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A beer for your buds: Redhook introduces hemp-infused brew

You might do a double-take in the beer aisle of your favorite store: I did when I saw Redhook's Joint Effort, an ale flavored with hemp seeds. (KIRO Radio/Chris Sullivan)

The state will start taking applications for marijuana businesses next month, and the public can now celebrate the official launching of the legal marijuana industry with a beer made especially for pot lovers.

You might do a double-take in the beer aisle of your favorite store: I did when I saw Redhook’s Joint Effort, an ale flavored with hemp seeds.

It hit shelves last week.

I was unaware it was legal to produce a hemp beer – it is- and Redhook teamed with Ballard’s Hilliard’s brewery to produce this Joint Effort, (play on words intentional.)

“It’s really brewed to be somewhat irreverent, which is kind of Redhook’s style,” said senior brewmaster Matt Licklider.

“We thought this was a great opportunity to say, ‘Hey, we live in Washington, and this is legal to do, so we’re going to do something that celebrates that.'”

Licklider and the other brewers had never worked with hemp seeds, so there was a lot of trial and error.

“We honestly got a big bag of them, didn’t have any idea of how much to add or any idea what flavors they would impart, and just started throwing them in our mouths and chewing them,” he said.

What they came up with, Licklider said, was a dubious collaboration between two buds. Again, that was intentional.

“We wanted it to have a dank, hop aroma that is very reminiscent for someone who is a marijuana user and really just play on that tie of the hemp and that aroma to the celebration of that law,” he said.

I was a little concerned picking up this beer because hemp can contain THC, the same ingredient that powers marijuana, but Licklider said you don’t have to worry.

“The beer and the hemp seeds are certified THC free, so if you have a concern that you have a job that has some drug testing or something like that, you’re certainly not going to test positive by drinking the beer or by consuming hemp seeds,” said Licklider.

Redhook unveiled the beer at select brew pubs a few months ago. It was poured from a tap handle shaped like a bright yellow bong. It is now available in 22-ounce bottles. It will be available for as long as the public keeps buying it.

Joint Effort is only available in Washington. Its alcohol content is 5.6 percent, so it’s not too strong. As Redhook said, it’s the perfect brew for hanging with your buds and grabbing some munchies.

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