Release New Belgium Brewing Announces The Hemperor HPA

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by Jason, Mar 23, 2018.

  1. Jason

    Jason Founder (8,141) Aug 23, 1996 Massachusetts

    (FORT COLLINS) The next big thing in hoppy beer is here. Say hello to The Hemperor HPA. New Belgium Brewing’s new year-round release offers a mystical marriage of hops and hemp that fills the senses with a ground-breaking blend of herbal olfactory like no other beer on the market.

    “Let’s face it, brewers have been trying to get cannabis-like aromas from hops for years, but it’s always missing a certain something,” said Ross Koenigs, New Belgium’s Research and Development Brewer. “The Hemperor HPA is possibly the first beer to deliver meaningful hemp flavors and aromas.”

    The Hemperor HPA showcases the game-changing union of hops and hemp, plants genetically related that produce similar organic aromatic compounds known as terpenes. This ale is brewed with hemp hearts (the meat of the seed, minus the shell) and dry-hopped with Simcoe and experimental HBC 522 hops to create a dank, pungent hop aroma balanced by a sweet, mildly bitter finish. Federal law prohibits brewers from using hemp leaf and flower, so New Belgium brewers found a creative solution using other natural plant materials that perfectly emulate those hemp terpenes. The Hemperor HPA contains no THC or CBD.

    “This beer has been over two years in the making, most of the time spent learning and reacting to laws that really suppress this crop’s usage,” Koenigs said of the beer that is currently banned in Kansas. “Flavor-wise, this is the beer we wanted to make, but due to misinformed laws governing the use of industrial hemp, we had to take a creative and long-winding road to get to this point. We’re happy with where we landed, and we’ll be working to change federal regulation so that one day we can brew The Hemperor HPA with hemp flowers and leaves as we originally envisioned.”

    The restrictive regulatory process around brewing The Hemperor HPA gives New Belgium the opportunity and platform to raise awareness around the social, environmental and economic benefits of industrial hemp. Beer drinkers will be encouraged to learn more and take action at New Belgium is also partnering with GCH Inc, the company founded by Willie Nelson and family to build brands inspired by his journey as an artist and advocate, in supporting the national campaign, Hemp 4 Victory, One dollar from every barrel of The Hemperor HPA sold will be donated to Hemp 4 Victory in support of its mission to raise awareness and promote pro-hemp bills in the House & Senate.

    “Hemp has such a diverse set of benefits to the environment, to industry and to American farmers,” said singer-songwriter Micah Nelson. "This campaign will bring attention to the spectrum of products and businesses that will improve when industrial hemp is free to thrive in the US.” Micah Nelson, Willie Nelson’s youngest son, serves on the advisory board for the Hemp 4 Victory campaign, and has served on the board of directors for the National Hemp Association.

    “We’re incredibly excited to be working with New Belgium and GCH, Inc. - Willie Nelson’s family of brands - to raise awareness around this wrongfully marginalized and highly sustainable crop,” said Hemp 4 Victory Advisor and former Bernie Sanders’ Deputy Campaign Manager, Rania Batrice. “We’ll be asking legislators to work toward hemp modernization throughout the year. Staying engaged and taking action is the best way people can help the cause.”

    The Hemperor HPA is available on draft beginning April 2, with 12 oz. bottles arriving across the nation on May 21st.

    The HemperorTM HPA®

    Malts: Pale, White Wheat and Midnight Wheat
    Hops: Nugget, Cascade, HBC 522 and Simcoe
    Yeast: Ale
    Color: Light golden
    Aroma: Herbal cannabis in a big way
    ABV: 7%
    IBU: 55

    Special ingredients: Hemp hearts and natural flavor

    For more information about New Belgium or any of its beers, visit


    About New Belgium Brewing

    New Belgium Brewing, makers of Fat Tire Belgian Style Ale and a host of Belgian-inspired beers, is recognized as one of Outside Magazine’s Best Places to Work, one of the Wall Street Journal’s Best Small Businesses and tops Bicycling Magazine’s Best Companies for Cyclists. The 100% employee-owned brewery is a Platinum-level Bicycle Friendly Business as designated by the League of American Bicyclists, one of World Blu’s most democratic U.S. businesses, and a Certified B Corp. In addition to Fat Tire Belgian Style Ale, New Belgium brews fifteen year-round beers: Citradelic Tangerine IPA, Fat Tire Belgian White, Voodoo Ranger IPA, Voodoo Ranger Imperial IPA, Voodoo Ranger 8 Hop Pale Ale, Voodoo Ranger Juicy Haze IPA, Sour Saison, Honey Orange Tripel, Dayblazer Easygoing Ale, Tartastic Fruit Beer Series, 1554 Black Lager, Bohemian Pilsner, Abbey Belgian Style Ale, Trippel and a gluten-reduced beer, Glutiny Pale Ale. To learn more, visit and follow the brewery on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.


    #1 Jason, Mar 23, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2018
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  2. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,639) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I remember when Wild Goose released Hempen Ale back in the late 90’s.

