Article by Jonathan Shikes, Westword
Dad & Dudes Breweria created a huge buzz last year at the Great American Beer Festival when it introduced Sativa IPA, the first commercial beer made with cannabis oil. Although the hemp extract used in the beer isn’t the psychoactive kind — meaning it can’t get you high — people still lined up to try an ounce or two, based on curiosity, Colorado’s legal environment and pro-cannabis beliefs.
This year, the Parker brewery’s packaged-beer arm, Dudes Brews, will bring cannabis-infused beers back to the festival, October 6-8, in a big way, this time with a new name and plans to distribute them in Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska and other states. The line is called General Washington’s Secret Stash, which Dudes Brews says is a nod to our country’s “most famous cannabis-growing rebel leader.” (Washington, leader of the revolutionary forces, later grew cannabis for its textile uses.)
The spark? The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau gave Dad & Dudes the country’s first federal approval for a non-THC cannabis-infused beer. The process took about a year, says brewery co-owner Mason Hembree, since the TTB required a thorough analysis of the ingredients and the recipe before it would give formula approval for Dudes’ patent-pending process and its beer. (A spokesman for the TTB didn’t return calls seeking confirmation or comment.)
“It took forever,” Hembree says, adding that the brewery had to prove that there was no THC in the beer, submit it for a variety of lab testing, and explain the process and the source of the hemp.But the trouble is worth the effort, he explains, because Hembree is using the beer to make a point about the federal government and big pharmaceutical companies. He believes the government is aware of the possibility that cannabis could have medical benefits, but won’t allow it to be studied.