“As it is a beer brewed with Cannabis Sativa, the time was right to re-launch,” says Michael McBride, owner of STORM BREWING. Their Hemp Ale has been on a decade-long hiatus until now.
If you don’t remember the beer, you probably remember the label. The classic retro label will be back too, featuring a pot leaf emblem surrounded by grain, in colours of green, red, and gold.
Storm’s Hemp Ale was first brewed in 1998, after going through “six months of bureaucracy” to be able to package and sell it.
From there, Hemp Ale became one of STORM’s standard offerings. “We brewed it more than 50 times through September 2006,” says McBride.
“But hemp seeds became difficult to source in North America during the Bush presidency, thus creating a stigma related to all things cannabis.”
Hemp Ale is brewed using water, malted barley, imported hops, yeast, and hemp seeds. McBride says the beer is light and refreshing, with a balanced, earthy, and mellow flavour that has a nutty and herbal aftertaste.
While it’s the only beer of its kind in the province, STORM isn’t the first place to brew with hemp. Hemp beers can be found worldwide, and use various methods to infuse the beer with hemp products such as seeds. Seeds are important later in the process, for flavoring.
“For the current brew, we sourced quality hemp seeds from a farm in Ontario,” says McBride. “We used our original proprietary recipe and we are really pleased with the result.”
For those who have had their marijuana curiosity piqued with the recent changes in the prohibition laws, be aware that any “high” a hemp ale provides will be your typical beer buzz: the beer contains no THC.
The beverage is currently available on draught at the Ship Pub (where its original run was available) and the QuidiVidi Tap Room (15 Barrows Road). You can also find it in a limited bottle release at select NLC and convenience stores in St. John’s, in the brewery’s usual non-industry standard 650ml bottles, as well as in six-packs.
For over two decades, STORM has been a brewer of traditional British style and specialty ales, and have remained independently owned and operated. Overall, the brewer has succeeded at being good, small, and independent.
“Having been brewing for over 20 years and having traveled around the world visiting all kinds of breweries, it’s interesting to see the current boom here at home,” says McBride.
In light of the recent growth of the province’s craft beer market, it doesn’t appear that STORM is planning on changing course. And it remains to be seen if Hemp Ale is back for good, or if it’s a limited run.
“Not sure about the future of Storm Weed Beer,” says McBride. “But we like it, and we brew what we like!”