Alcohol Drinks Features

Blue Moon Creator Shares His Journey To Cannabis Beer And The Difficulties Behind The Brew

Photos courtesy Ceria Brewing

Late last year, Dr. Keith Villa, the founder of Blue Moon, launched his very own line of cannabis-infused beer name Ceria. Based in Colorado, the brew sold out almost immediately upon launch and has become a hot ticket purchase at local dispensaries in the state.

So what was the journey behind Ceria?

Villa, who holds a PhD in brewing from the University of Brussels in Belgium, began his career more than 30 years ago at MillerCoors. Upon his retirement, Villa and his wife immediately began their own brewery based out of Colorado.

His foray into weed beer actually began a little bit before his retirement from Blue Moon and parent company MillerCoors in 2018.

Photos courtesy Ceria Brewing

“In 2014, that’s when recreational cannabis became legal in the state of Colorado. At that time there was still a pretty large stigma around cannabis,” he recalled. “But I thought, it’s very possible to brew with cannabis because if you look at the genetics in the family tree of hops, you’ll see that cannabis is a close cousin of the hops plant.”

Ever the scientist, Villa began to test the concept afterhours.

“So I tried at home and on my own time because I never wanted to endanger the federal brewing permit of Blue Moon and Coors. So I always did it, all the cannabis experiments at home on my own time.”

That’s when the first semblance of Ceria came to existence.

“I found out quickly that, you can brew some beers with cannabis. That really got me to thinking, you know, this could be a whole new category because there are so many people who don’t drink alcohol for health reasons or religious reasons or whatever and they do want cannabis, because a lot of people believe cannabis does have healthful medicinal properties.”

Villa brought his wife onto the new venture, someone who has been working with him from the very start during all of his home tastings and tests.

“She lived with me in Belgium where I was getting my PhD. She’s one of the few people I know and trust that actually has lived in Belgium and can truly judge Belgian Beers and European-style beers.”

Photos courtesy Ceria Brewing

The two put their heads together and discovered that this could be an entirely new frontier that’s been untapped.

“We started figuring out right away that this could be a whole new category for beer. And so yeah, when we retired, we started Ceria Brewing Company and figured out right away that the best path forward was to focus on great tasting, non-alcoholic beers, craft beers that have the effects of cannabis and not the effects of alcohol. It was really hard creating a great tasting non-alcoholic beer. “

Villa didn’t seem like a man who would shy away from the challenge, however.

“Luckily with all my years of brewing experience as a brewmaster, I was able to create a series of non-alcoholic beers that taste really good. The next step is adding the cannabis in. So we have the effects of cannabis inside of a great smelling and great tasting craft beer.”

Photos courtesy Ceria Brewing

Working with cannabis and alcohol is an extremely tricky task. Dr. Villa explained that there were some major legal hurdles they had to overcome before launching their new product.

“Cannabis is federally illegal,” Villa states. “Though it is legal in the state of Colorado. So the first hurdle was alcohol, because the federal government, they strictly forbid anybody to put something that’s federally illegal into an alcoholic beverage. So you cannot add cannabis to it.”

“The Colorado Division of Revenue, through a subdivision called the Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED), is the agency who controls and regulates the cannabis industry,” Villa explains.

Essentially, you can’t add cannabis to an alcoholic product and you can’t add alcohol to a cannabis product in the state of Colorado.

“So it was real clear right away that we could not have an alcoholic product with cannabis,” he said. “That’s what necessitated me to create a great tasting non-alcoholic beer. So that was definitely the first hurdle.”

Once Villa nailed the taste he wanted for a non-alcoholic beer, he set his sights on a different obstacle.

“After that, the biggest hurdle was getting people to taste our product because so many have read about cannabis or heard about it. And so many are just afraid of getting stoned. Well, our product is always going to be a lower dose so that people can trust it and not get stoned. They can get a mild buzz off, but they won’t get stoned.”

Photos courtesy Ceria Brewing

Finally, Dr. Villa explains the rich history behind his company’s name.

