stuff: coffee, chocolate and beer. Our friends over at Somatik make some great cannabis-infused products like cold brew and “sparks” (chocolate covered espresso beans). We’ve tried some CBD-infused beers in Portland that have been good, but most laws prohibit mixing alcohol and THC in the same product. So while we may never get a true weed beer, a new product has taken us very close. On July 30th, Lagunitas’, a Heineken-owned brewery in California, released Hi-Fi Hops a cannabis “beer” with THC.

Don’t Call It Beer

It’s not really beer, though. As the can states, it’s a “cannabis-infused hoppy sparkling water”. And that’s exactly what it tastes like. Not in a bad way, but it tastes exactly like an ever-so-slightly-hopped plain La Croix with a hint of sweetness. So folks expecting something more beer-like will be likely be disappointed. Although a bit thin, the drink is refreshing overall and provides decent dosage. Although we are by no means hop heads, we feel that the hoppiness could definitely have been dialed up. As is, the hops are barely perceptible. The name”Hi-Fi Hops” seems to suggest a bold hoppiness. So does the name Lagunitas, as their name is synonymous with their West Coast IPA that has been distributed across the world since they first sold half their company to Heineken in 2015 (they sold the rest of it in 2017).

ABX Collaboration

The cannabis contained in the Hi-Fi Hops, is produced by Absolute Xtracts. This means its the same, high-quality, California sun-grown cannabis we know from their vape and gel cap products. This helps compensate for the fact that this a Heieneken product, in our view. The other ingredients (aside from the hops, water and cannabis) are stevia, yeast and olive oil.

Two versions of the Hi-Fi Hops were released simultaneously. The silver canned, “1:1”, contains 5mg of THC and 5mg of CBD and The purple canned “10mg”  contains 10mg of THC. Both have similar tastes and the only difference seems to be in the strength. The 1:1 is pretty mild effects-wise. This is not only because of the lower THC content, but also due to the fact that it contains CBD, which normally counteracts the effects of THC.  Interestingly, however, the 10mg of ABX THC seems definitely a lot lighter than the 10mg contained in their gel cap products, which can often pack a real punch.

Marin County Roots

We do give credit to Heieneken for venturing into this territory, albeit via Lagunitas. Lagunitas is based in Marin County, California, home to the Grateful Dead and other famous stoners. Lagunitas already has an hommage to the cannabis culture of their home region with their Waldo’s Special Ale. This beer, although cannabis-free, takes its name from the local high schoolers who coined the term 420. Apparently the dankness of the hops gives it weed-like characteristics, which works because hops and cannabis are two very closely related plants. Waldo’s Special weighs in at “100+” IBUs, which is a very far cry from the barely-there hoppiness of Hi-Fi Hops. Don’t get us wrong, we’re not fans of enormously hoppy beers either, but as mentioned we’d be happy for a few more hops in this one.

To be clear, we normally would avoid Heineken-owned products, but given the novelty of this product type, we had to try it! Overall, it’s a decent healthier alternative to sugary cannabis sodas, but comes up pretty short on the flavor.