Hembree likes to make a splash! ( photo/article courtesy Westwood)
Mason Hembree wasn’t exactly surprised when people misinterpreted last week’s announcement that Dad & Dudes Breweria in Aurora planned to brew two beers made with cannabis extract and serve it at the Great American Beer Festival. After all, the Dad & Dudes press advisory was headlined, “Dude’s Brews to Release World’s First Line of High CBD, Cannabis-Infused Craft Beer.” And in pot-crazy Colorado, “cannabis” has become synonymous with marijuana.
Hembree likes to make a splash. Dad & Dudes first burst on the scene in 2011 with Dank IPA, a beer that made unapologetic references to pot. And speaking of unapologetic, Hembree followed up in 2014 with Sorry Dude, a stout named sarcastically for North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un’s reaction to The Interview. Dad & Dudes also offered free beer for a year to the person who stole the bust of John Denver from the 1STBANK Center in Broomfield last October — as long as the statue was returned.
But the revelation that Dad & Dudes would brew Sativa IPA and Indica Double IPA using cannabidiol, or CBD, a non-psychoactive hemp extract, pushed the hype to a new high — so high, in fact, that the brewery recorded a clarification video (find it on the brewery’s Facebook page). “We got quite a bit of media attention, and it was exactly what we wanted,” Hembree says. “But some news outlets said we were making a marijuana-infused beer, or a pot-infused beer, so we needed to clear the air with our customers and investors.”
Not to mention the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Liquor Enforcement Division and the Brewers Association, which hosts the GABF every year. “Liquor enforcement called right away,” Hembree says. “But they gave us the green light.”