April 20 is a day to toast and get toasted, if you work for a brewery. Brewers honor the date — which is known as 420, the high holiday for marijuana users — with pot-punny beer names, especially for IPAs.
You see, cannabis and hops are relatives, and both get their flavors and aromas from compounds called terpenes. That’s why brewers like to describe super-hoppy IPAs the way that they might talk about marijuana: “dank,” “resinous,” “sticky.” There are also hazes, a style of beer that has an opaque appearance, like juice — but also the name for a family of cannabis strains. There’s a lot to work with there.
We tried seven beers in the video above that you could share with your buds on April 20. Some of the names are pretty, uh, blunt. There’s Founders Brewing’s Redankulous, and Wicked Weed Brewing’s Lieutenant Dank, a nod to the film “Forrest Gump.” Stone’s Enjoy by 4.20.18, a beer brewed specifically to be drunk on or before April 20, is described as “devastatingly dank” on its can. Sweetwater’s 420 claims to be named after a never-built interstate in Atlanta, but we all know what it really means. And Purple Haze by Abita is an ode to Jimi Hendrix’s most famous song, as well as a famous strain of cannabis.
Others are a little more obscure. Stillwater’s Tangerine Haze doesn’t have any weed jokes on its label, but it’s a reference to another strain of cannabis. And Lagunitas’ Waldos’ Special Ale, as my colleague Fritz Hahn wrote last year, is a tribute to “a group of 1970s high school students in San Rafael, Calif., who regularly met at 4:20 p.m. to search for a rumored nearby patch of potent plants” and who are responsible for the “holiday.” “The body is full, sweet and sticky — ‘the stickiest of the icky,’ you might say.”
None of these beers contain cannabis, because federal law prohibits brewers from mixing weed and alcohol. But some brewers are experimenting with nonalcoholic beers that are infused with cannabidiol, which lacks the psychotropic qualities of cannabis. And the inventor of the popular beer Blue Moon is launching alcohol-free beer infused with THC, the compound in marijuana that gets you high. According to USA Today, the beer is “designed to mimic the effects of booze. Its developers say the drink will ‘hit’ the user at the same pace as if they were drinking a beer,” which is important to note, because edible cannabis can usually take as much as an hour to kick in.
The company aims to have the beers on shelves this fall — but only in states where marijuana is legal. In other states, you’ll just have to pick up a six-pack of Lieutenant Dank.
More from Voraciously: