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Weed Weview Wewards 2024

All the things I tried and loved after a year and a half of sampling.

Folks, we are fast approaching a new era of THC. An era to explore, experiment, and refine our palates. Gone are the days of smoking ditch weed or eating stale homemade brownies. Now you can choose from hundreds of products made in Minnesota, and if you live in the Twin Cities, you probably have a weed shop within walking distance of your home.

But as with any overstocked market, there’s a lot of crap out there. A lot of drinks claim to be something they’re not. There are products that could knock you on your ass if you don’t know what you’re doing, and there are microdoses that aren’t worth your time. There are companies making drinks with horrendous artificial flavors, and THC mocktails that taste nothing like the drink they’re aping. That’s a bummer, man.

Since consumables became legal, I've been trying new stuff on a pretty regular basis—I think I’ve reviewed close to 80 products for Viraluae so far. And I gotta say, I am starting to develop some favorites. For Viraluae’s first (maybe annual?) Weed Weview Wewards (it’s the typo that keeps giving) I took a moment to go back through my monthly Weed Weviews and revisit some products I loved. This is by no means a set list; my weed palate is evolving as I try new stuff. I used to drink Boone’s Farm and MD 20/20 in college but I would never touch that stuff now, you know?

Last week people celebrated 4/20, a notable weed holiday (of murky origin). But as THC becomes increasingly legal throughout the country, 4/20 is about as special as National Taco Day or World Pizza Day. Both of those things are amazing and should be celebrated, but we’re eating tacos and pizzas year round, and soon weed will become as recreational as a pint of beer. 

Now that’s something to celebrate. 

Jessica Armbruster

Best Gummy Flavor (Candy): Minny Grown Peach-of-a-Day Gummies

My favorite from this Cannon River Valley Weed company is the sour peach, but I haven’t had a bad flavor from Minny Grown yet. The mango, berry, and clementine are all great, hitting that artificial sweet spot like a jelly bean or a Haribo confection. The packaging is adorable, and each variety comes with a midwestern name like St. Croix Tropical, So Superior, or Midwest Sunset. 

What I said at the time: “It has that ‘enjoying two beers in the backyard’ relaxation vibe.”

Honorable Mention: Sour Tangie Sativa Gummies

Jessica Armbruster

Best Gummy Flavor (Natural): No Coast Cannabis Co.’s Pâte de Fruit

I like these so much that I would buy the Vanilla Pear’adise flavor even without the THC. These are generously sized, jammy vegan gummies made with vanilla, pear, and balsamic vinegar. That sure sounds dang fancy, but these really just taste like a nugget of candied fig. So if you’re not into artificial candy flavors, this is the gummy for you. It’s one of the few I've tried that actually tastes like a fried fruit snack as opposed to a candy shop treat.

What I said at the time: “Classic gummy high without kicking you in the head. You can veg on the couch, you can take a sunny walk, you can bust out that tie-dye kit you’ve been meaning to use all summer.” 

Honorable Mention: Honestly? I have yet to find another type of gummy like this. I feel like there’s a hidden market for this—not everyone wants their THC treats to taste like it was made for kids.

Jessica Armbruster

Best THC Drink (Not So Sweet): Utopia Borealis Mapleau

Is this the most Minnesotan weed beverage out there right now? This tasty drink is made with Minnesota water, Minnesota hemp extracts, and Minnesota maple syrup. The sweetness is very mild; honestly the water is somehow showcased here, kinda like agave seltzer made with a midwestern twist. The 5 mg of THC and 5 mg of CBD also make for a light head buzz/body relaxation. 

What I said at the time: “This was a mild, smooth ride. Nothing here to knock you out, just vibes.”

Honorable Mention: Dangerous Man Brewing’s Canna Blissed Tonic, which tastes like an orange creamsicle for adults.

Jessica Armbruster

Best THC Drink (Sweet): Flying High’s Ecto Chill

This one’s for the people who lived off Mountain Dew in high school. A lot of THC sodas out there reside in a gray zone. They’re not truly sweet like a soda, but they have too much going on to be compared to a seltzer. Northeast Minneapolis distillery/restaurant Earl Giles goes full sugar mode here with its Ecto Chill, a neon green bevvy that tastes like undiluted frozen orange juice concentrate. This thing has 5 mg of THC and 10 mg of full spectrum CBD in it, but with the amount of sugar that’s probably in here it might as well be 15. Now if only any of the new Ghostbusters movies could take a stand this hard.

What I said at the time: “If you’re in the mood for a ridiculously green drink that tastes like Mountain Dew or the sweetest orange juice you’ve ever had in your life, you will love this.”

