Look what we managed to get our sticky pothead hands on: Ceria Brewing Co’s Grainwave Belgian-style White Ale, a THC-infused cannabis beer that was crafted by sir Keith Villa, the former brewmaster of Blue Moon. If you’ve been living under a rock, you may have missed that Villa left his post with MillerCoors earlier this year after 32 years with the company to get his hands into the cannabis game. The cannabis BEER game, that is.
Villa founded Ceria Brewing Co. with one thing in mind: to marry craft beer with cannabis. His first official foray into that space comes via the Grainwave Belgian-style White Ale, and it *supposedly* hit the shelves in Colorado in late December.
The reason I say supposedly is because we’ve been trying to get our hands on this beer since its release, but it’s been like hunting down a weed-beer unicorn. Every place we’ve contacted has either a.) not even been able to stock it, or b.) sold out of it before we could haul ass down there to pick it up. Luckily, we managed to get the kind folks at Durango Organics to alert us when they restocked Ceria, and it was only because of the solid they did us that we managed to get our hands on two – count ’em, TWO – 10-ounce bottles of this first release beer. We would have purchased more, but alas...the gods had other ideas. So two it was.
Ceria describes this beer as a “refreshing, medium-bodied ale brewed with blood orange peel and coriander and infused with THC for a new spin on a Belgian classic.” Some facts about this beer: The beer is de-alcoholized (as in had the alcohol removed) and then infused about 5 mg of fast-acting THC so the experience is more like drinking a beer than eating an edible. Or that’s the idea, anyway.
Both Sir Blaze Ridcully and I were super stoked to try this beer, so each of us took a bottle and decided to co-review this for you. I’ll go first.
My first thoughts on this beer were that it was reasonably priced at about $9 a bottle, and the bottle was really hefty. I was also digging the logo, which looked like a craft beer logo, but with a super discreet marijuana leaf crown thrown in for good measure.
I popped off the lid, took a huge swig, and braced myself for the lingering taste of cannabis that almost always comes with anything edible. I’ll tell you what. There was no cannabis taste anywhere in this equation. It was all beer, and I was STOKED. I’m not sure how Ceria did it – maybe limiting the infusion to 5 mg of THC was the trick – but if I didn’t know what I was drinking, I’d swear this was just a normal beer.
And, I do think “normal” is a good word for the taste. While I was stoked not to taste any weed, I was a bit surprised at how...normal this drink tasted. Blue Moon, while hardly a craft beer, does have a unique taste that says, “Hey, this is a Blue Moon.” Ceria does not. It tastes to me like a Michelob Ultra or a slightly spicier Corona. Inoffensive, clean, but not award-winning in terms of a taste twist on a beer. It’s just a beer.
I think that may have been a smart move, though. Keeping this beer streamlined to what one would think of when they pop open your status quo beer probably widens the market; I’d imagine a niche market like weed beer doesn’t need to be limited by adding peanut butter or something to it. This will certainly appeal to a much wider market of beer drinkers.
I asked a friend who was over to take a swig, and he said: “I don’t mind this. It’s like a watered down beer.” Normally that wouldn’t be a good thing, but when it comes to the land of edibles, which ALWAYS taste weed-y, getting as close to the taste as Ceria did is impressive. So, nice job on that, yo.
And, as I said above, Ceria markets this beer as having fast-acting THC in it, which should more mirror the experience of drinking a beer and getting that immediate buzzy effect. Ceria in its press release says it this way: The beer contains a “precise 5 mg doses of fast-acting THC with a similar onset time as alcohol.” Or, that’s the idea, anyway.
After allowing my friend one small taste, I downed this beer with the quickness. It was obviously pretty easy to drink, given its inoffensive taste. And then, I waited. And waited. And waited some more. This is the part where that 5 mg dosing, which is probably great for the taste, becomes less of a selling point. Your standard edible comes in a 10 mg dose, and we’re cutting it in half here with Ceria. If you’re a regular cannabis user, you’d have to drink two Ceria beers to get the dose one Wana gummy will give ya, and that doubles your beer price tag to $18. That’s a steep price for one sitting.
And, because we couldn’t get our hands on more than two beers and we split them, I felt nothing whatsoever from my one bottle. Nada. Zip. I was stone cold sober, which is what I’d be after one beer, I guess, but I wouldn’t pay $9 for one beer (or not a Michelob Ultra, anyway).
So for me, this Ceria biz is a novelty and I liked drinking it, but I wouldn’t fill my fridge with it. The dose is too low and the price tag is too high if you drink more than one to get to a regular THC dosage. But if you’re just starting out with edibles, hey. Maybe this is the way to go. It just ain’t it for me. I’ll just drink regular beer and smoke regular weed, thanks. That combo has been around since the dawn of man and it works every time. Why mess with perfection?
DGO PufnstufAs someone who is commonly referred to as a, and I quote, “weenie” when it comes to chugging a beer (though I do enjoy Blue Moon), there’s always a small bit of dread that comes hearing that I’ll have to taste test some brew – lame, I know. I felt particular trepidation from hearing that I would be trying Ceria Brewing Co’s Grainwave Belgian-style White Ale because 1.) I don’t enjoy edibles, and 2.) I couldn’t imagine that beer with a pungent weed aftertaste would taste very good.
Oh how wrong I was.
DGO Pufnstuf and I have been bothering the good folks at Durango Organics for several weeks now about getting our hands on some of these new beers, and they came through this week. As soon as we got the news, we rushed on over to their Suttle Street location in Durango. We’ve been keeping tabs on these beers in weed news and were aware of how they’ve been flying off the shelves.
The bottles came in these cool, recyclable metallic-looking bottles – the material we weren’t able to quite put our fingers on even after much Googling and debate. But mostly, I really dug the orange profile of a chick crowned in hops and marijuana leaves as their logo. My kinda gal.
When we finally got the chance to open our bottles and cheers one another, I was pleasantly surprised by the taste. As I mentioned, one of my complaints about edibles is the nearly inevitable weed taste, and I am happy to report that there is none of that with these Ceria brews.
I agree with my cohorts in their opinions that these beers taste like watered down Michelob Ultra with that orange peel aftertaste they referred to in their description, but I didn’t find that to be a turn off. On the contrary, it was an easy, smooth pour down the gullet. I think I was so relieved it didn’t taste like weed that I didn’t care that it didn’t taste like a painstakingly drafted beer on a craft beer throne with hints of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (not saying I would mind that though...). It was just an ordinary beer that you could crack open at the end of the day, but instead of making you tipsy, it makes you a little stoned. At least, I would assume so anyway, because within about one to two hours of downing this, I could not keep myself from passing out like an old drunk who didn’t make it to the front door and fell asleep in the front lawn.
As these bottles come in 5 mg doses, however, they’re right up my alley as far as tolerance goes when it comes to edibles. So, if you’re someone who’s used to the standard 10 mg doses and you want to get real baked, you’re going to have guzzle a few of these, which is actually a pretty smart ploy on Ceria’s part to get you to snag a couple extra.
Sir Blaze Ridcully