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READING TIME - 10 MIN

Is Dank IPA the Next Hazy?

The craft beer and cannabis crossover has begun, and we’re featuring six breweries that are meeting this demand with Dank IPAs and cannabis-forward flavors. 

Whether through pure creative ingenuity or necessity, brewers have given us West Coast IPAs, Black IPAs, Triple IPAs, etc. Hazy IPAs, in particular, appealed to beer drinkers who enjoyed the bitter, hop-forward flavor of traditional IPAs and those who wanted something less intense with a strong fruit flavor and aroma. 

The ability to meet the demands of both palates is part of why Hazy IPAs became so popular. Today, something similar is happening. As more states legalize cannabis, cannabis consumers and beer drinkers are creating demand for dank beer flavors that highlight the complex flavor and aroma of both hops and cannabis. 

Read on to discover six breweries that are already meeting this demand with Dank IPAs, plus what exactly we mean by “dank” in the world of beer. 

The Craft Beer/Cannabis Crossover Brings Back “Dank”

The word dank has existed in both the cannabis and beer world for some time. While it’s long been used to describe particularly pungent cannabis, today, science has identified the particular compound (cannasulfur compounds) that produces the distinct gassy or skunk-like scent found in some cultivars.

Considering that hops and cannabis plants are genetically related, it should come as no shock that hops also have sulfur-containing compounds. However, the beer world has had a love/hate relationship with the term “dank.”

PunchDrink put it best, “...even at its peak as a complimentary term, [dank] never lost its connection to revulsion, that sense of unease and intrigue that simultaneously pushes you away and pulls you closer. The dankest IPAs conjure the aroma of cannabis, but also find a secondary connection to weed in their lingering bitterness, a jolt to the system that might as well be psychoactive.”

Today, dank is quickly becoming a positive term in the beer industry again as the national trend to legalize cannabis has only made it more apparent what consumers of both products have long known. These plants contain a wealth of deliciously complex flavors. 

Bottom line? Dank is back, and IPAs are about to go through their next stage of evolution. 

Mountains Walking: Sky Flowers Hybrid IPA

As the winner of our inaugural Skunkworks Lounge Brewing contest at the Craft Brewers Conference in 2023, Mountains Walking stole the spotlight with its Sky Flowers Hybrid IPA. 

Infused with our Pineapple Express BrewGas Series and hopped with Citra and Experimental Hops HBC 586 and Cryo 602, this dank beer provides an explosion of tropical flavors and aromas that manages to showcase the synergy between cannabis and hops. 

When speaking about this beer and the crossover between cannabis consumers and beer drinkers, Mountains Walking head brewer Eric White said, “We've had good reception, and people are always excited about when we do something innovative. I think with the way that cannabis is received by people in the market, it’s no longer a naughty word.”

Additionally, Mountains Walking recently ran out of their Beyond Dank beer from an experimental Hazy IPA series called Opaque Thoughts. 

I really like the word dank. If you talk to older brewers and younger brewers, it has quite a significantly different meaning. When we’re saying “Beyond Dank,” we’re not necessarily saying the dankest beer, depending on your interpretation of that word. But almost looking beyond just dankness and what that means. It’s got the cannabis flavors, it’s also got a lot of dank forward hops as well. 
Eric White
Head Brewer
Mountains Walking

Fair State Brewing Coop: Big Doinks

This is not the first time Fair State has turned heads with dank flavors, and it definitely won’t be the last. Described as an “Extra Dank IPA,” Big Doinks gives you precisely what it promises: tasting notes of dank weed, pine, and tropical fruits. It’s notably bitter, crisp, and perfectly reminiscent of Christmas trees.


We have noticed a certain portion of our clientele is less interested in the newest fruitiest hops and softest hazy IPAs. They want a return to the dank, piney, bitter IPAs of yesterday but with a fresh face and an exciting angle. The use of Abstrax terpenes has allowed us to create an IPA that is both nostalgic and new, a marriage of the stickiest hops to come out of Yakima and the dankest weed aromas to come out of your local grow-op.  
These aromas are very shelf-stable, cost-effective, and exciting to the customers and brewers alike. Our yearly release of Legalize Big Doinks, which utilizes Grapefruit Kush terpenes, is a staff favorite. The ease of use for these terpenes cannot be downplayed, a truly water soluble, flowable product that homogenizes easily and stays in suspension long past packaging. I’m a full convert and believe we will see a not-so-distant future with terpene-based IPAs being the norm, not the exception.
Joe Wells
Head Brewer
Fair State Brewing Coop

 

Limited-edition brews like Legalize Big Doinks are generally only available in the taproom though (big bummer). So, be sure to stop in the next time you’re near their brewery in Minneapolis, MN. You never know what dank creations they’ll brew up next.