Honorable Mention: Minny Grown’s Moscow Moose

Jessica Armbruster

Best THC Drink (Microdose): Sharab Shrub’s Thai Basil Funky & Fresh Shrub n’ Bub

Do you like kombucha? Then you’re gonna love shrubs. These charming drinks are made with vinegar syrup and fresh herbs for a tart, sweet, grown-up soda-type beverage. Normally, you want to make these things at home for maximum freshness, but these Shrub n’ Bubs really nail it. These are herbaceous, refreshing, and, at 3 mg of THC per can, you’re not going to hit the floor when the buzz kicks in. (I mostly just get a small body buzz after a drinking one.) 

What I said at the time: “[When] I poured it into my glass people remarked that my drink smelled like a delicious herb garden”

Jessica Armbruster

Best THC (to Drink at a Bar): Fulton’s Sparkling THC Water

This was always gonna be a slam dunk for me because I think Fulton makes some of the best hard seltzers in town (shout out to the citrus ginger flavor). Their weed bubbly, coming in a 4.20 mg of THC (nice, nice) tastes very similar. They come in two flavors, lime and blood orange, and you can find them for sale at the brewery's North Loop taproom. 

What I said at the time: “Fulton is right by the Twins Stadium, and I could see people enjoying this before a Twins game. Think of it as a light beer; just like having a Lonely Blonde, but it’s THC.” 

Honorable Mention: Bauhaus’s Tetra

Jessica Armbruster

Best Tincture: Retro Bakery’s Unflavored THC Tincture

I was wary of this when I reviewed it during Weed Week and continued to feel shaky about it while trying it out a couple weeks later for a Weed Reviews column. I don’t know why I found weed tincture perplexing at first, but now I think tinctures are going to be a regular thing to keep in my kitchen. It’s such an easy way to boost up a mocktail, a glass of wine, pizza, ice cream… if you can dream it, then you can THC-it. The dropper makes it easy to micro- or maxi-dose, it’s flavorless, and the bottle I purchased is still good six months later. 

What I said at the time: “Since I am new to this type of THC consumption, I felt I needed to experiment more to fully understand its ways and how to maximize its benefits.” 

Honorable Mention: BLNCD Fuse 10

Jessica Armbruster

Best Caramels: BLNCD’s Chocolate THC Caramels

These caramels taste like the real deal. I’m talking about the kind of caramel you make in your kitchen or buy from a classy candy shop—none of that rock hard Rolo bullshit. These are buttery, soft, melty, and legit hit the spot if you want a nice bit of after dinner chocolate. One serving has 5 mg of THC, and while it takes awhile to hit, these do come on strong. Also, at $25 for five pieces, that’s a pretty good deal.

What I said at the time: “Eat these with dinner and then stream a movie; it’ll hit you about halfway through.”

Honorable Mention: Baja Ontario’s Pumpkin Spice Soft Caramels

Jessica Armbruster

Best Chocolates: Retro Bakery’s Dark Chocolate Bar with Sea Salt

Are you looking for an elevated THC chocolate experience? I’m sorry, but that does not yet exist in Minnesota. We all know that American-made chocolate can be good, but it's never great. In my sampling I have definitely come across THC chocolates on par with what I call “sad chocolate”: the weird waxy stuff that comes in advent calendars and shitty V-Day hearts wrapped in tin foil. Thankfully, Retro Bakery is far above that level. Sometimes a stoner gets a hankering for a Hershey’s, a Chocolove, or a Tony Maloney bar. The Retro Bakery confections hit that spot and are delicious, but don’t be surprised if a European side-eyes you after trying one.

What I said at the time: “While these could be good if you want to walk to a movie or play a board game in a pub with a friend, I definitely wouldn’t go to a concert or try to interact at a large party.”

Honorable Mention: Baja Ontario’s S’mores Chocolate Bar

Jessica Armbruster

Best Cookie: No Coast’s Brown Butter Palvorónes

Polvorónes, aka Mexican wedding cookies, are a crumbly, shortbread-like treat. These are buttery, rich, and so good. Though they’re 5 mg a piece I generally have found them to be pretty mild, high-wise, so you probably won’t be too baked if you wanted to sneak another one 30 minutes in. 

What I said at the time: “Ever had Walkers shortbread or those Royal Dansk cookies that come in the blue tin?”

Honorable Mention: Retro Bakery’s Chocolate Covered Cookies (just like chocolate-dipped Oreos)

Jessica Armbruster

Best Honey: High Honey’s Honey Sticks

When THC was legalized in Minnesota, I never would have imagined that weed honey would be a thing—or that I would come across it so often. I’ve tried quite a few varieties that come in jars, but I’ve found that dosing and usage in that type of packaging can be a conundrum. The answer to that problem? Honey sticks. These come pre-portioned in easy to consume little tubes. Drink them straight from the packaging, or squeeze one out into a drink (it’s good on toast and ice cream, too). I also like that these taste like honey, not weed. 

