Craft Beer: Farmageddon aim high with Hemp IPA – and it isn't at all gimmicky

Comber-based Farmageddon's Hemp IPA
Paul McConville

FOR reasons which will become quite clear in a minute, I found myself looking up exactly what hemp was this week. I knew it had something to do with cannabis, but wanted to get a definitive explanation of what the plant itself was.

Now, this isn't the point where I tell you the plant's name in Latin or what kind of species of cannabis it actually is because, hey, this isn't a gardening column. But what I did discover is that hemp has a startling number of different uses and it is pretty darn easy to grow (within the proper legal parameters, that is).

It has been used to produce paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, medicine, food and animal feed. What? This stuff's amazing. Why aren't we growing it everywhere, around the clock? Seems to me it would sort a lot of problems out.

Anyway, the enterprising brewers of Farmageddon have found another great use for hemp – they've stuck it in beer. Now, before you think a few swigs is going to get as high as noon in an Amsterdam coffee shop, think again. The presence of that active ingredient is minimal at best, but the use of hemp does complement the hops used in their 5 per cent IPA.

The hemp itself comes from the juice and pulp that is produced in Ireland's only hemp farm which is Monaghan. The guys at Farmageddon have chucked in Columbus and Mosaic hops as well, to give it a piney and resinous flavour.

But let's start with the look. The beer comes in a pint bottle at pours a slightly amber colour, a fluffy white head. You get a few grapefuity and grassy aromas from it and those flavours definitely dominate on the first gulp. Once it settles down, it's actually quite smooth, a bit juicy and actually a wee bit sweet on the finish.

The addition of hemp appears to be quite a well thought-out move, not at all gimmick and marries well with the aforementioned hops.

Early batches of this brew flew off the shelves, and even if it didn't satisfy the cravings of would-be Cheeches and Chongs, it'll go down well with fans of good beer.

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