Any major hophead will tell you: Beer sometimes smells like marijuana. And as nationwide acceptance for marijuana grows, more and more breweries seem to be pushing the limits of promoting the natural similarities between beer and pot.
Colorado’s Oskar Blues knows a bit about legal marijuana, being that their headquarters are located in a state that’s become one of America’s top pot experiments. The brewery has decided to couple that growing trend with another big beer fad, the session IPA, to create a low-ABV beer that smells of—and is also marketed around—weed.
Pinner Throwback IPA is a 4.9 percent ABV IPA that’s being touted not only for its drinkability but also its dry-hopped aroma that gives wafts of weed-like smells. Though no actual pot is used in the brewing process, owner Dale Katechis explained to The Cannabist, “The cannabis plant and flower and the hop flower, they’re both in the family of cannabaceae, and the aromas are very similar.”
The brewery took that fact and ran with it. A pinner is slang for a small joint, referencing not only the aroma but also the beer’s low ABV (any beer under 5 percent ABV is typically considered “sessionable”), And not content with being subtle, the can is also labeled with the pun “Can I be blunt?” and marketed as a “perfect beer for a little sip, sip, give.”
The brew is supposedly set for national distribution on March 1, which means Oskar Blues also seems to taking advantage of another trend: a continued loosening of the restrictions imposed by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.
The TTB, as it is called, has final say on all beer labels that are intended for distribution beyond state borders. In the past, the government group has been pretty strict about nixing drug references. Lagunitas famously felt their wrath, deciding to change one of their beer names to “Censored” after “The Kronik” was deemed inappropriate. But as beer writer Joe Sixpack pointed out last year, “Expect to see fewer of those objections as more states move toward legalization.”
Oskar Blues's latest brew certainly pushes the limits. They can be blunt, indeed.