“Ceria is actually from the Roman goddess of fertility and agriculture. She’s in history, she is the goddess of agriculture, meeting hops and cannabis. Her name is Ceres. That’s where we get the names, cereal — like breakfast cereal. That’s where we get the name of Ceria.”

Boasting a medium-bodied taste and some notes of citrus and a smooth malty finish, Ceria can be purchased at select dispensaries throughout the state of Colorado. Villa shares in parting that Ceria plans on expanding to other states in the upcoming months as well as the development of new flavors.

Alcohol Drinks

Blue Moon’s Founder Created A New Cannabis-Infused Beer And It Sold Out Quickly

Photo courtesy of Ceria

Keith Villa is probably best known for his contribution to the field of alcohol with his creation of Blue Moon. The brewmaster and founder was part of MillerCoors for approximately 32 years until his retirement early last year.

Now, in a time where cannabis-boasting beverages are becoming more and more prominent, Villa has launched a new brew that’s infused with pot: Grainwave Belgian-Style White Ale.

A medium-bodied Belgian-Style White Ale, Ceria is brewed with coriander and blood orange peels. As a spin on Belgian Ale, the beer is de-alcoholized and microdosed with 5mg of THC.

Villa’s new brewing company, Ceria Brewing Co., launched Grainwave last December in local dispensaries around the Colorado area and the initial batch sold out in about four hours.

While non-alcoholic, the brew is said to capture the flavors of a classic Belgian ale while providing the calming effects of cannabis.

Currently those looking to try Grainwave can find them in select dispensary locations in Denver, CO. For now, at least, it will remain a Colorado exclusive.

Alcohol Beer Culture Drinks Opinion

Should Alcoholic Beverages Be Required To List Their Ingredients?

The light beer wars have officially escalated to new heights. After Bud Light’s round of Super Bowl commercials trashing Miller Lite and Coors Light for their usage of corn syrup, MillerCoors has struck back with a lawsuit accusing their rivals of false advertising and trademark dilution. They claim that corn syrup is no longer present in their beers after the fermentation progress, and wanted Bud Light’s campaigns to cease.

In theory, both sides are right. Corn syrup can be used as a sugar source for beer fermenting, and MillerCoors has said that they use it as such. However, by the time the beer is ready for tapping, all of that has been converted into alcohol, just like the rice that Bud Light uses for their brew.

The bigger question that this debate brings up, though, is one of transparency in the alcohol industry. Bud Light got this topic buzzing with their campaigns, which, on top of the corn syrup, added an ingredient label to their boxes to “show transparency.” Since it’s not currently required for alcohol brands to display their ingredients, this was groundbreaking for the industry.

As the conflict surrounding these light beers rages on, though, one has to wonder: should alcoholic beverages be required to list their ingredients?

For those wondering why ingredients don’t have to be labeled, it’s a matter of regulation and jurisdiction. While the FDA requires all food products in their space to list all of the ingredients, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, or TTB, does not. In the case of malted beverages, the only ingredients that have to be declared are saccharin and aspartame (two artificial sweeteners), sulfites (a potential allergen), and FD&C Yellow No. 5 (a food dye.)

All other components of beers, including the sugar source, any potential flavorings or colorings, and clarifying agents, don’t have to be declared. From a food science perspective, these could technically be classified as “processing aids” since the final product would just be flavors from hops, alcohol, water, and any colors that resulted from the brewing or fermenting process. Still, it is important to know what was used to brew a beer, especially a light beer. Since these tend to use rice or corn instead of barley as a fermenting source, consumers should be able to know which brands use what.

For vegans, transparency is also a concern because of something called isinglass. This beer clarifying agent is derived from fish bladders and is used to filter the beer of any leftover suspended yeast. Some specific brands note that they don’t use isinglass, leading to a category of “vegan-friendly” brews.

In a way, Bud Light is opening the public’s eyes to these issues with their campaign, but they are also playing on fear-mongering stigma because of the negative image corn syrup has in the eyes of the general public. Nonetheless, the conversation they are bringing up about ingredients in beer is one that should be taken more seriously.

