Beer brewers and cannabis enthusiasts are hyped over hash. For readers in states with conservative laws towards cannabis, it may be surprising to learn that they could be legally consuming a different type of hash in their favorite craft beers. Brewmasters have begun adding lupulin—or “hop hash,” a purified concentration of hop-derived oils—to their fermentations to pack a punch of aroma and flavor into every beer.
Similar to traditional cannabis hash, which is derived from the resin of the cannabis flower, hop hash is a potent concentration of the essential oils and resins needed to give some beers theirhoppy flavors and aromas. The lupulin that is pressed into hop hash is a green-yellow powder that collects at the base of hop cones, analogous to the kief pressed into hashish.
When hops are crushed in the pelletization process, lupulin gathers on the hammer mills – essentially a giant grinder for hops – much like cannabis resin and kief gather in a hand grinder. Brewers collect this hop dust and then press it into a pellet form for the sake of distribution and handling, resulting in hop hash.
Brewers use hop hash to effectively increase the hop content of their beer, without needing to add sizeable quantities of vegetal matter into the fermentation, which can produce undesired flavors.
Just as the concentrated hop hash is added to batches of beer to increase desired effects, while removing deleterious ones from too much plant matter, cannabis hash can be added to edibles in small concentrations to increase the effects of the edible.
That’s not the only similarity between hops and cannabis. If you enjoy India pale ales, for example, those different flavor profiles are created by terpenes native to the different hop varieties used in the beer like myrcene, humulene, or pinene.
With increasingly liberal attitudes towards cannabis becoming the norm, it will be interesting to see what other parallels emerge between cannabis and beer. From their markets to their cultivation processes, there is exciting potential for much more crossover between our favorite elixirs in the near future.