New Belgium’s The Hemperor HPA Blends Hops and Hemp for a Sensory Revelation

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(FORT COLLINS) The next big thing in hoppy beer is here. Say hello to The Hemperor HPA. New Belgium Brewing’s new year-round release offers a mystical marriage of hops and hemp that fills the senses with a ground-breaking blend of herbal olfactory like no other beer on the market.

“Let’s face it, brewers have been trying to get cannabis-like aromas from hops for years, but it’s always missing a certain something,” said Ross Koenigs, New Belgium’s Research and Development Brewer. “The Hemperor HPA is possibly the first beer to deliver meaningful hemp flavors and aromas.”

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The Hemperor HPA showcases the game-changing union of hops and hemp, plants genetically related that produce similar organic aromatic compounds known as terpenes. This ale is brewed with hemp hearts (the meat of the seed, minus the shell) and dry-hopped with Simcoe and experimental HBC 522 hops to create a dank, pungent hop aroma balanced by a sweet, mildly bitter finish. Federal law prohibits brewers from using hemp leaf and flower, so New Belgium brewers found a creative solution using other natural plant materials that perfectly emulate those hemp terpenes. The Hemperor HPA contains no THC or CBD. 

“This beer has been over two years in the making, most of the time spent learning and reacting to laws that really suppress this crop’s usage,” Koenigs said of the beer that is currently banned in Kansas. “Flavor-wise, this is the beer we wanted to make, but due to misinformed laws governing the use of industrial hemp, we had to take a creative and long-winding road to get to this point. We’re happy with where we landed, and we’ll be working to change federal regulation so that one day we can brew The Hemperor HPA with hemp flowers and leaves as we originally envisioned.”

The restrictive regulatory process around brewing The Hemperor HPA gives New Belgium the opportunity and platform to raise awareness around the social, environmental and economic benefits of industrial hemp. Beer drinkers will be encouraged to learn more and take action at New Belgium is also partnering with GCH Inc, the company founded by Willie Nelson and family to build brands inspired by his journey as an artist and advocate, in supporting the national campaign, Hemp 4 Victory, One dollar from every barrel of The Hemperor HPA sold will be donated to Hemp 4 Victory in support of its mission to raise awareness and promote pro-hemp bills in the House & Senate.

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“Hemp has such a diverse set of benefits to the environment, to industry and to American farmers,” said singer-songwriter Micah Nelson. “This campaign will bring attention to the spectrum of products and businesses that will improve when industrial hemp is free to thrive in the US.” Micah Nelson, Willie Nelson’s youngest son, serves on the advisory board for the Hemp 4 Victory campaign, and has served on the board of directors for the National Hemp Association.

“We’re incredibly excited to be working with New Belgium and GCH, Inc. – Willie Nelson’s family of brands – to raise awareness around this wrongfully marginalized and highly sustainable crop,” said Hemp 4 Victory Advisor and former Bernie Sanders’ Deputy Campaign Manager, Rania Batrice. “We’ll be asking legislators to work toward hemp modernization throughout the year. Staying engaged and taking action is the best way people can help the cause.”

The Hemperor HPA is available on draft beginning April 2, with 12 oz. bottles arriving across the nation on May 21st.

The HemperorTM HPA®

Malts: Pale, White Wheat and Midnight Wheat Hops: Nugget, Cascade, HBC 522 and Simcoe Yeast: Ale Color: Light golden Aroma: Herbal cannabis in a big way ABV: 7% IBU: 55 Special ingredients: Hemp hearts and natural flavor

For more information about New Belgium or any of its beers, visit

Facts About Hemp

Hemp is a sustainable and beneficial crop for many reasons:

  • Hemp is a low-impact food and fiber crop, requiring less acreage and fewer herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers than most commercial crops.
  • Uses 1/5 the water of cotton.
  • Repairs contaminated soils while producing a revenue-generating harvest
  • Generates higher revenue per acre for farmers. Farmers can sell various parts of single crop (stalk, flowers, and seeds) to multiple customers.
  • If hemp laws are modernized, the U.S. will realize an estimated multi-billion dollar industry.

Hemp played a major role in American history:  

  • Federal government called on American farmers to grow hemp for World War II supplies with the Hemp for Victory campaign. More on hemp’s history in U.S.:
  • The First American flag was made from hemp
  • Early paper money in the US was made from hemp
  • Wagon trains heading west were covered by hemp canvas
  • Hemp sails carried our first Navy ships through sea
  • George Washington grew hemp
  • Henry Ford’s first Model-T was designed to run on hemp fuel.
  • Henry Ford created a vehicle prototype that used bioplastics (including hemp and other fiber crops like wheat, cotton, soy, and corn). It was deemed successful, but shortly after WWII ended and steel moved back in.

Hemp has many uses, some of which are restricted by outdated laws

  • Fabric – clothing, canvas, rope
  • Food – Omega 3 oils replace fish oils & reduce overfishing, flour, milk, seeds, protein powder, animal feed
  • Beer – as a compliment and alternative to hops for unique flavor
  • Soil health – extracts contaminants from the soils, adds nitrogen
  • Health & Beauty – cosmetics, etc.
  • Other – plastic, hempcrete alternative to sheet rock, lubricants, erosion control alternative to coconut matting

About New Belgium Brewing

New Belgium Brewing, makers of Fat Tire Belgian Style Ale and a host of Belgian-inspired beers, is recognized as one of Outside Magazine’s Best Places to Work, one of the Wall Street Journal’s Best Small Businesses and tops Bicycling Magazine’s Best Companies for Cyclists. The 100% employee-owned brewery is a Platinum-level Bicycle Friendly Business as designated by the League of American Bicyclists, one of World Blu’s most democratic U.S. businesses, and a Certified B Corp. In addition to Fat Tire Belgian Style Ale, New Belgium brews fifteen year-round beers: Citradelic Tangerine IPA, Fat Tire Belgian White, Voodoo Ranger IPA, Voodoo Ranger Imperial IPA, Voodoo Ranger 8 Hop Pale Ale, Voodoo Ranger Juicy Haze IPA, Sour Saison, Honey Orange Tripel, Dayblazer Easygoing Ale, Tartastic Fruit Beer Series, 1554 Black Lager, Bohemian Pilsner, Abbey Belgian Style Ale, Trippel and a gluten-reduced beer, Glutiny Pale Ale. To learn more, visit and follow the brewery on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.