I never understood why the Cadillac Escalade Hybrid existed until I tasted a Bison Organic Beer. Up to that point, the idea of a huge planet-choking SUV with a feel-good hybrid drive train seemed like an oxymoron to me. Who in their right mind would pay an extra $13,500 to gain 8 miles per gallon in the city and 2 on the highway? Someone who wants what they want, that’s who. When it comes to beer, someone like me…
Now most folks who pay a little extra for a hybrid do so because it fits their agenda. They care about the planet, or want to save money on fuel, or they see our dependence on foreign oil as a threat to our national security. These aren’t gear heads; they are people who view their car as an appliance or as a public projection of their beliefs. These folks would love Bison Organic Beer.
They would appreciate the fact that Bison only brews beers that are USDA certified organic. They would join Bison’s Carbon Offset Club. They would feel good that their beer purchase helps create energy efficient low-income housing in South Africa and helps preserve rainforests in Costa Rica. They also would delight in the light, easy drinking nature of Bison’s beers, each one a great gateway into the gentler pleasures of craft beer. They would drink Bison with satisfaction and pride.
But not me – I want more. I want full-on, in-your-face flavor. I want huge malts wrestling with massive hops on the battlefield of my tongue. I want toe-curling taste and enough alcohol content to warm my chest. I want an SUV-sized brew, and I want it organic. I want the Cadillac Escalade Hybrid of beers.
But that’s not what Bison sent me. Instead, I got the Prius, the Fusion, the Insight, and the Honda CRZ hybrid. Each of these accomplishes its mission with aplomb, delivering a taste that will satisfy the majority of casual beer drinkers while being friendly to both earth and body.
The IPA is sweet, with just enough hoppiness to tickle the tongue without challenging it, and the brown ale delivers a malty backbone that is flavorful but won’t weigh you down. Both the Gingerbread Ale and Organic Chocolate Stout are a little watery for my tastes, but both deliver their signature flavors well enough. Each of these beers seem perfectly suited to someone who is looking to expand their horizons past Heineken and Blue Moon, but each struggles to satisfy a grizzled beer geek like me. I need a beer with more oomf.
The slightly maddening part is that Bison makes such a beer – their 9.5% ABV Organic Barleywine. Unfortunately they didn’t send one along, and I can only wonder how tasting that beer might have help me form a more well-rounded opinion of their offerings.
Instead, I’m left feeling like a selfish, power-hungry crybaby who wants more. More flavor, more booze, more satisfaction. More, more, more. Me, me, me. You know, like a Republican.
God help me.
But I’m not the only beer drinker in the world. Each one of the Bison beers I tasted would be easy to recommend to someone like my buddy Steve, who likes his beers flavorful, but not overpowering. They are also perfect for my friend Lisa, who isn’t a fan of huge flavors and who is very particular about where her food comes from. So while Bison’s beers don’t get me too fired up, your mileage may vary.