Fair State Brewing Coop | Legalize Big Doinks | Dank IPA | Abstrax Hops

Belching Beaver: No Worries IPA

Belching Beaver Brewery has been making great beer and having a “Dam Good Time” for over a decade. And if you couldn’t tell, this award-winning craft beer company isn’t afraid to embrace a sense of whimsy and fun. This idea was perfectly illustrated with the release of their No Worries IPA.

In the press release for this dank beer, Belching Beaver CEO Tom Vogel said, “No Worries IPA pays tribute to celebrating the positive moments in life, moving on from the anxieties of the past and our daily lives… No worries – Just enjoy!"”

Considering everything that went into the creation of this true West Coast IPA, we can’t imagine NOT being able to relax with a fresh pour of this beauty. Belching Beaver explains that “Aromas of dankness and tropical fruit jump from the glass. The first sip will tingle your taste buds, and as the bitterness mellows, the hop flavors take over. Strata, Galaxy, Mosaic, Citra, and Amarillo hops all lend their characteristics to this delightful West Coast IPA.”

Plus, we’re not the only ones who enjoy the dank flavor of this crisp, balanced ale. In 2021, it was the Gold Medal Winner at the International Beer Cup in Japan and the Silver Medal Winner at the Australian International Beer Competition. Plus, it continued to dominate in 2022 by taking home another Gold Medal at the International Beer Cup in Japan.

Deschutes: Squeezy Rider West Coast IPA

It originally started in 1988 as a small brewpub in downtown Bend, Oregon, but today, Deschutes can be found in 32 states and even a few international locations. 

On top of being committed to supporting their local community, they’ve got the awards to back up their brewing efforts. Last year, they were even awarded three gold medals at the international Best of Craft Beer Awards, where 100 judges assessed roughly 3000 beers from across the U.S., Canada, and Central America.

If you’re ready to sample the work of this award-winning brewery, we highly recommend getting your hands on their Squeezy Rider West Coast IPA. It’s described as having “heaps of hops to bring torrential tides of tropical flavor and a dab of dankness. Big tropical fruit punch aroma, light dank, and melon paired with clean, light malt character.”

Logyard Brewing: Keanu Leaves West Coast-style IPA

Logyard Brewing is described as “Hyper-local™” and, honestly, we dig it. Located in the Allegheny National Forest of Pennsylvania and was founded by Michael Dunn, Royce Novosel-Johnson, and Timothy Robinson in 2017. 

A huge driving force for them is creating meaningful experiences while changing the industry. Considering they’re one of the only breweries that organically extracts black birch oil to infuse into their beer (specifically their Bucking Birch Kane Style Ale), we’d say they’re crushing it.

When it comes to dank beers, we have to give a shout-out to their Keanu Leaves West Coast-style IPA. It’s described as “a West Coast Style IPA full of Dank and Resinous Hop notes.” This bitter IPA also has notes of caramel, baked bread, and has “big notes of dank resin, pine, cannabis, and berries.”

Logyard recommends pairing Keanu Leaves with charcuterie, baked pretzels, and brownies. We don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty excellent to us.

Pirate Life Brewing | California Pale Ale | Dank IPA | Abstrax Hops

Pirate Life Brewing: California Pale Ale

This Australian brewery was founded by a group of “associates, chums, and troublemakers” in 2014. Led by Jack Cameron and Jared ‘Red’ Proudfoot, Pirate Life Brewing started winning awards almost as soon as they opened their doors. 

In January 2015, they took home awards at GABS Hottest 100 Australian Craft Beers, they’ve collaborated and toured with hip-hop crews, and they’ve pretty much continued to win hearts, minds, and tastebuds.

While Pale Ales are technically different than IPAs, it’s hard not to include their California Pale Ale. Pirate Life brewer Jackson Purer developed this sturdy malt profile and described it as being ideal for beer drinkers who enjoy dank flavors…just slightly dialed back. 

“It pours golden with a fluffy head of foam. Expect aromas of stone fruit, black currant, and sticky pine. To drink, it’s clean and hoppy, with a hint of biscuit malt, and a sturdy back palate bitterness.”

Brew Dank With True-to-Type Cannabis-Inspired Terpenes

At Abstrax Hops, we provide novel solutions for brewers looking to streamline, innovate, and gain a competitive edge. With our knowledge, technology, and extensive resources, we’ve crafted our BrewGas Series to provide cannabis-inspired cultivars and TTB-approved “dank” natural flavors. 

Contact us today, and let’s talk about how you can brew with our botanically-derived collection of the world’s gassiest and skunkiest cannabis profiles.

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