The Foodbeast audience definitely agrees with that sentiment, too. A current poll up on our Twitter account is showing that 90 percent of participants feel that alcohol should list their ingredients.

Alcohol Beer Drinks Recipes Video

How To Make Actual Butterbeer From The 1500s [WATCH]

The butterbeer at Universal Studio’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter is delicious, don’t get me wrong. However, it is a far cry from the original recipe to this brew that dates back over 400 years.

YouTuber How to Drink recently recreated the OG version of the foamy, buttery drink, which draws together its description from the Harry Potter series with the actual recipe. Found in The Good Huswifes Handmaide for the Kitchin, published in London in 1588, this “Buttered Beer” was almost more of an alcoholic custard than a beer, as How to Drink’s recipe video shows.

The process of making it is similar to cooking custard, tempering it with a mulled ale, and then melting in hefty quantities of butter. The result is slightly alcoholic, as some of the beer’s potency will evaporate during the process. However, it is warm, frothy, and quite sweet, just like J.K. Rowling describes it in her iconic novel series.

If you’re looking to make a legitimate butterbeer recipe, this is likely the one to turn to. It’ll also help keep everyone warm during the holidays and makes for an interesting alternative to eggnog for the grown-ups.

How to Drink has the full recipe in the description of his YouTube video, and you can also find more info on his various social media accounts.

Featured Image courtesy of Greg Titian.
Alcohol Deals Restaurants

Score Free Fried Chicken For A YEAR With This NYC Black Friday Deal

Photo courtesy of Loosie’s Kitchen & Cafe

Black Friday is quickly approaching and we’re trying to find as many sweet deals as we can before we lose out. Instead of electronics, however, this year we’re eyeballing this insane food deal.

New York City-based lovers of fried chicken will want to keep their peepers on Loosie’s Kitchen and Cafe’s Black Friday Special.

For $249, patrons will get 365 plates of Loosie’s famous fried chicken wings served with a side of spicy mustard, hot sauce, and fermented pickles. The special is valued at $7,300. Similar to Olive Garden’s Pasta Pass, all you have to do is pay a flat rate and you’ll be able to enjoy fried chicken every day for a year at the NYC establishment.

Since you need to wash down fried chicken with something smooth, Loosie’s is also offering a beer special for Black Friday, where customers can purchase a year’s worth of wheat beer 1664 Blanc, valued at $2,500, for $249.

There’s a catch, however.

Because this is such a limited sale, the only way to get your hands on this offer is to email and explain why you deserve a year’s worth of fried chicken and beer through the written word. Hey, beats having to wait in line and kind of levels the playing field for everyone. We’re down with that.

Any New York locals who are certain they won’t get sick of fried chicken will surely want to reach out to shoot their shot at Loosie’s.

Culture Drinks Restaurants

Restaurant’s BEER RAMEN Lets You Slurp Straight From A Beer Mug

On a hot day, nothing beats an ice-cold glass of beer. What I usually don’t chase when the weather’s scorching, however, is a piping hot bowl of ramen. Sure, ramen is arguably one of the most delicious noodle dishes on the planet, but I’m a sweater by nature and would probably run hot the rest of the day. Cravings be damned.

What if there was something that combined the cooling effect of beer with the flavorsome components of ramen?

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Yuu Japanese Tapas, a restaurant located in British Columbia, has decided to put an innovative spin on the traditional Japanese noodle dish.

Served inside of a beer mug, the ramen noodles are added to an ice-cold broth made from bonito flakes. To replicate the aesthetics of beer, the ramen is topped with a foam made from a combination of egg whites and gelatin.

While it may look like a hefty pint, the “beer ramen” has ZERO alcohol inside of it. Sorry, guys.

The concept was inspired by the cold noodles of Asian culture, ones that were typically served during the hot summer seasons. Not the more well-known hot ramen dishes most are used to, but still traditional nonetheless. Dishes like zaru soba (cold buckwheat noodles) and naengmyeon (cold Korean noodles) are fan favorites during the warm months.

