Beer + CBD = Good times?
Stevie Eats Out: E1 Brew Co - CBD Lager
In the last waves of the original lockdown, E1 Brew Co kindly sent me their latest creation, a CBD Lager, to get me through the slow summer days. It’s not every day a whole case of beer lands on your doorstep – especially a lager laced with a cannabinoid.
So instead of slamming straight into a solo session, I thought I would wait it out until I could share with a friend or two. Several weeks later (or months – I lost count) I found myself sitting opposite a friend in my living room. Almost dumb struck at the presence of a human that wasn’t born from my own gene pool sitting before me; it was nearly an hour in before I remembered I had the holy grail of beers sitting in my fridge. After all, “a friend in need’s a friend indeed, but one with weed is better’, as the song goes.
I did hear somewhere that, “a joint a day keeps the doctor away. But if you do, you’ll probably never leave the house again from all the paranoia.”
What is CBD?
But this isn’t weed. And for all those who aren’t in the know; CBD is an essential component of medical marijuana. It is derived directly from the hemp plant, which is a cousin of the marijuana plant. Another essential part of the plant is THC, which is the illegal stuff that gets you high-school high. In comparison, CBD is the healing half of the plant. The THC is the harming half. In layman’s terms, by absorbing the legal CBD strain you’re getting all the good stuff of marijuana without all the mental side effects.
Putting all stoner jokes and science lessons to one side, I find it quite exciting to think that all the medicinal goodness of marijuana could be infused into an everyday drink. If it's legal, and good for you, why not? Especially if it works for you. There’s a science to it apparently, and nearly 11% of UK adults used a CBD product in the last year. And that number is growing year on year: the market is currently worth over £300 million. And that’s just in the United Kingdom.
Too much CBD out there already?
But I have mixed opinions on CBD. I feel that the market is overrun with nameless brands. They all seem to promote themselves with confusing mumbo-jumbo numbers and impossibly positive side effects. Sometimes it comes across as hocus pocus or beach-bum chat, and I feel until one of the big brands comes along and takes ownership of this infusion, I don’t feel the trend will ever reach the pinnacle of mass market. I hope it does though, don’t get me wrong. I’m not totally against legalisation but I can’t see a Diet Coca-Cola mixed with CBD selling anytime soon. I highly doubt it’ll happen before 2030. If ever.
There is a famous story about how in the summer of 1929, a shoe-shine boy gave Joe Kennedy stock tips, and Kennedy, being a wise old investor thought, “If shoe-shine boys are giving stock tips, then it’s time to get out of the market.” The next day Joe Kennedy sold all of his stocks and made a killing. Which was the beginning of the fortune that made JFK president three decades later.
I am still unsure whether this story holds true for the growing CBD market.
I believe the trend has been ‘taking off’ for a good few years now. With more and more friends admitting they use oils and potions sparingly for daily anxiety needs, and celebrities coming out of the woodwork saying they swear by the stuff, CBD is wavering around the cool crews of mainstream. Found on many of the shelves in major supermarkets and littered all over social media feeds. From pen and pipettes, to papers and pills, it seems you can pump CBD into anything.
So back to E1 Brew Co... have they got it right?
And with that in mind, E1 Brew Co have decided to be one of the first to market with a lager infused with CBD. The concept is clearly what the people want, at least in East London, and the next step in the evolution of alcoholic cans of cannabinoid-based drinks.
E1 Brew Co's CBD Lager
“Love the brand already. Even the touch of the can feels ooOooo.”
My friend harks upon reading the label a few times over while rolling the smoothed design around his hands. Sparks of conversations about micro-dosing ensue, then a debate on the normalising of casual post-work drinking in Britain compared to out-of-office drug use in Berlin. And finally, crucially, bets on how many beers can we could sink in an hour.
Finally, the click’n’fizz of the can opening and the all-important first sip finally happens. He decants into a clear pint glass, takes another gentle sip and stares for a second. Confusing looks back at the can, to the glass, to the can, and back to the glass again. As if a cartoon bear had just been duped into swiping a fake picnic basket. A nod, a solemn, warm nod. A moment is taken, with his eyes still closed another sip is performed. A larger gulp this time round. A long second or two of silence. Suddenly a sharp thumbs up confirms the review. He is pleasantly pleased and within moments Shakespearean prose and deep conversation blooms. I think.
My friend begins with a perfect quote;
“Super dry - but in a good way. A short punch in flavour.”
The next couple of hours are hazy. Thankfully I made several tasting notes, the only legible notes are intentionally unedited listed below;
“A nice pale colour. Nice haze to it.”
“I can kinda taste the CBD in it, but subtle, nothing obvious.”
“Niiice bitterness at the end of the note.”
In their website crib notes they note their concoction is ‘a crisp lager crammed full of tropical fruit and citrus flavours with a balanced bitterness and a hint of CBD.’ Which handily hits the nail on the head. All in all – a good way to get a dose of the good stuff without breaking any laws, puffing a dodgy vape or being a mad scientist in a backstreet lab. Put simply, it’s a great day beer with a gentle added buzz. But I feel my friend summed up the experience in one crisp sentence;
“The kinda beer you’d want after a long hot day of doing nothing.”
*a small thank you to WC the ‘self-confessed beer boy’ for helping me review this lager.