As a layer of smoke slowly covers Washington, it felt somewhat appropriate to try a hemp seed based beer. Uinita has released just that, the appropriately titled Dubhe.
This is an imperial black IPA, weighing in at a hefty 9.2% ABV. Many have, for unknown reasons, called it an exceptional beer. I don't get it. To me this is the beer equivalent of UB40: somewhat bland, but pleasant enough.
It pours a dark brown, borderline black, color with just a finger or so of a semi-tan head. Pretty much exactly what you'd expect from a black IPA.
Hops dominate the nose, well flanked by malts. This is also where you'll kind of notice the hemp seeds, or so I assume. I'm not a hemp expert, but there is a scent kind of tying the hops and malts together. I wouldn't say it's a pleasant small, but there you go.
Flavor wise... I don't know, there's nothing here that'll blow your mind. I mean, apparently it does blow some people's minds, but what do they really know? The hops are sort of there, though not quite where I'd expect an imperial IPA to be. The maltiness comes through well enough, but I'll be damned if I can pick up on anything weird or wonderful added by the hemp. Maybe it helps accentuate the not-so-unpleasant citric finish, I don't know.
It's not that Dubhe -- say it out loud, and feel free to snicker -- is a bad beer, it's just duller than an imperial black IPA should be. There's not too much going on here, and the hemp seed claim feels a bit gimmicky.
Other people seems to like it though, so give it a shot. I'm sure many college kids would find you to be quite edgy.