The science behind making the perfect cannabis-beer pairing

The science behind making the perfect cannabis-beer pairing

Cannabis and beer. Separately, they’re enjoyed for their flavor profiles and desired effects on the mind and body. While each carries a unique culture and history of its own, today’s evolving attitude toward both has legitimized this pair’s standing in the popular zeitgeist: we like to get boozy, and we like to get high. And we increasingly like to do both at the same time.

It seems like you can barely throw a wheat stick without hitting a craft brew house (or haus for the uber-pretentious among us) these days, and cannabis dispensaries are filling a similar niche in the medicinal world. With so many colors, flavors, and aromas being used to define categories of both beer and cannabis, it’s no surprise that proponents of feeling good on both sides have started experimenting with ideal pairings.  

You might know of this phenomenon by its frat house (or haus for the pretentious party boys among us) term, “cross-fading.” But the science behind getting a double-dose of buzzed is a lot more sophisticated than just chugging and toking without a plan. 

You see, uncovering the right complementary pair of beer and weed is all about *puts one pinky in the air* the terpenes. Produced naturally in plants to ward off predators and attract pollinators, terpene oils are what you smell when you describe a cannabis strain as “citrusy” or “skunky” or “cheesy.” They’re also what produce the psychoactive effects that are commonly labeled (or mis-labeled) as sativa or indica. Yes, what you smell and what you feel are related.

Conveniently enough, terpenes are also found in hops! Specifically, the terpene Humulene shows up in both cannabis and beer and is responsible for the “hoppy” aroma that makes beer-lovers swoon. In cannabis, Humulene is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties. 

That’s just one example of over 100 known terpenes that deliver smell and taste variety. Of course, pairing cannabis and beer is not an exact science and depends heavily on personal preference. But we think that’s what makes it so exciting. We examined the terps and put together a few of our favorite combinations with a few local beers and strains available at our stores.

SanTan HefeWeizen + Lemon Meringue

If a light, refreshing citrus aroma and taste gets you puckered up in the best way, then try this pairing of a classic hefe and the lemon zestiness of our euphoric strain. Who says you can’t get a head start on summer?


SunUp Arizona Amber + Wedding Cake

Malty, hoppy beers like ambers are often downed to temper a spicy hot wing blaze. Minty strains like Wedding Cake are sometimes described as a little spicy in flavor, making this combo the perfect balance of heat and chill to set the evening off right.


Guinness + Jawa Kush

A beer worth sipping deserves a strain worth savoring. The bold, malty flavor of the legendary Irish stout pairs beautifully with earthy strains like Jawa Kush. This strain in particular hits all the flavor notes from sugar cake to lemon gas, helping Guinness go down even smoother.


Arizona Wilderness Refuge IPA + Pineapple Express

Hoppy beers, especially IPAs, leave your tongue practically begging for some sweetness to complement the experience. Enter Pineapple Express with its apple and mango aromas and pungent pineapple taste. Pair these two and let the buzz carry you on a Pacific breeze.


Blackberry White Claw + Moxie Memberberry

Okay, so technically not a beer, but the flavored hard seltzer train is a-rollin’ and we’re all aboard. For lovers of tart, sweet and fruity taste experiences, you can’t go wrong with Moxie’s energizing berry strain while you daydrink some Claws under a perfect Spring sky. 

Leave a Reply