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Bison Organic Honey Basil | Bison Brewing

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Bison Organic Honey BasilBison Organic Honey Basil

Brewed by:
Bison Brewing
California, United States

Style: Herbed / Spiced Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Todd on 11-01-2005

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Reviews: 84 | Ratings: 209
Photo of oregonskibum
3.91/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Pours a very clear orange color with a light eggshell head that quickly disappears.

S: Very herbal smell, although it would be a stretch to pick up the basil. Some citrus (lemon) and almost minty notes. Very much like an herbal tea.

T: Very mild. Honey shows up mid taste and compliments the herbal tastes nicely. A slight about of hop bitterness, but hardly enough to notice.

M: Fairly light mouth feel with medium to high carbonation.

D: Enjoyable mild ale with simple herbal flavors that doesn't detract from the enjoyment of the beer. Light and refreshing, this would be a good beer to crack on a hot afternoon.

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Photo of CampusCrew
4/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

We had a rare beer night and we all brought some stuff over I'll be reviewing on memory for this one as we had alot of smaples that night. Nearly 10 I beleive.

This beer really surprised me. we had it early and I was like this is goign to suck. Wow. great ise of honey and the basil gave it a nice herbal lemon flavor. not overpwering in any area and a solid beer at that.

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Photo of cdizinno
3.98/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Slightly hazy amber color, almost the same as a cider. Nice off-white head with mild lacing.

S: Mild honey and I can smell the basil, knowing that it is there, otherwise I probably wouldn't be able to identify it as anything other than spices. Someone mentioned herbal tea and that is probably a good comparison.

T&M: Nice flavor with a slightly rough feel as the carbonation is light but tingling. Fairly sweet with a mainly malty character. Some very faint hop bitterness and floral taste that is probably a result of the honey more than the hops. Dry finish. Light-bodied.

This is a really good beer, probably more similar to a saison. Very drinkable if you like something a bit different.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.45/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Chicago Bears shaker pint.

Pours into a general ale amber color, with a standard creamy head. The aroma is similar to an amber as well, with hints of hops, a sort of wheatiness, and (and here's where it starts to get unique) there is a hint of, surprise surprise, basil. The taste follows suit, with the basil receding a good deal into the background. There isn't much of a honey flavor involved, though I do believe it added a bit of lightness to the body (without resorting to uber-effervescence), which made this brew a rather drinkable one, despite it's overall lack of general character.

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Photo of MadeInOregon
2.8/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

I heard about this one from Bison's website a long time ago but had never come across it until last week at Whole Foods. Had to try it!

Poured into a glass the Honey Basil looks like a pale ale with its standard light bronze body and stable, fluffy yellow head. Looks like a nice, micro-brewed ale.

It smells like...pizza! Seriously. Very weird.

Unlike many others who've reviewed this beer I found the basil to be not only present, but dominant. The first taste to hit the palette is surprisingly strong in basil. The basil fades a little as the flavors progress but it never vanishes. A lager-like hopiness emerges after the first hit of basil but it is not enough to overpower the strength of the basil. The hopiness is nice and reveals that underneath all the herbalicious spice there is a pretty good beer being used as the base. I could not detect the slightest tinge of honey anywhere.

The main sensation while drinking this brew is that it is weird. It tastes like drinking a light beer with your mouth half full of pizza. I'm sure Bison's Honey Basil could be good if you are in fact eating pizza with it (or salad, or something Italian) but drinking it alone, eh, not so much.

I have never had a beer drinking experience like this so Bison definitely gets props for creativity. So, if you want to try something totally odd go find this one--if you can. As for me, I'm just glad I bought a single and not the whole 10-dollar 4-pack!

