In July, the Minnesota legislature changed the rules surrounding THC (the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana) derived from locally grown hemp.
It limited the amount of THC that could be included in a product, and in doing so opened the market to edibles and drinks containing regular THC, or Delta 9. Delta 8 THC, which produces a different kind of buzz, had somehow slipped through the cracks of a previous farm bill, and that’s what the legislators were trying to regulate.
This all goes a long way to get to the point of this article, which is that fully legal THC-infused drinks are spreading like wildfire in the Twin Cities. All the THC must come from hemp, which is different from regular cannabis but has the same effect when concentrated.
Local breweries have joined the fray, each offering their own version of a non-alcoholic, THC-infused drink. Although a few THC drinks are available in markets in other states where marijuana is legal, the number of locally produced drinks in the Twin Cities is unheard of.
These drinks vary in flavor, but many are seltzer, much like the La Croix trend or other sparkling waters, and few taste like marijuana.
Gruff owner Omar Ansari said the Minneapolis brewery held back after the first law change because he was unsure of the regulations surrounding the production of THC drinks.
“But it seemed after a little while that he was open for business, that those drinks were fair game,” Ansari said.
Ansari said they have younger staff who know and are interested in these products, so they decided to go into the market.
He said he thought the drinks were spilling for many reasons. Some people want a little relaxation without the calories or the hangover. And sometimes, when non-drinkers are with drinkers, it’s nice to have an alternative.
“What I found out is that it really is a social product,” Ansari said. “Other forms of THC are not necessarily as social. You can hang out with friends and not want beer. As the stigma and wrongfulness disappear, it’s another way to be social with others.
After sampling a few of these drinks (reviews below), I can confirm that the effects kick in faster than the usual time or it takes for the edibles to enter your bloodstream. After about 15 minutes, a bit of relaxation and euphoria begin to set in. I recommend sipping slowly to help you control the dosage, especially for new users. That’s a good thing about drinks – you can have a little at a time, as opposed to a candy or a chocolate, which you eat at the same time and you don’t know how it will affect you until , well, that is the case.
Once you get the hang of it, these drinks can provide similar benefits to a beer or two without the negative effects.
It’s hard to deny the effects that regular alcohol consumption can have on a body.
“Sometimes I look at a Furious (Surly’s most famous beer) and think, ‘Do I really want to do 20 more minutes on a Peloton?'” Ansari said.
For Bauhaus Brew Labs owner and president Matt Schwandt, drinking is no longer an option, so he hoped at some point the brewery would be able to break into the drinkable THC market.
“I personally haven’t had an alcoholic drink in over five years, but I’ve used THC,” said Schwandt, who suffered an attack of acute pancreatitis that left him unable to drink. “We had done trials on a CBD drink that we hadn’t marketed, so we were ready for that.”
Schwandt said he couldn’t have predicted the number of local breweries suddenly producing their own drinks.
“It became a very competitive category very quickly,” he said. “We knew there would be competition, but there is more than we expected.”
Surly and Bauhaus each have a flavor right now: lime. But they each plan to add more soon – Surly a berry and Arnie Palmer flavor, and Bauhaus a terpene-infused version, the flavor profile found in hops and cannabis, which are cousins. And Bauhaus is planning lower seltzer at 2.5 mg in response to consumer demands.
Both owners say caution is advised when consuming THC. Don’t drive, do it when you have a clear night with no responsibilities and don’t mix it with alcohol.
Most of the breweries selling the products do not allow their consumption on the premises, as they do not want to encourage the mixing of the two drinks. No one knows if drinking them at a brewery is actually legal either.
In fact, Ansari and Schwandt were surprised by the lack of oversight of these products in general. Schwandt is among a group of manufacturers who plan to advocate for additional legislation regulating THC products.
“We would like laws to ensure hemp-derived suppliers can be inspected and licensed,” Schwandt said. “Right now anyone can get into the game. The product can be inferior, dangerous. We want regulation so that our suppliers can be inspected and establish themselves as reputable suppliers. »
Until then, these drinks provide a new option for socializing, relaxing, and even relieving pain, as many people with chronic health conditions have said.
Most of the drinks listed below are available in the brewery dining room and some are available in retail stores.
If you have any questions, call the brewery or visit the manufacturer’s website.