What I said at the time: “Are you someone who loves those little honey sticks they sell in the Ag-Hort Building at the State Fair? This might be the THC vehicle for you.” 

Honorable Mention: Dankadance Canna Honey

Jessica Armbruster

Strongest Product (So Far): Flipside’s THC-Infused Drink Additive

You know those fast-acting glucose gel packs long distance runners use? These are kinda like that, but with liquid ganja. One packet contains 5 mg of THC per bag (and 25 mg CBD) and at $4.50 a pop, they cost about as much as a domestic beer on happy hour. You can add as much or as little as you want to a drink, or be a weirdo like me and try it straight outta the bag. This stuff comes on so strong that Flipside shop owners warned me to start with a half dose to gauge how much you need–that’s sound advice. So you’re kinda micro-dosing yet getting a maxi-high.

What I said at the time: “I think a lot of people won’t like it straight, and it's not made to be consumed that way, but if you like wheatgrass shots (I do!) you might enjoy just drinking it solo (I honestly would do it again, sorry not sorry!).”

Honorable Mentions: BLNCD Fuse 10, and pretty much any gummy from Baha Ontario (great job, guys!)

Jessica Armbruster

Best Microdose: Billy Goat’s Hard Candies

At 2 mg of Delta 9 and 2 mg of CBD per candy, these are a great way to get a super-mild little buzz. They taste good, too–just like a Life Saver. Or, if you’re a child of the ‘90s, these are exactly like Life Savers Holes, tiny candies that were eventually discontinued because tots and kids were choking on them. So, uh, be careful if you try these. But if you’re looking for a whisper of weed, these are great.

What I said at the time: “The buzz is definitely high energy... Don’t mess with them before bed though; the sugar plays into the high you get.”

Honorable Mention: Fizzy Mints from Fizzy THC

Jessica Armbruster

Best Collab: Baja Ontario’s Gigi’s Cherry Pucker Gummies

You may know local luminary Gigi Berry for her hyperlocal stickers and pins, for judging seed art at the State Fair, or teaching us about the ins and outs of medical marijuana. So when we heard that Berry was teaming up with Minnesota-based Baja Ontario for a THC gummy, our expectations were, um, high. And the hype was real. So real that, over half a year later, these gummies are still some of my favorites in town. These buddies aren’t overly sour, so don’t go in expecting something at the Sour Patch Kids level. They're more like Luden Cough Drops with a forward tartness and a dank weed finish. Also, the packaging for these are super pretty and shiny, which is appropriate because stoners love shiny things. 

What I said at the time: “These hit pretty strong, and often give a little spike of energy, making them great for cleaning your home or organizing a closet.” 

Honorable Mention: I can’t wait to try Jesse Ventura Farms/Retro Bakery’s mega THC collab, The 38th Governor's Selection Collection, but I need some time to make my way through all the stuff they made together. (Click here to read our wide-ranging weed talk with Gov. Ventura.)

Jessica Armbruster

Best Innovation: Doctor Dabs Seasoning

Weed spice? I never knew I needed this, but I sure am glad I have it in my life. The good doctor, aka Clemon Dabney, PhD, has a variety of THC-laced spice mixes. It’s super easy to use, as there’s a little scooper inside the bag that helps you figure out dosages. I’ve added this to mac ‘n’ cheese, guacamole, red pasta sauce, popcorn, and rice. Choose from Cajun, Southwest, and Nashville Hot Chicken seasoning.

What I said at the time: “The THC didn’t hit me, it wrapped me in a warm blanket that kept me cozy, but not drowsy or overheated, for a good hour.”

Jessica Armbruster

Most Versatile Product: Fizzy THC’s Fizzy Cubes

Look, sometimes I get really burned out from trying sodas. A lot of ‘em are duds, taste kinda off, or are just hard to drink in a timely manner. So when I picked up these tiny little weed cubes I found myself realizing that I needed a break where I could enjoy THC without wildcards. These cubes can be added to anything, turning your favorite beverages into a THC party time like magic. These aren’t powerful enough to flavor a drink (that’s not the point here anyway) but when I tried these my burned out tastebuds delighted in the familiar. I can add these to my favorite sparkling water, to my evening tea, to some lite beer–whatever I want. That’s pretty dang handy. At 2.5 mg each, you can opt to microdose or layer up for a stronger drink. 

What I said at the time: “These are fuuuuun! Dropping them into a drink and watching them dissolve is a delightful bit of ASMR and a fun novelty when sharing with friends.”  

Honorable Mention: Retro Bakery Infused Sugar

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