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Photo of brentk56
3.76/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber color with a frothy ecru head that delivers a bit of lacing as it descends

Smell: Herbacious aroma, though certainly not basil; more like herbal tea

Taste: Opens with a tea-like character, but the flavors burst forward by mid-palate, with the honey providing a sweet element and the basil adding an herbacious twist; cannot say I would have called it out as basil, however, but it does add a spicy bitter element that persists after the swallow

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: I came to this beer with exceedingly low expectations but wound up really enjoying it; bet it would pair nicely with spicy Asian cuisines

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Photo of avalon07
3.88/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had an amber color and a slightly cloudy consistency. There was a small amount of foamy head that quickly dissipated. OK lacing.

S: Not a whole lot of aroma, except for the obvious honey.

T: Like the smell, honey was the star in the taste. Also had some hops and malt and just a hint of basil (but not much). A sweet, flavorful beer.

M: A decent amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Light-bodied.

D: An oddly drinkable beer.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.35/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

08/30/09- Purchased at Draegers, in San Mateo, CA.

Presentation- 12oz bottle, did not look for freshness info. Poured into a random pint glass.

Appearance- Deeper golden colored pour, about a 1/2 inch head which quickly disappates leaving very light spotty and watery lace.

Smell- Not really any notes of much. Maybe a slight sweet honey nose with absolutely no basil noted..not really any hops of malt noted either...really a non scented beer.

Taste- Holy crap! Wondering how a scentless beer can have such nice flavor. I'm not tasting any basil to speak of, but the honey really comes in strong with a nice malt base and even a splash of hops at the end.

Mouthfeel- Very smooth and a bit creamy. Carbonation is average, maybe a bit ligher than average.

Drinkability- I was always hesitant of trying this beer because I couldn't picture what basil would taste like in beer...well, this one doesn't taste like basil, but it does taste very good. It's one of the easier drinking beers I have had as well.

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Photo of HoosBrews
3.8/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance was a pale amber with decent carbonation. Smells is dominated by basil, but not an overwhelming aroma. The taste is also dominated by the basil. The honey is very subtle at first, but seems to come through more in the finish. A bit thin on the mouthfeel. I really wasn't sure I'd like this style, but it's actually pretty good. Not a beer you'd want in mass quantities, but still a good change of pace in the summer and probably is an excellent food pairing for chicken and the like.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.24/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had heard Bison Brewing developed major breakthroughs in beer-basil technology to create this exotic brew, so, together, let's see how well they did!

Appearance: Pours a deep golden body with a tall, foamy head fed by a continuous stream of large, lazy bubbles.

Smell: A sweetish, honey-drizzled aroma that's fairly herbaceous. Its like something you'd expect from the Yankee Candle Company - "Honey Basil Blossoms".

Taste: The gentle sweet maltiness goes well with the soft, smooth honey flavor. Basil pops up midway, presenting itself along with hints of green peppercorns and ginger root. After swallowing, my mouth is left with a minty taste in it. Not bad. But, for me, the basil taste is cumulative in nature, and continues to build as you drink, almost becoming unpleasant near the very end. So, please be sure to share this one!

I think that pretty much sums it up, don't you?

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: With its oddball flavor profile, this sure is one droll beer to taste.

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Photo of AndoBrew
3.09/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

*odd.. so liked up front then did not like would not buy*

app: looks like U.S. crap beer, but with a much better head.

smell: smells like an air freshining device that would go in a mens wallet.some pepper lots o floral.

taste: peppers odd amount of almost toasty tasting malts but this is not a brown beer! interesting. this is at least complex and worth while, maybe ONE of the more pleasing gold piss beers I have enjoyed.

MF: clean and clear and easy going.

drinkable?? the spice may pick up a bit to much as you drink it, did i mention the spice flavors? or was I to busy with other things.. well if not, a bit of a pumpkin ale type thing going on in the background, thats all.. read about the style if you need a more in depth rant.
MOSTLY this started great and as you drink it it gets harder to stomach the over spiced beer.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.65/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"Are you going to Scarborough Faire?
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.
Remember me to one who lived there.
She was once a good friend of mine."

