Draught Picks Reviews Bison Brewing

I don’t care much for nature. My inner hippie tells me we’re all supposed to embrace Gaia and her resplendent world, but then I remember that’s the same voice that is constantly daring me to smoke anything in reach.

“No, dude, seeeeriously. It’ll be way smoother than the inner tube we smoked. Just try it!”

When I say “nature”, most of you probably envision a serene forest scene suitable for urging a princess into spontaneous song. But beneath that veneer is a world designed to promote savagery and death. Observe:

1) Nature Loves Death More Than Swedish Metal Bands

I’m not taking issue with the whole circle of life thing (though I am a little disappointed I’ve already resorted to a second Disney reference). Things eat things to make room for new things. However, as highly evolved omnivores our need to feed off other creatures should be long past. There’s only one problem – nature made animals freakin delish. All nature had to do to prevent needless suffering was make carrots taste like ribeye, but nooooo…

2) Nature Plays A Fixed Game

If we wish to indulge our higher faculties and create devices more complex than a windsock, we need a power source. Burning the freely available energy-dense fossil fuels nature has given us assures we’ll all die prematurely from carcinogenic fumes, pollution or overhead power lines. Or we can reject technology outright, live clean, simple lives as cave people, and then get done in by a hangnail at the same age since antibiotics don’t exist.

3) Nature is a Nazi Sympathizer

Currently unconfirmed, but how else do you explain this?

Remember, nature is not our friend. Despite what images like the following suggest, nature isn’t nestling us in her embrace. That’s a chokehold.

She should really be interlocking her hands. Mother Nature’s form is terrible.

This is why I opt for pollution and waste whenever possible. For example, rather than grabbing a broom to sweep off my driveway, I usually opt to wash the leaves away.  Also, instead of using the hose I flush debris by dumping radioactive drums of DDT. It does a mediocre job at best, but no one ever said exacting a self-nullifying vendetta was easy.  Unfortunately there are still a few pesky do-gooders like Bison Brewing hellbent on negating my efforts.  Every single one of the beers they produce is 100% organic.  That is no small feat. Since organic farmers are still the exception and not the rule, the ingredients they generate are both limited and expensive. Bison beers can cost 2 to 3 times more to produce than a non-organic equivalent, but profits are not their primary motivator.  One need only look at their last seasonal release to know that:

The real trick was finding organic money to make this with

Going organic isn’t just a marketing ploy for them either. Their site shares that the EPA attributes 70% of the pollution in our rivers and streams to conventional farming  It would be 100%, but it turns out fish poop right in the water.  Fish, I can appreciate that crapping on land would be tricky for you, but that’s just nasty.

At least pinch it off before you leave the house, Gil!

Some maintain that organic ingredients don’t have the same punch as their non-organic equivalents. In my correspondence with Bison Brewing they had this to say:

If you find an organic beer that you particularly don’t enjoy, DO NOT blame the ingredients. Instead, look to the brewer.

Fair enough. In deference to Bison Brewing’s wishes, I promise to make any all criticisms of their beer a scathing personal attack on their brewing team.  Any of those folks reading right now might want to start looking at Groupons for therapy sessions.

Honey Basil Ale (6.0% ABV)

This ruddy brew has a subtle haze to it. The nose is nectary with an aroma more herbal than evocative of basil.

While basil and honey were not a pair I felt were destined for greatness, they harmonize really nicely. It’s got just enough mead character to highlight the honey’s presence, but doesn’t veer into cloying sweetness. The basil performs a hop-like role, cutting the sweetness further. The finish is somewhere between basil and mint, making it very refreshing.

This is a pretty remarkable and unique summer ale that I would happily sip on year ‘round. I recommend serving it in a pesticide-rimmed pint glass just to stick it those damn hippies.

Grade: A

Bison IPA (6% ABV)

While any IPA has an uphill battle to awake my hop-hardened palate, this one is potentially gimped by simple logistics. Only about 25% of hop varietals are grown organically, which means Bison Brewing doesn’t have access to many of the sexier choices. If there was ever better evidence of a brewery loving the earth than being willing to say no to hops, I’ve never heard it.

This bright, amber brew was a bit worrisome to start. Simply stated, it was not a brazen attack on my nose. An IPA’s olfactory gamut often foretells the delightful hurtin it’s about to lay on you, but this was very mild. However, it redeemed itself somewhat in the taste. It’s a solid mouthful of grapefruit and pine, with a strong malt counterbalance. The finish is a little watery and metallic, but not to serious detriment.

This had a decent hop punch when it mattered most, but this IPA just wasn’t tuned to my personal liking.

Grade: B-

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