I was driving by the Hy-Vee liquor on State Line Rd. the other day and decided to grab a mixed 6-pack of summer-y beers. More reviews to come on those soon, but I have never had a hemp beer, so even though it’s one of O’Fallon’s winter seasonals, I grabbed a Black Hemp Black Ale, too.

This is an “American Black Ale” brewed with hemp seeds (no, they won’t make you high, so let’s get that out of the way right now). O’Fallon’s website has nothing about the beer, so I’m going blind on this one.

It pours like a stout or porter, black with a thin head and some amber highlights in the corners of the glass. Aroma is mostly malty with a tiny bit of roast. There is something faintly and unpleasantly “biological” in an almost urine-y sense on the aroma, too.

The mouthfeel is pretty nice, a little carbonation but a pretty substantial body. The flavors are malty, with some hop balance but nothing that jumps out. There is a slightly spicy/peppery kick on the aftertaste that lingers, but rye was also used in the production of this beer, so I suspect that is the rye and not attributable to the hemp. I have no idea what hemp seeds would do for a beer, but I’ve had them in granola and they don’t taste like anything to me. Maybe they contribute something to the mouthfeel, like oatmeal does? There is a slight slickness to the beer similar to oatmeal, so I’d be curious to know if that’s from the hemp. Actually, with a big sip I get a tiny window of a flavor that I’ve had from granola that has hemp, so it’s a flavor you can actually pick up now that I’ve gotten calibrated. I still thing the pepperiness is from rye, and the hemp flavor is tough to describe, but it is there and it is notable and pleasant, I just can’t really find words to describe it for you (great reviewer, huh? LOL).

Otherwise there is nothing really notable about the beer. It’s very neutral and unfortunately a little boring. I’m far from blown away by this. It’s not bad, but there’s nothing here that would make me want to drink it again. It’s drinkable and balanced, so it’s go well with beef or pork, I think, but it’s just kind of boring to me.

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