--traditional English folk song

Brightest tangerine with daisy yellow edges. The lid is barely yellowed ivory in color and sports innumerable fragile bubbles on its upper surface. Pretty impressive display of lace as well, for an herbed beer. Honey Basil looks, for all intents and purposes, like an APA. What, you were expecting green?

I often assign colors to smells and tastes and there's no doubt that this one smells green. Basil comes through loud and clear and makes me glad that I like that particular herb. It's an odd nose for a beer though; I've never smelled anything quite like it. I can't say that I appreciate honey, or even much of any sweetness. Points for originality.

Bison didn't go halfway with this one, no siree. I've always said 'if you're going to brew an 'X' beer, then add plenty of 'X', otherwise, what's the point?' This one is as boldly basily as any herb lover could hope for. I like it just fine, it's just that's it's so different and so... I don't know... plant-like, that I'm finding it hard to think of it as more than a semi-pleasant, interesting curiosity.

I can appeciate a touch of sweetness now, though it still doesn't come across as honey. More bee juice might have made it a better beer, who's to say? I don't think of basil as especially bitter, so it must be the hops gettin' their alpha acid schwerve on because the finish tightens up considerably and even scuffs the tongue a little.

It's finally come to me. This beer is somewhat reminiscent of Earl Gray tea. Not in the 'tastes like it' sense, but because it's herbal, perfumy, citric fruity (from the hops) and bitter, all characteristics that it shares with my favorite flavor of tea. It's still an incredibly odd beer though.

The body/mouthfeel doesn't even begin to step out of line. Actually, it's unremarkable in all respects; neither too light nor too heavy, neither too bubbled nor too quiescent. I like it though, it has a quality feel, so I'll reward it accordingly.

If Organic Honey Basil is a money maker for Bison, they might just as well start a whole new line of herbal beers. Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme might be good places to start. As far as plants go, however, I think I'll stick with hops.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
3.72/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours with a light orange amber clear stand topped with an ivory cap deflates to a ring leaving some scattered drippy lace.

Aroma is a light almost ginger and a caramel with a bright Earthy floral soapy lilac. Interesting scents.

First swigs: Dry and instantly mineral. Subdued honey but the dryness is honey derived. Flower peatal jasmine and floral bouquet translates directly into the taste. A bit of a saki flavor. One trick pony flavor that is what it is from start to finish. Lots of mixed up spices here of caraway.

Light body with a fizzy feel and lingering dryness.

Last swigs: Reminds me of Froach Heather or another "hop-less" beer. THis was intersting t try. Went well with my sushi tonite. Worth trying if you want to expand your tastebuds.

Beer is good. Happy different beering.

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Photo of hopsaplenty
3.36/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz brown bottle, no date info.

Crystal clear mellow gold. Towering, glass-filling head of loose packed dusty white foam of mixed size bubbles. Heavily dimpled surface that slowly settles, but leaves a thick chunk on top all the way down. There were a few wide, thick strands of lacing. Minimal carbonation streams drift upwards. Sweet, light honey and zest comes through along with a ginger ale soda aroma. The lightly sweet honey fills out the initial flavor with just a touch of pale malt. There is a spiciness that shows up in the finish that is barely discernable as basil. Had I not known to expect basil, I probably would not have identified it as such. There is a general saison component to the taste that is perhaps more suggestive than actual. The spiciness changes over to a bitterness which clings at the edges for a tad bit too long. Medium body and smooth to soft mouthfeel, the carbonation is on the low side. Nice that this is a certified organic beer which includes basil from Watanabe Farms and honey from Britt’s Honey, but the basil was barely discernable. Still, this was enjoyable.

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Photo of DeGrog
3.64/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer poured very golden and clear with no head, not what I expected from other reviews. Its smell is very nice and reminds me of the times that I have made mead, "very faintly" but it did really. This beer’s taste has little resemblance to mead though, the basil stands out a little bit which makes me wonder where the hints of garlic. (Should I brew a pesto beer or just add honey and beer to my next pesto?) Over all this Honey Basil Beer is very welcoming, especially strait from the freezer on this first 80+ day of the year. I would recommend this for a Mid-Summers Day picnic serve as cold as you can get it. Cheers

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Photo of phisig137
3.87/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Explodes out of the bottle into my Ayinger Hefe glass. After letting the foam settle a couple of times and refilling, a 4 finger rocky head emerges and lasts a long time, leaving behind tons of boulder-like lacing. Color is a clear gold. Very nice to look at.