Yuu’s Beer Ramen was originally intended as a limited time menu item for the summer, but the restaurant is seriously considering keeping the novelty dish around for a few extra months. That gives us some time to plan a trip to Canada.

Featured Thumbnail Courtesy NATIV Media
Beer Restaurants Video

Brewery Menus Are Significantly Evolving, SoCal’s Golden Road Is Positive Proof Of That

When you think of brewery food, the norm is that you’re gonna see a couple of food trucks parked outside or that they have a bunch of bar food classics. You know, things like burgers, fish and chips, maybe some blistered shishito peppers if they’re fancy. However, many spots are starting to push the boundaries of what brewery eats can be with curated menus that go beyond the classics.

In Foodbeast’s most recent episode of Going In, the crew came across such a diverse and gastronomic approach to “beer food” at GoldenRoad Brewing’s location in Anaheim, California. As the Foodbeast squad ate their way through the entire menu, they came across the expected standard fare, but also found quite a few interesting dishes you wouldn’t expect from the standard brewpub.

One of the things that stood out with GoldenRoad was the selection of vegan food available. They have a plant-based calamari made out of braised young coconut that had Foodbeast’s publisher, Elie Ayrouth, in utter shock. “I have never seen anything like it,” he gushed, as the texture of the coconut mimicked a perfectly cooked ring of squid. “It retains the consistency and the texture of calamari, and the panko breading on the outside crushed it.”

GoldenRoad’s impressive selection of meat-free items doesn’t stop there. They also have a roasted beet carpaccio, an Impossible burger, and fried avocado tacos that Foodbeast Evan Lancaster loved despite having a slight allergy to the trendy fruit.

They’re not just curating their vegan items, though. There’s also a duck confit poutine made with tater tots, “beer can chicken” that’s flash fried and rubbed in achiote, and a twist on the classic shrimp and grits that brings sambal, a Southeast Asian chili paste, into the mix.

Every item sampled was given the same TLC that you would expect from an upscale restaurant. Combine that with the breadth of beers on tap, and you’re in for a unique and extensive beer tasting session highlighted by a menu of top-notch eats.

GoldenRoad isn’t the only place doing this, as other breweries like 3 Floyds Brewing Co. in Indiana, Brewery Vivant in Michigan, and Karbach Brewing Co. in Texas have similar concepts. Together, though, they and others are all indicative of a movement to merge gourmet restaurants and breweries into an unprecedented dining and drinking experience.

Hit-Or-Miss Video

Watch Rhett & Link Unknowingly Drink Human ‘Saliva Beer’

Rhett and Link are no strangers to consuming strange foods, but even they weren’t ready for this beer.

The YouTubers were guests on That’s Odd, Let’s Drink It! and took confident chugs of Dogfish Head’s Chicha beer, before even being told what was in it.

Within the Peruvian beer was chewed up corn. Yup, in order to brew this beer, humans physically chewed purple maize. The reason being that saliva activates the starch from the corn and turns it into sugar.

Thankfully the beer also includes fresh strawberries and pink peppercorns, giving it a sweet and tart taste.

Once Rhett and Link were told what was in the beer, their faces immediately turned sour.

“Why’d you wait to tell us this,” Rhett said with a nervous chuckle.

Their minds were put at ease, though, as the saliva-covered corn is boiled for sterilization.

That’s probably not the worst thing the duo has put in their mouths, but it’s still cringeworthy.

The next drink was a little less strange, as they had a bourbon barrel-aged vanilla stout. The kicker was that it had an insanely high ABV of 18%.

To finish things off, the duo and host Sam Calagione drank a sour beer with a miracle berry. If you’re not familiar with miracle berries, they’re like little tablets you put on your tongue, that turn anything you eat, sweet. So you can imagine the effect on the sour beers.

They probably wish they had mixed the miracle berry with the spit beer, but they got through the show unscathed, and will live to drink another day.