DEVON - Drinkers will be saying cheers to a spliffing new beer – cannabis ale. The beer is made from hemp leaves grown on a farm in Totnes, Devon – and is perfectly legal. The odd brew is the brainchild of Giles Hawkins, landlord of the Albert Inn in Totnes who is aiming to produce 54 gallons of the nee ale in time for the pub’s beer festival next month. He is asking the public to come up with a name for the brew because “everything I can think of sounds a bit illegal."
Giles is using barley, hops, a kilo of hemp leaves, yeast and water to brew the ale at his microbrewery behind the pub. He said the cannabis beer will have a "light colour and quite citrusy to the palate." He said the hemp being grown has a very low TCH – the chemical that gives the illegal drug its kick. Giles, 45, has had a crafty taste of the beer and said: "It is what I hoped it would be. It has a light colour, a citrus taste on the palate and a dry finish. “It is four per cent proof, so middle of the road and it will cost £3 a pint. I will see how successful it is before deciding whether to brew some more.
He has 360 pints brewing at the moment but is ready to get another batch on the go if the punters sup it and like it. “I have had a couple of suggestions for names including ‘ganja’ and ‘Mary Jane’ – Jamaican terms for marijuana as well as Hey Ho – a combination of a name for hemp and hops.”
The Albert Inn publican in the eco friendly town of Totnes, Devon, said he has not had any contact with the police or local council officials over his new ale ‘so far’ but "I am anticipating some comments."
Giles, who has run the pub for seven years, brews all his own beers and said, "The hemp is from the same family as the hops. “It’s all legal. It is Government certificated. The chap who is growing the hemp has all the necessary certificates.” Giles is launching his spliffing ale at his October beer festival which has a rock and roll theme early next month. “All the other ales are my beer too.”
Giles checked out the Home Office paperwork and the grower’s cannabis cultivation licence showing that the hemp has 0.2% TCH – the chemical that provides the illegal kick in cannabis joints. He said he had brewed this first ever cask bitter "because it is a local product and I like using local products – and it’s Totnes.”
And did his cannabis ale provide a kick like a cigarette joint, his answer was "nothing at all.' But he is still keen on finding an appropriate name for the brew.
North Devon Journal/September 14, 2014
Legal Cannabis Ale To Be Featured At Upcoming Octoberfest in Devon