    Below is from Wikipedia:

    “Hempen Ale

    In 1997 Frederick Brewing Company made beer flavoured with hemp seeds which they called Hempen Ale. The ale received international attention. The Baltimore Sun quotes the Hemp Association as saying that Frederick Brewing Company was the only brewery doing this at the time.[13] The National also says that Frederick Brewing Company was the first brewery in the United States to make beer with hemp seeds.[23] By June 1997 Frederick Brewing Company had back-orders of 10,000 cases for their Hempen Ale. The ale also caught the attention of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Drug Enforcement Administration who got involved because it is illegal to grow hemp in the United States.[13] Hemp seeds, imported from China,[23] were a key ingredient in Hempen Ale making up 10% to 30% of the beer by weight. Federal regulators were also concerned about the label on the bottles, which included Japanese maple leaves, which resemble cannabis leaves. Frederick Brewing Company was able to get approval of their label, but they spent nearly $20,000 in legal fees to do so.[13]”


  3. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (809) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    The reason that people make beers like this eludes me. Other than the novelty of marketing a beer with hemp in it, that is.
  4. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (2,532) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
    Premium Trader

    Weren't you just discussing how craft beer is becoming too homologous?

    This is a new offering that breaks the norm, although evidently not the first time something along these lines have been done (per Jack's post above).
  5. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (809) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    Ehh . . . it's an IPA to which they added hemp hearts. I'm unsure of how that is a departure from the status quo.
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  6. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,639) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    INNOVATION!! :grin:

  7. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,639) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Do you think it is time for another new thread to discuss the 'direction' of the craft brewing industry!?!:astonished:

  8. pro100

    pro100 Initiate (89) Oct 12, 2014 California

    So you can get high and drunk off one bottle?:stuck_out_tongue:
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  9. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (2,532) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
    Premium Trader

    That's fair. What would be interesting to see is if breweries skip over hops in favor of hemp for part of their portfolio. Combine that with the yeast that imparts hop oils (I didn't read that thread too closely) and we may begin to see beers made that have zero hops in them. And possibly cheaper (aren't hops insanely expensive?)

    Although those beers will still probably be IPAs, which will bring up its own discussion of "Is a beer an IPA if it's made with zero hops?'
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  10. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,639) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Some of the more 'exotic'/in demand hops are pricey now. For example: Galaxy, Nelson Sauvin, Citra,...

    There are plenty of 'less sexy' hop varieties to pick from that are more reasonably priced (e.g., Cascades).

    The real 'issue' is how much hops (quantity by weight) are used in the brewing of a given brand/type of beer. For example, the so called 'NE' style IPA uses a shit-ton (that is a technical term) of hops and those hops are typically the expensive varieties.

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  11. denver10

    denver10 Poo-Bah (2,360) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico

    This seemed inevitable.

    After getting past the marketing factor of this beer, which I think probably came before the beer itself, I see no reason why using hemp in beer would be any better or worse than other plants/flowers/herbs, whether it be lemongrass, lavender, etc. Those types of beers generally aren't my thing, and New Belgium is not a brewery I gravitate towards, so I don't expect to try this. But if the reviews are positive, who knows?

    I think there is a place in the market for this type of beer...though I don't expect that place to be be big enough to support a national release like this. Perhaps the gimmick/first of its recent kind component will help NB here, but I doubt this will be around next year at this time.
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  12. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (809) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    Hops are definitely expensive. Especially when they're used at NEIPA levels. That GMO yeast strain is an intriguing development, though.

    I think that it is, but a better question would be "Is any beer still a beer if no hops are used?".

    Again, I would answer in the affirmative, as I've made plenty of beer without hops. Sour beer, mind you, but beer none-the-less.
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  13. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (809) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    Na . . . but it is time to discuss how quoting oneself from earlier in a thread doesn't make one correct.

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  14. MNAle

    MNAle Savant (979) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    Yet another adjunct pale ale, but with a publicity-grabbing hook.
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  15. IPAExpert69

    IPAExpert69 Initiate (158) Aug 2, 2017 New Jersey

    New Belgium makes good beers usually, so I'd like to think this is not just a gimmick but a region of brewing they want to pursue. Once cannabinoids are allowed in legally, it's gonna be a huge market! i'd rather that money be in the pockets of good brewers than Corona or something
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  16. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (809) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    And therein lies the rub. This isn't cannabis. It's hemp seeds/hearts. Not the same thing. Not even close. Their marketing of this beer, however, would make you think it was otherwise (the six pack holder is a prime example).
  17. IPAExpert69

    IPAExpert69 Initiate (158) Aug 2, 2017 New Jersey

    I know that this doesn't include THC, or else it would be like a Colorado exclusive. I just hope if laws change that those laws also let brewers experiment with the devil's lettuce. Could be a whole new style.
  18. NorCalKid