So many of these drinks came out so quickly that I couldn’t try them all, but I’ve listed the ones I’ve tried and the ones I know of if you’re interested in other options.
Expect to pay around $5 per can or serving, but prices vary depending on dosage and brewery.
TWO GOOD, ACTUALLY BREWING
Indeed was one of the first to bring these drinks to market, and their lemon and lavender flavored seltzer water is the lowest dose at 2mg. It is also one of the tastiest. The lemon flavor is sharp and refreshing, and a hint of lavender is meant to mimic the grassy character of cannabis. This is a great product for beginners as 2mg is unlikely to make someone too intoxicated.
Indeed brewing: 11 15th Ave, NE, Minneapolis; 612-843-5090; indeedbrewing.com
TRAIL MAGIC HOP WATER, MINNEAPOLIS CIDER CO.
Minneapolis Cider Co. also jumped on the infused beverage bandwagon early and now offers three flavors. When I went looking for the 3mg Hop Water was the only one available. They also have a 3mg berry flavor and a 5mg half iced tea/half lemonade flavor. The hop water didn’t have enough hop flavor for me, but it did provide a nice, smooth buzz, so I’d be interested in trying the other types.
Minneapolis Cider Co.: 701 Ninth St. SE, Minneapolis; 612-886-1357; findtrailmagic.com
TAKE FIVE, BREWING SURLY
Crisp, clean, lemony and at 5mg per can, stronger than some of the others, Surly’s version of the THC drink tastes very similar to the more popular lime flavored seltzer. I drank mine for a few hours and it relaxed me so much that I went to bed early and slept like a rock. I woke up super refreshed too.
Surly Brewing: 520 Malcolm Ave. SE, Minneapolis; 763-999-4040; surlybrewing.com
YUZU GINGER BLNCD
This Minneapolis company has been in the CBD game for a while now, selling CBD-infused drinks, so this was an easy jump into the THC market. Their seltzer flavors are definitely the most interesting of the bunch – yuzu/ginger, strawberry basil, and blood orange cardamom – and they taste great too. It’s also 5mg, so drink with caution.
BLNCD: Order online at blncdnaturals.com
TETRA, BAUHAUS BREW LABS
Bauhaus Lemon-Lime Seltzer Water 5mg is clean and refreshing, and packs about the same punch as Surly’s Take Five. In a few weeks they will also have a grapefruit version and in early December they will offer a hop water flavor and a lower dosage option which they will call Tetra Lyte.
BAUHAUS BREW LABORATORIES: 1315 Tyler St. NE, Minneapolis; 612-276-6911; bauhausbrewlabs.com
KITE SODA, BURNING BROS. BREWING
This 10mg soda (there are citrus, ginger ale, and root beer flavors) is one of the few products on the market with significant calories, but you’re probably not drinking more than a half -pint, so always better than a few. beers. A Burning Bros. employee. recommended I make a float with the root beer, so I split a pint into two portions and made a float for me and one for a friend. We agreed that the effects were less than some of the other drinks we tried, and I don’t know why. Still, the float was delicious and the root beer tastes like root beer.
Brewing Burning Bros. : 1750 W. Thomas Ave., St. Paul; 651-444-8882; kitesoda.com
OTHER DRINKS WE HAVE NOT (YET) TRIED
Canna Blissed, Dangerous Man: This northeast brewery sells its drink by the crow, which is 750mg and comes in three servings at 4.5mg each. It is a sparkling water Passion Fruit, Orange and Guava.
Dangerous man: 1300 Second St. NE, Minneapolis; 612-236-4087; dangermanbrewing.com
High & Dry, Eastlake Craft Brewery: The Midtown Global Market brewery offers Lemon and Passionfruit flavors, both of which contain 5mg per can.
Eastlake Craft Brewery: 920 Lake St. E., Minneapolis; 612-666-0422; eastlakemgm.com
Wld Wtr, Wild Mind Ales: Sparkling water infused with pineapple, orange, cherry and 5mg THC.
Wild Mind Ales: 6031 Pillsbury Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-286-1777; wildmindales.com
Clr!ty: This Shoreview-based company offers 5 or 10 mg cans of seltzer in flavors ranging from blue raspberry to mango. Find them in-store or online at seekclrty.com