Aroma is very faint, yet pleasant. Honey and a citrusy aroma are prevalent.

Flavor is very nice, and the basil shines here. Don't expect the typical basil flavor though, this has more of the minty and lemony flavors that good quality fresh basil has. Slightly sweet, and no hops can be detected.

Mouthfeel is silky and coating. Flavor lingers for a few minutes. Drinkability is high, and this beer is very refreshing.

I hate to say it, but I think this beer could be a little better if the malt and hops were NOT organic. I am a true believer in organic foods, especially meat and milk products. But I've yet to have an organic beer really wow me. That being said, this honey basil beer, along with Bison's Chocolate stout, are definitely the best organic beers that I have tasted

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Photo of RoyalT
3.06/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance – This is a pretty light orange in color with a nice white head.

Smell – This is very herbal in nature. It’s almost like smelling a spice rack. The green leafy herbs remind me less of basil though and more like parsley. The honey is hard to find, but the light grain is nice; unsweetened.

Taste – Ah, yes, here comes the honey. It’s more like the commercialized honey flavor you find in cereals but it’s good all around. The grain is trounced and barely noticeable and the light basil comes out a bit.

Mouthfeel – This is light-bodied with some descent carbonation.

Drinkability – I can’t say that I plan on finishing the entire bomber, but it’s not half-bad.

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Photo of ElGordo
3.44/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Received a bottle from our local rep the other day and figured I'd give it a try. Pours a slightly cloudy golden color topped by a big, foamy white head. Aroma offers what the name promises - light honey, sharp basil, some lavender notes, and some astringency. Palate is more of the same - basil is the dominant character, with light hops and a tinge of honey sweetness. Body is nice, light and refreshing, but there's a good bit of tangy astringency that's slightly off-putting. Maybe this floats some people's boats more than others, but I found it difficult to finish the bottle. Nevertheless, an interesting offering.

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Photo of gosurfobx
3.95/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass out of a 22oz. bottle. Pours a golden color with a head that soon disappears into a few bubbles. Slight hop aroma with strong hints of honey and some lemony smells. Taste is good, had nice hop backbone with honey and cirtus flavors. The basil flavors seem less noticable. Feels a little thinner in the mouth than I would like, but still pretty good. Very drinkable.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.57/5  rDev +29.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Dispensed from a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass. Pours a slightly cloudy orange gold color with a nice one finger head. No lacing is left behind. Very few miniscule bubbles are active.

Aroma was delightful. Lots of honey and hops. Lemongrass, grapefruit, citrusy. Smells almost like lemonade. Seems as if there may be some ginger in there as well, though that isnt contained on the ingredient list on the side of the bottle (wait, that must be the basil. Wow.)

Taste is quite refreshing. Lots of lemony tang. Nice hop bitterness as well. Very citrusy and fruity.

This was a great beer. Very refreshing. Great on a summer day I would bet. Nice drinkability and clean, crisp mouthfeel. Light to medium body. Very enjoyable. One of the best spiced/fruit beers I have tried.

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Photo of arguemaniac
3.95/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer was quite a surprise. One of my distributors sent me this as a free sample just to prove how good it actually is despite, well, the name, frankly. But it was pleasantly drinkable: it poured a somewhat hazy orange amber with a frothy, erratic head. The nose features a sweet, herbal aroma. The flavor has a pretty distinct note of basil, which adds a refreshing minty crispness to the palate. A sweet hint of honey and nice maltiness balance the basil and hops nicely. A smooth, creamy mouthfeel with mellow carbonation.

