Friday November 4, 2016

By Samantha Lyn Chan

420 Culture

Beer is great. Bud is great. Beer and bud together? Mind-blowing! Believe it or not, beer and marijuana are a match made in heaven (when used in moderation, of course). Gone are the days of mass-produced canned beer and low-grade marijuana ruling the streets of America. It’s 2016 and both industries have become extremely popular, hand-crafted, and gourmet over the recent years making a pairing event ever so appealing to the educated beer and cannabis enthusiast.

Below, we break down the flavor essentials of both marijuana and beer, as well as suggest pairings for 5 popular brews: IPAs, fruity beers, malt beers, pilsners, and sour ales. Each beer is unique and differs greatly from another, not dissimilar to the suggested weed strains.

This means that a better understanding of the specific notes and flavors of both products is very important. Once you get a better understanding of how and why certain flavors work together, have some fun with it and mix and match until you find your ultimate pairing!

Taste Basics

To get a better idea of why and how beer and marijuana pair together, we need to examine the flavor profiles of both.

  • Marijuana Flavors: To begin, each marijuana strain owes its unique flavor to its terpenes, the organic compounds found in weed that give it its flavor. Some marijuana boasts a forest-y/piney flavor while some lead with a strong citrus zing. Both of these examples are due to terpenes. Pinene is a terpene with a forest-forward note, while limonene is the terpene with a citrusy punch. Both will pair best with different types of beers.

    When choosing your bud, take a big whiff to interpret the smells and notes emitting from the herb in order to access the terpene/flavor profile. You can also ask your budtender about the product’s terpenes if you’re unsure.

  • Beer Flavors: Now, onto the beer side of things. Beer owes its flavor profile to many types of ingredients including hops (responsible for beer’s bitterness), yeast (beer’s fermented flavor), and grains like malt (responsible for sweetness) – just to name a few. In addition to that, many craft beer companies are going beyond the basic and adding additional fruit notes like watermelon, orange, and apple.

Since beer is legal in all states, the industry is much broader than cannabis. This means that many more beer flavor options and easy consumer availability equal pairings with weed that are much more fun and creative.

5 Beer + Bud Pairing Suggestions

1) IPA Pairings

Must Try: OG Kush + Lagunitas IPA

Forest-forward or “piney” weed flavors found in strains like OG Kush go well with IPAs. IPAs are heavy in hops and when combined with a piney weed, the flavors join forces to form a bitter yet aromatic party in your mouth. It’s an earthy and deep flavored experience.

Lagunitas IPA

Lagunitas IPA

2) Fruit-Infused Beer Pairings

Must Try: Maui Waui + Pineapple Sculpin

Maui Waui is a classic sativa strain with both floral and tropical notes -- pineapple to be specific. A fun way to highlight the pineapple flavor is by pairing it with a pineapple-flavored beer. We like Pineapple Sculpin, an IPA fermented with pineapples to enhance the tropical hop notes in Sculpin.  

Ballast Point Pineapple Scuplin

Ballast Point Pineapple Sculpin

3) Malt Pairings

Must Try: Sour Diesel + St. Bernardus Abt 12

When smoking a citrusy, sour strain like sour diesel, it’s great to pair it with a sweet, malty beer. The sweetness from the beer gets a nice, well-rounded added punch of flavor from the sourness of the weed. The two tastes come together for a satisfying sweet and sour flavor combination that many enjoy.

St Bernardus Abt 12

The legendary Abt 12

4) Pilsner Pairings

Must Try: Super Silver Haze + Summit Pilsener

The Pilsner brew is extremely popular thanks to its easy-to-enjoy light body and clean taste. It pairs well with a clean tasting bud like Super Silver Haze. This strain gives off a smell of freshly cut pine wood and when paired with a refreshing Pilsner, the tastes combine to form a light, mild experience.  

Summit Pilsener

Summit Pilsener

5) Sour Beer Pairings

Must Try: Your Favorite Bud + Tart Lychee

Choose your destiny with a sour beer. Sour beers pair easily with almost ALL types of weed. A well-known side effect to smoking marijuana is the all-too-common ‘cotton mouth’. While your body and mind might be feeling great, your mouth is sticking onto itself like the Gobi Desert. Obviously, you want to reach for a refreshing glass of water but this time around, opt for a sour beer instead. The sour flavors in this type of beer promote salivation so it’s both delicious and refreshing. Try sour and sour for added kick, sweet and sour for complex flavors, or even piney notes with sour beer for a crazy combination of earthy and punchy.

Tart Lychee

Tart Lychee

If wine is more your style, weed and wine go together just as fabulously.


No matter which type of beer (or bud) floats your boat, remember to consume responsibly.

Have you tried pairing your favorite strain with beer? Let us know what pairing you like in the comments!

Photo Credit: Wil Stewart


Samantha Lyn Chan Samantha Lyn Chan Samantha is a Colorado native, freelance writer, travel enthusiast -- and one of PotGuide's newest contributors. She's often fascinated by the changing shifts in cannabis culture and satisfies the desire for continued trendspotting by exploring, writing, and diving in head first in the cannabis community. You can find her typing away at a local coffee shop, jetting off to the airport, or updating her blog and website: talesfromthecafe.com and schanwriter.com, respectively.


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