Bison Honey Basil

Posted on 12.28.09 9:22PM under Free Beer, Tasting

I have to admit that I have had some guilt over this one for a while.

One day, I got an email from a brewery seeking a media outlet for their beer. And I was it. I love that kind of thing. I don’t get it every day. Or really every month. Or even quarterly. So I had in the mail a pair of bottles of beer and some marketing info. I’d given the expectation to the brewery that I’d review the beer online. But yet I never found that “right time” to “formally review” the beer. I drank one of them right away, and formed my initial impressions, and then the second has sat in my fridge since then. It’s been probably about six months since I first tried this summer special from the certified organic Bison brewery from California.

Now, finally, I have got the guts up to write up this one.

I remember thinking that this beer was pretty good and summery, nice and refreshing, but basil? Couldn’t find it. I still pretty much feel the same way with this “cellared” sample. It is a very good and tasty beer, but I would never pick out basil in a blind tasting.

And I think that it is this subtlety that makes this one really unique. I wonder if I could manage to wrangle up a basil-heavy pizza, would it come more forward? I think it would. If I really search for it, I taste an herbal thing that easily translates to basil.

All in all, this is a nice clean crisp dry beer. Full of flavor, and fully engaged into the new craft of balanced beer. Honestly, this beer makes me wonder for the flavors of the other offerings from Bison brewery, especially in this personal favorite seasonal drinking time of winter. One day when I find myself in Bison country, I will make sure to add this brewery to my list of must-haves.

One more note: I recently bought a 12-pack of Sierra Nevada Anniversary. Packaged in summer, Anniversary should hold up well. And here’s this Bison Basil beer, not exactly a cellaring candidate. But yet the SN has shown signs of spoilage, while the Bison is in perfect condition. It is interesting to see how the big craft brewers end up, in some cases, with issues that the truly small brewers don’t always face.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love Sierra Nevada, right up there with Dogfish Head and the other bigger smaller brewers. But at the same time I see how these truly small brewers like Bison can make their beer at just that much of a higher quality than those bigger guys.

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