Any self respecting TreeHugger knows all about the virtues of hemp, but did you know it has also been put to use in alcoholic beverages? And no, it doesn't add any extra euphoric attributes, over and above what are normally ascribed to alcohol.
Given that hemp (Cannabis sativa) and hops (Humulus lupulus) are sister species from the same family -- Cannabinaceae -- it should come as no real surprise that hemp beer exists. But wine, vodka, brandy, rum and cider? Yep, them too.Hemp is a fast growing, stalk-like crop, that doesn't require much in the way of pesticides of herbicides. It's an excellent textile fibre, building material, fuel, plastic and much more.
But it should be noted that hemp seeds also yield a remarkably nutritious food stuff. They contain all the so-called Essential Amino Acids (EAA's) as well as being rich in Essential Fatty Acids (EFA's), particularly Omega 3 and Omega 6. Not to mention being high in magnesium and having the highest levels of digestable and absorbable globulin protein, very similar to that found in human bloood plasma. Not bad going for a plant often considered a weed.
Sometimes the hemp might simply be used a filtration membrane to help produce beer. But for other brews, the hemp seeds are toasted to invigorate ales with what the Fermenting Revolution describe as "nutty, earthy and creamy characteristics." Some, like Cannabia, pictured above, are even organic.
For Cannabis Vodka, the seeds are left swimming around at the bottom of the bottle. Though we're not entirely sure what nutritional benefit might be derived from hemp seeds marinated in 40% (by volume) alcohol?
The French hemp wine, under the brand Chanvrin, appears to come in white, red, rose and sparkling.
Hemp fruit brandy CannaWillams is made with hemp and fermented Willams pears.
Hemp rum, which sports a real hemp flower in every bottle, is available from a German company Hanf Zeit (Hemp Time), who also offer a hemp rooibos tea!
Speaking of tea, C-ICE Swiss Cannabis Ice Tea is made of black tea with 5% hemp bloom syrup, and 0.0015% hemp bloom extract, for those who want a different sort of pick-me-up.
We didn't find out much about the Hemp cider except for some images.
Tracking down vendors of such beverages wasn't easy, but try these guys for starters: (No doubt our readers know of other sources.)
The US's Liquorama suggest they will arrange international shipping for the likes of Hemp Ale, which was once from Humboldt Brewing, but now comes via Firestone. And we notice that Bevmo even sell a 15.5 gallon (59 litre) keg of sister brewery Nectar Ales' Hemp Ale.
The United Kingdom's Ethical Superstore carry a fridge full of green drinks, which happen to include the aforementioned organic hemp beer, Cannabia
Hempworld have a listing by few direct links to a host of hemp beverages and related nibblies in their Hemp Hotel collection.
Valchanvre of Switzerland have a small line of hemp wines.
HanfblÃ¼te Bier is a German beer that utilises hemp leaves and flowers
Homegrown Hemp Ale is said to be "a cream ale-style brew with a luxurious, mouth feel from the toasted hemp seeds." It is produced by C'est What, a microbrewery restaurant in Toronto, Canada, who also sell through a few other select outlets.
Millennium Buzz Beer, is a hemp-based red lager, from Cool Beers, who also happen to be in Toronto.
Another Canadian hemp beer is the Fumisterier (Smoke screen), which hails from micro brewery of Dieu du ciel, in MontrÃ©al, QuÃ©bec. "Organic hemp seeds incorporated during the brewing process give it a unique and original taste."
Canna Cola, of Germany make, as the name implies, a carbonated drink, with Cannabis sativa, a.k.a. hemp, but without phosphoric acid, aspartame, cyclamate or saccharine.
photo credit: mostly found at the above linked resources.