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AbsoluteXtracts SuperCritical Vape Cartridges

These hop-based blends haven’t earned their three cheers quite yet.

There is nothing quite like a nice cold beer, but with the release of AbsoluteXtracts’ SuperCritical vape cartridges, there is now a way to get two vices for the price of one.

As you may recall, beloved Petaluma brewing behemoth Lagunitas released a limited beer last year made in conjunction with AbsoluteXtracts. It was also called SuperCritical Ale, and it incorporated cannabis terpenes to create a brew that contained no THC but had plenty of flavor plucked straight from everyone’s favorite crop.

As a novelty, SuperCritical was a must-try, but it was hard to imagine ever yearning for a six-pack — unless you’ve always wanted the chance to drink an alcoholic forest. However, as an experiment, it was a resounding success. No question: This was a beer that tasted like weed.

Now the other leaf has fallen with the release of AbsoluteXtracts’ vape cartridges, which take hop terpenes like Mosaic and Citra and incorporate them in two new blends that add a taste of ale to your toke. While adding in generic hop terpenes would be intriguing enough, it should be noted that AbsoluteXtract has gone the extra mile by treating these terpenes with Lagunitas’ proprietary recipes in an attempt to make them taste just like the brews many of us in Northern California know and love.

So did they succeed?

In a word: mostly. The first cartridge, “Hop Cannon,” bills itself as a recipe for the IPA fan. This means the hop flavoring is stronger, and of the two, the taste is definitely more noticeable here. I think part of how strongly you’ll taste the hops depends on how deep a toke you take. Given the high potency of both “Hop Cannon” and “Stereoterpical” — more on that one in a second — this means if you want the full experience, you might need to keep your schedule clear before getting down to business.

Provided you’re willing to take this ale adventure, you’ll definitely get hints of Lagunitas’ signature IPA, with notes of malt and caramel. They don’t linger past inhalation, but the experience is fairly remarkable — not least of all because it’s fun to have a science project you can smoke.

The other entry in the series is the puntastic “Stereoterpical,” which targets crispy, citrus-forward ales. There are plenty of fish in the fruit-flavored vape cartridge sea, so my immediate reaction was one of skepticism. It’s enough to get hints of hops in a product that predominantly tastes like marijuana, but to target fruity notes in those hops without burying the lede?

Alas, “Stereoterpical” doesn’t quite live up to the challenge. Across several taste tests, I found the hops and citrus notes muddled. While they might be fairly noticeable in one puff, they were hard to detect the next time. When the flavor was more dominant, it did have a hint of sweetness mixed in with the hops, a profile reminiscent of Lagunitas’ limited-release “Citrusineensis” Pale Ale.

However, it feels like one shouldn’t have to work this hard to find the flavor in something marketed so specifically for how it tastes. I fully appreciate that there are limitations to what can be done with terpenes and the process by which cartridge concentrates are created, but sometimes great ideas simply don’t pan out. The good news is that many cannabis consumers love the taste of the original, so while efforts like these two blends from AbsoluteXtracts are enticing, it’s not like the terpene profiles built into quality marijuana need to be changed in the first place.

Still, it’s only fair to assume that more flavor experiments are coming as the industry continues to diversify its offerings. AbsoluteXtracts should be lauded for picking a beloved brewery like Lagunitas for this inaugural release. Let’s hope as the recipe is further refined, the tastes continue to bring us closer to a day when we can truly sesh our favorite suds.

Rating:

“Hop Cannon”: 3/5

“Stereoterpical”: 2.5/5