Hippies of the world rejoice, you can now legally imbibe the nectar of your gods... somewhat. It seems as though hemp has been [justifiably] making inroads into the food market, particularly in health food stores, and not solely as a ploy to capitalize on the break-up of Phish and the resultant spike in the hippie population's disposable income. Who am I kidding? Hippies don't have any money to spare. But no need to worry as Hemp Dream, a hemp seed based milk substitute, doesn't cost all too much and also comes in a sweet tie-dyed container that can double as a decorative piece.
Hemp seed is a great source of Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids which are, as their name implies, essential for maintaining bodily well-being and have an integral link to cardiac health. Essential fatty acids cannot be synthesized by the body from other components and therefore must be obtained via the diet. Hemp seeds are also said to contain all essential amino acids, the very building blocks of life, and significant levels of Manganese and Magnesium. In addition to the nutrients supplied by the hemp seed itself, Hemp Dream is fortified with Vitamins A, B12, D, and Calcium.
As with other milk substitutes, one of the main selling points of hemp milk is that it contains no lactose, for the lactose intolerant individuals amongst us. (But really, what do you find so intolerable about lactose anyway? Don't you think you're being a little too biased? It's the year 2009, we're all about tolerance. What did lactose ever do to you? Bloating, gas, and cramps? Ok, fair enough, but try to be a little more forgiving in the future.) Additionally, for those with other allergies or dietary restrictions, hemp milk is free of soy, gluten, and cholesterol.
I really enjoyed my carton of Oat Milk and was looking forward to trying the Hemp Dream out, hoping that it could match the Oatly in terms of its taste and refreshing quality. Visually the two drinks are very similar. Cloudy, off-white, and slightly less opaque than skim milk. The scent is hard to pin down. There is a slight vegetative or grainy quality but overall it's fairly weak and can only be aptly described as smelling wet.
I'm torn by the taste. I got the unflavored kind in order to better experience the true nature of hemp milk but it is also available in chocolate and vanilla. It's not drastically different from soy milk, rice milk, or oat milk and has a slight nutty flavor. Sometimes I enjoy it, other times I struggle to swallow my mouthful. I can't quite discern what quality it possesses that occasionally makes me want to retch but I do strongly recommend drinking it chilled. As the liquid warms it becomes unpalatable and I assume this is primarily a factor of the texture rather than the taste. Cold, cloudy water? Should be fine. Tepid, cloudy water? That's a no-go.
As far as milk substitutes go, oat milk gets my firm backing but this one has some great nutritional advantages. Strongly recommended for lactose intolerant hippies and vegetarians looking for a good source of essential fatty acids. However, I urge you to drink with caution. Hemp milk is a gateway beverage and can end up ruining your life and causing undue harm to your loved ones. But in all seriousness, the greater adoption of hemp as a viable food, material, and fuel crop would really be in the best interest of us all. Negative associations and potential misuse aside, this truly is one incredible plant and it's a shame it has been so vilified for its uses as an intoxicant.