This was one tasty little surprise: sweet, crisp and very drinkable. Definitely worth a try, especially if you’re looking to sample something different. Recommended.

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Photo of oberon
3.84/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Iam always looking to try new and interesting styles of beer and honey basil seemed like a diferent combination.Poured a dull golden with a thinner quick vanishing white head leaving no lace,the aromas were the best thing about this beer in my mind very floral with that honey being a bit more noticable than the basil.Flavors start out with that honey sweetness and steadily fades into the quite noticable herbal basil flavor also a touch of mint,the finish is lightly earthy and that basil pops up again.I kinda like it, its different but not obtrusive its on the lighter side and I think would be food friendly.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.82/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 22oz Bomber, picked up for $2.79 at Hi-Times. Simple Bison logo on the black crown cap. Main label is that as shown in the BA Database, to the right of the front portion there is some text below a ‘USDA Organic’ logo. The main label lists the beer as ‘Bison Organic Honey Basil’, but unlike other Bison brews there is no Alcohol by Volume, but the website states that this is 5.2%. No freshness date but again the Website states that this was brewed June-August 2005.

The blurb states “The fresh basil is from Watanabe Farms in West Sacramento and the honey is from Britt’s Honey, two California artisanal producers”.

Appearance: Soft golden-orange with a small but tight head that slowly breaks to leave an off-white halo ring and a thin smattered surface covering. Thin lacing on the walls. Carbonation is super fine and rather lazy; it takes time to catch up with the surface with a gentle tipping of the glass. Appearance is a little off-putting, I know this was bottled June-August so it could just be the age but it seems low on overall conditioning lending a tired look to the Honey Basil even in my Duvel Goblet. Top ups from the Bomber do help for short periods of time to reinstate a head, but it doesn’t last sadly.

Nose: Gorgeous nose, over powering honey soaked basil is nicely balanced in a well perfumed floral aroma. Pumpkin Ale style herbal spicy tones blend with a more pungent lavender like flowery splashes. Some herbal like hop odors in the latter third too.

Taste: This is very clean, seems to have a lot of allsorts but not much of anything, not that this is a detraction, it just makes it hard to differentiate a dominant character. The basil is higher up the league table than the honey which sits in the background with the malts. Some tingle is experienced, and I’m sure it is the hops used rather than the Basil or Honey. Dry finish with a gentle herbal sting.

Mouthfeel: Fresh herbal and flowery texture to the body lends a lower than medium feel in the mouth, but it doesn’t feel weak though. Rather it seems middling in the feel, but it’s only 5.2% so I wasn’t expecting a big-hitter at all, I opted for a 3.5, I didn’t think it deserved a 3.0 though it doesn’t really project itself that much.

Drinkability: Reasonably easy to pound at first and it goes well with some spicy Pickled Eggs, but the one Bomber is enough, though it took little effort to finish it.

Overall: I wasn’t sure about this one, but I found it to be more than pleasant. Fans of the range of brews from Heather Ales (Fraoch, Grozet, Ebulum, Alba, etc.) should enjoy this, I know did. Nicely done for those that like the style.

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Photo of Dukeofearl
3.47/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a 22 oz bomber for my friend and I; he took one sip and wanted nothing to do with this beer. So there, I've warned you. If you think it sounds weird and you aren't into different flavors, then stay away. I tried it, I had a "very strange" initial reaction, but I kept going, and in the end, it was weird, but not so bad. Not something I would have on a regular basis, but interesting.

I know basil is an herb, and so that's what I expected, and this was full of grassy, weedy, herbal aromas and flavors. But I couldn't place them. I think the main reason for the honey is just to tone down these other flavors; it doesn't really do anything in and of itself. While I was drinking it, a cook friend of mine helped me out by saying "you know, basil, like pesto sauce". It immediately hit me. That is the flavor of this beer. A pesto sauce beer!

An interesting try once beer, but I feel no need to return.

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Bison Organic Honey Basil from Bison Brewing
3.52 out of 5 based on 209 ratings.
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