For this beer and cannabis pairing, we tried the tropical combination of the indica-leaning hybrid Pineapple Kush, alongside Ballast Point’s crisp and refreshing Pineapple Sculpin IPA. Together, this pairing features fresh, activating aromas that belie a decidedly mellow effect from the indica traits, and from the IPA’s high alcohol and hops content.

 

Ballast Point - Pineapple Sculpin IPA

Photo by: Amber DeGrace

Photo by: Amber DeGrace

Ballast Point is an award winning, San Diego based, west-coast favorite brewery. Their Sculpin IPA is particularly popular, having won dozens of awards since 2007. Their Pineapple Sculpin variation itself took home the Bronze in this year’s Australian International Beer Awards.  This tropical spin on the company’s flagship IPA adds fruity pineapple notes to an IPA that already boasted bold tropical hop aromas.


With 7 percent alcohol and a bitterness level of 70 IBUs, I was expecting a challenging experience, as someone who has a hard time with intense IPAs and other hop-forward beer offerings. Still, I was interested to see how the pineapple flavor might alter the equation for my normally hop-averse pallet – especially alongside the complementary notes of Pineapple Kush.

 

 

Pineapple Kush

The parents of this indica-leaning hybrid are Pineapple and the perennially crowd pleasing OG Kush, Ieading me to expect a balanced, easygoing, right down the middle, hybrid experience. This batch, obtained on Goddess Delivers delivery service, comes from Water Dog Herb Farm and tested at 19.6 percent THC.


The first thing you may notice opening the jar is a bright, fruity aroma that differs greatly from the mellow and even muted scents of common indica strains. It’s immediately clear that this strain has been bred for flavor. While bold, the aroma is not pungent, leaning more towards a more generally likeable, candy-like, slightly sour citrus scent. While fruity, the aroma is a complex mixture of sweet, sour, and earthy, with just barely detectable notes of grapefruit and the pickled ginger that is often served with sushi. The aroma does not particularly scream pineapple to me.
The buds are dense and compact, with a color pallet of bright greens and orange that leans toward the yellow end of the cannabis color spectrum.


On smoking or vaping Pineapple Kush, the aromas become much fruitier and sweeter, especially on the exhale. The taste is smooth and easy, not overpowering, and without the borderline repellant notes of some more pungent strains. This is an easy to like flavor, with floral notes like honeysuckle or orange blossom, along with fruitier notes that suggest pears or melons.


The Tasting

Pineapple Kush Hyrbrid

Even before the first sip of the IPA, you may notice that the fruity taste on the exhale closely resembles the first aromas on opening the bottle of Sculpin. The tastes blend nicely, though the stronger IPA taste may overshadow the lighter notes of the Kush. Nonetheless, the overlap of citrusy bite and grapefruity hops helps the flavors complement each other nicely. Besides the fairly strong hop presence, the fruity pineapple note adds a bite, distinct from the hoppiness, that really helps to balance the potentially bitter hops. At 70 IBUs, I found this surprisingly easy to drink, especially while cold.


As with most cannabis and beer pairings, don’t expect to get much done after this. The effect of the Kush is certainly indica-leaning, and alongside the 7 percent alcohol and the sedative effect of the hops themselves, expect laziness and couchlock to quickly set in within an hour. With that being said, Pineapple Kush is not the most sleep-inducing strain around, so the pairing should leave you with just enough energy to continue socializing – or at least to remain upright for a few more hours.
Pineapple Kush is great for treating stress, in addition to nausea and pain. For stress, an occasional pairing with a hop-heavy beer such as Pineapple Sculpin may help to enhance these properties after a long-day.


For both the IPA and the Kush, I found that any pineapple notes were partially lost among stronger flavors – but in each case, a citrusy bite adds much needed balance, to the strong hoppy component of the IPA, and to the sweetness of the Kush. What begins as an invigorating taste experience gradually melts into pure relaxation.