Thursday, January 24, 2013

Drinking hemp in Florida

Nectar Brewing's Humboldt Brown.
Nectar Brewing's Humboldt Brown. / Tim Dohms/News Journal correspondent
An article by Tim Dohms in the News Journal tells us they are drinking hemp in the Sunshine State!
There’s an elephant in the room that many are very reluctant to talk about. It’s a polarizing issue that you’re either for or against with very little middle ground. It’s been lionized and demonized as much as it’s been supported by logic, history, fact and the occasional comedy. Its name is cannabis.
Just typing that word, I can hear the conservative readers’ muscles tensing up.
Bear with me here. I’m not out to proselytize the virtues of marijuana; I don’t use the stuff. There is enough evidence available that shows that it does, indeed, have numerous medical benefits to those ailing from, say, cancer or AIDS or glaucoma.
We could go 12 rounds on the topic , but we’re not. This is, after all, a beer enthusiasts’ column, and I need to stick to topic.
To put a very fine point on the subject, I feel I need to remind the public that marijuana’s closest cousin, botanically speaking, is hops.
Before any parents get into a lather over little Johnny running out to score some whole-cone Cascade hops, let me reiterate that ganja and hops are from the same family — Cannabaceae — and not a narcotic unto themselves.
Brewers have a different approach to utilize non-THC hemp product, however, and that’s by using hemp seed as an ingredient. It makes sense; if one of beer’s main ingredients is related to that other plant, let’s see how they play together.
Nectar Brewing has just such a product called Humboldt Brown. It’s off-brown with red highlights around the edges and a tan head that leaves behind sticky lacing.
As a brown ale, all the classic scents are there: caramel malt, toasted nuts and a little toffee. What the hemp seed does is introduce a toasty, buttery note to the bready, cocoa-ish, light coffee-like flavors along with a slick and slippery texture. Just enough hops show up at the end to impart a twinge of bitterness to the finish.
A beverage this good should be illegal. Oh, wait … forget I said that.
Hopjacks Filling Station, 3101 E. Cervantes St., Hopjacks Pizza Kitchen and Taproom, 10 Palafox Place and 204 E. Nine Mile Road. 497-6073, or visit

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