When hemp became legal to use in Australian foods in 2017, a number of brewers jumped at the chance to try it in beer. Young Henrys was one of them… but they weren’t going to rush it. They teamed up with Afends, an alternative clothing brand from Byron Bay leading the way in organic hemp fashion. They began their research, started developing a recipe, and ran pilot batches. Crushing hemps seeds? Didn’t work well. Soaking hemp seeds? Strike two. It wasn’t until they came upon water soluble hemp seed oil that the beer really came together.
Hemp and hops are related species and share some flavour and aroma compounds in common. The resulting beer is something both familiar and strange, with flavours you’re used to in an IPA, and yet a drinking experience that pokes at unexplored corners of your palate.
In the glass, it’s orange tinged with pink and looks like the dawn mist. The wafting stonefruit and orange blossoms rising to your nose match well with that colour, yet there’s also a less expected earthy and nutty aroma. This beer rolls into your mouth with a smooth, billowy texture brought about by the heavy oil content and inclusion of rolled wheat. The floral aromatics keep on coming, but on the tongue there's more of a sweet, peaches-from-the-can taste, tied in with a weighty bitterness. Complex layers of flavour from the hemp oil, the mix of hops and the use of hop hash reveal themselves to different palates in different ways: some people experience the grassy and herbal notes more than others; some, the deep, earthy resin; some, the zesty and sweet fruits.
To round it all off, the label design for this beer was knocked back a few times due to regulations around the depiction of cannabis, so in the end they put the Fun Police on the can, as well as on a bunch of merch from Afends.
Published November 1, 2018 2018-11-01 00:00:00