The Weekly Review covers — A new brew hits Melbourne: The Hempire is here

Project Description

by Michael Harden

In case you hadn’t noticed, the law prohibiting human consumption of hemp in Australia was officially overturned on November 12. And, in an example of peak Australianness, three blokes who own a brewery have celebrated the occasion by making a hemp-flavoured beer. Human consumption of hemp has been banned in Australia since the 1900s due to its association with marijuana. Hemp and marijuana both come from the cannabis sativa plant but hemp uses the non-intoxicating parts.

So why hemp-flavoured beer? Co-owner of Melbourne’s East 9th Brewing Benjamin Cairns admits there was a ‘‘because we can’’ element to making Doss Blockos Hempire Hemp Ale, but adds it was also because “hemp delivers a taste profile that no one has experienced before”. The flavour comes via crushed Australian-grown organic hemp seeds added after fermentation. “The hemp brings a delicate, subtle nuttiness and a little smokiness to the ale,” says Benjamin. “It also adds a creamy texture.”

When he established East 9th Brewing with mates Stephen Wools and Josh Lefers in 2008, they decided early on a key part of their business plan was to push boundaries. So it’s appropriate that theirs is the first hemp beer on the market here. “We’d tried hemp beer in America and started experimenting more than 12 months ago,” he says. “We wanted to be ready to kick off when the law changed.”


Doss Blockos Hempire Hemp Ale \ is available only on tap at present.

● See for a tap map.