    NorCalKid Initiate (92) Jan 10, 2018 California

    Anyone ever seen or drank Humbuldt Brewing Company Hemp Ale? Pretty sure that’s been around for a while. Not sure if “HPA” is a new thing or just trying to be marketed as.
  19. IPAExpert69

    IPAExpert69 Initiate (158) Aug 2, 2017 New Jersey

    It's gonna be "new" to 95% of people who just stumble upon it in their local liquor stores. Probably gonna sell great till people don't feel high.
  20. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (1,979) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Premium Trader

    I'll give it a shot.
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  21. Lahey

    Lahey Disciple (327) Nov 12, 2016 Michigan

    Dank/weed tasting beers already have found a following, I'm sure this will follow in line with that flavor profile. Although it's not leaves or buds, it still may get the flavor they're trying for. I'll buy a sixer and be the guinea pig if I see it.
  22. beermeplz

    beermeplz Aspirant (270) Feb 13, 2015 California

    lagunitas recently did something similar with weed extracts. draft only though and pretty limited. i missed out on it but seemed like it was fairly well received.
  23. ypsifly

    ypsifly Meyvn (1,025) Sep 22, 2004 Michigan

    Add Bell's to the list of breweries that have done this before.
  24. RandyRanderson

    RandyRanderson Initiate (63) Jun 24, 2014 Pennsylvania

    Seems like this could be a hit with the Colorado contingent (and every other state) of smokers. I know it doesn’t have THC but still seems like the perfect beer to pair with. Should see a spike in sales on 4/20
    Lahey likes this.
  25. meefmoff

    meefmoff Zealot (525) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts

    Wow that is a blast from the past. This beer hasn't entered my consciousness in about two decades but as soon as you mentioned the name the label appeared in my head. I don't even think we thought it was particularly great, but errr.... it did carry a certain cache for other reasons in my social group so it would show up in the mix from time to time.

    As to New Belgium's new beer, if anything I'm surprised this sort of crossover hasn't already been exploited into the ground. Kind of low hanging fruit with a certain subset of the craft beer crowd :slight_smile:
  26. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,595) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    Eh. So they want to make a dank funky IPA, using the adjuncts available it should work quite easily. You want a fruit IPA ? It's been done to death. Same same. But I'm more impressed when a Brewer can get these type of results using just hops, malt and yeast. That IMO showcases not only skill but commitment to an idea, and the commitment to finish it. Not that's it's a bad thing mind you, but I'd expect that if you threw hemp into the batch you'd get hemp influence. You can get dank with hops, as well as my old sneakers I use when I cut my grass.
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  27. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,639) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I can't wait to see this on the market: Dale's Sneaker Pale Ale.

    Of course there will be a thread about how this is changing the 'direction' of craft brewing!:astonished:

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  28. GetMeAnIPA

    GetMeAnIPA Zealot (538) Mar 28, 2009 California

    I remember when I used to wear a hemp necklace. I thought I was so cool.
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  29. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,595) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    Lol, a Cali Surfer dude I bet.
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  30. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,639) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Did Spicoli wear a hemp necklace!?!:thinking_face:

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  31. JoePasko

    JoePasko Initiate (79) Mar 10, 2018 New York

    I like THC. I'd definitely try a hemp/hop beer with THC. Is that next ?
  32. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,595) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    Nope, but he likes Colt 45.
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  33. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,639) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Well, as Billy Dee would say: "It works every time!":stuck_out_tongue:

  34. GetMeAnIPA

    GetMeAnIPA Zealot (538) Mar 28, 2009 California

    Haha. Yeah, brah. Surfed this morning. No hemp necklace anymore though.
  35. HorseheadsHophead

    HorseheadsHophead Meyvn (1,440) Sep 15, 2014 New York

    I would be excited, except that it's New Belgium. :neutral_face:

    Oops. Was that too offensive?
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  36. dcotom

    dcotom Poo-Bah (1,973) Aug 4, 2014 Iowa
    Premium Trader

    There's no chance this could trigger a false positive on a piss test, is there?
  37. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,595) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    Nope I was thinking the same thing.
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  38. meefmoff

    meefmoff Zealot (525) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts

    I wouldn't bet your job on it based just on this, but I'm pretty sure the seeds do not contain any psychoactive compounds.

    Evidence? Back in High School nobody ever smoked the seeds no matter how desperate they might have been to find some more weed :slight_smile:
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  39. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,595) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    The seeds popping was a hassle too. I made a batch of brownies once, two ounces of everything, stems seeds and all. It kinda sucked crunching thry the junk, but eating the brownies gave me a two day buzz.
    meefmoff likes this.
  40. GetMeAnIPA

    GetMeAnIPA Zealot (538) Mar 28, 2009 California

    I am not sure if you’re joking or not but in case you aren’t. Drug tests check for THC, which is what gets you high. Hemp plants have the THC bred out of them. The write up says the beer has no THC or CBD, if it did it would be illegal. Ever see hemp oil or other hemp products being sold at retail stores?They are legal because they have no THC.
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