Redhook Brewery and Hilliard’s Beer Spark Up a Joint (Effort)

Below is the official press release about this, but Redhook and me are buddies from the old neighborhood so I got a bit of a jump on this one. Redhook Brewery is about to announce the release of a collaborative beer brewed with Hillard’s Beer. Joint Effort Summer Session Ale is rumored to be a beer brewed to celebrate the passage of initiative 502, which legalized marijuana in Washington.

The relationship between Redhook and Hilliard’s began when some of the Redhook brewery team decided to go barhopping in the old neighborhood: Ballard, where Redhook was born more than 30 years ago and which is now home to six, or seven, or eight, or however many Breweries.

Some time ago, I was hanging out at Reuben’s Brews in Ballard with Karmen Olson, Redhook Brand Manager. We were talking about beer (imagine that) and I was sharing stories about the old days when Redhook was the only brewery in Ballard. I am, after all, very old.

As I regaled her with my fascinating yarns of late night craziness at the old brewery, I could tell that Karmen was thinking about something. I hoped that she was hatching a plan for the brewery’s return to Ballard, the stream that spawned Redhook more than 30 years ago. (I still think a Redhook satellite brewery and pub in the old neighborhood would be extremely cool. Maybe just a pilot brewery and taproom. The old transmission shop is currently empty. Just sayin’.)

Sometime later, Karmen and a few of the other folks from Redhook went brewery hopping in Ballard. The adventure included some time at the Hilliard’s Beer taproom. That’s what sparked the relationship between the two breweries. An idea got bubbling and before too long smoke was rising. Plans for a collaborative beer were soon in the works.

I’ve learned that Joint Effort is a session ale brewed with hemp seeds. It is dry-hopped with Zeus, Cascade,  and Summit hops. It has a dank and resinous aroma that is balanced by the earthiness of the hemp seeds. A great cure for cotton mouth, it goes well with all sorts of munchies, and weighs in at 5.6 percent ABV and about 25 IBU.

The beer, which will be from a lovely tap handle shaped like a big yellow bong, will be available in its draft form starting on July 15th. It will be released in October in 22-ounce bottles. The beer will be available in Washington only. Use the beer finder at to find Joint Effort on tap.

Here is the press release, I’ll let it fill in the details.


Old School Meets New School in Ballard as Top Seattle Breweries Brew New Beer to Celebrate Legalization of Marijuana

SEATTLE – July 11, 2013 – Redhook Brewery, the Northwest’s original craft brew, announced today the release of “Joint Effort,” a new hemp beer brewed in collaboration with Seattle’s Hilliard’s Beer that celebrates the legalization of marijuana in Washington State.*

The relationship between the two breweries began with a Ballard bar-hopping trip down memory lane for Redhook’s brewing team. The area where it all started for Redhook in 1981 has since become known as the “Redhook District” and is a haven for beer lovers with a number of notable breweries opening and thriving. Among those is Hilliard’s Beer, founded in October 2011 by Ryan Hilliard and Adam Merkl.

“We have a real appreciation for the brewing energy in Ballard right now. Thirty years ago Redhook was exactly where guys like Hilliard’s, Reuben’s Brews and Populuxe are today,” said Karmen Olson, Redhook Brand Manager. “We’re stoked to be working with our friends at Hilliard’s and to raise a pint to our Emerald City heritage.”

Joint Effort is a session ale brewed with hemp seeds. Dry-hopped with Zeus, Cascade, Summit hops, Joint Effort has a dank, resinous hop aroma balanced by nutty, earthiness from hemp seeds. It’s the perfect brew for hanging with your buds, grabbing some munchies and enjoying a beer. ABV 5.6%, IBU 25.

“We’re really excited to release Joint Effort with Redhook because we have a lot of respect for how they helped shape craft beer in Washington,” said Hilliard’s Beer co-founder Ryan Hilliard. “It’s the first collaboration beer either of us has done with another brewery and it’s fitting they started in Ballard a few blocks from where we are. Voting to legalize marijuana use in Washington is another example of the pioneering spirit that makes this state so great.”

In keeping with Redhook’s reputation for creating imaginative tap handles, Joint Effort will be poured by a handle shaped like a bright yellow bong. Joint Effort will be available on draught only beginning July 15th and will launch in 22oz bottles under the Blueline Series in late October. The beer will be available in Washington State only. Locations can be found using Redhook’s “Beer Finder” at

* Initiative 502, passed by voters in November 2012, legalized possession and use of moderate amounts of marijuana in Washington State.

About Redhook

Redhook was born out of the energy and spirit of the early 80’s in the heart of Seattle. While the term didn’t exist at the time, Redhook became one of America’s first “craft” breweries. From a modest start in a former transmission shop in the Seattle neighborhood of Ballard, to the current breweries in Woodinville, WA and Portsmouth, NH, Redhook has become one of America’s most recognized craft breweries.

While Redhook has “grown up” over the past 30 years, one thing has never changed – Redhook is still brewing great beers like ESB, Long Hammer IPA, and Audible Ale. Most importantly, Redhook has fun doing it. Redhook beers are available both on draught and in bottles around the country. For more information, visit

Twitter and Instagram: @Redhook_Brewery


About Hilliard’s Beer

Hilliard’s Beer was founded by Ryan Hilliard and Adam Merkl in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood in 2011. With a focus on great, craft beer in cans and made with the best ingredients available, Hilliard’s can be appreciated by both the informed and informal beer drinker. Available in locations throughout the Pacific Northwest, look for Hilliard’s signature tallboy cans of Amber, Blonde, Pils, and Saison as well as draft beers like Chrome Satan and Nautical Reference Pale Ale.

Visit Hilliard’s Ballard taproom, which has become one of Seattle’s ‘go-to’ spaces for beer, food trucks, and events.

Twitter and Instagram: @HilliardsBeer