My essential Brighton checklist used to include flat whites at Bond St. Coffee, an Our Favourite or Classic Beef with bacon (or both) at Burger Brothers and a bag full of treats from Bison Beer. Then, suddenly, three’s company turned into three’s a crowd – and we all know how that ended for John Ritter, or in this case, Bison Beer.
Originally, I was drawn in by the shop’s cool artwork and style. And once inside, the selection of fine brews was more than enough to maintain my attention. I decided to try a can of the self-described crafthouse’s own See Side APA, and was pleasantly surprised by the fruity, golden American pale; fresh, light and refreshingly bitter, with a nice dry finish. Tasty.
Next time I bought a few more, and even took some back for a friend. But the last time I was in town Bison had a new-look See Pride APA in stock, to celebrate Brighton Pride. I grabbed four bottles and dragged them all the way back to London.
Disappointingly, the first bottle tasted flat and lifeless – duller than Radiohead’s new album. I checked the expiration date, and suspiciously, a hand-written sticker had been placed over the original expired date printed underneath. I checked the next bottle; same thing. Bogus. Naturally, I took to Twitter to vent. And Bison replied.
They assured me that the bottles were old but the batch was still good, albeit for a few more days. However, perhaps out of guilt, Bison offered to post me some free beer when they brewed up their next batch of See Side APA. Result. And finally, when I’d almost forgotten all about it, they delivered… ONE can!
They sent me ONE can. All the way from Brighton. In a cardboard tube the size of… one can. Can you believe it? I mean, why bother. Posting one can of beer’s hardly going to get me back on side again. Shit, it’s not even worth the effort, really. Once, back in South Africa, I complained to SAB that a six-pack of beers all had defective ring pulls and they sent me a whole crate. And that was pre-Twitter.
I know Bison’s not SAB, but one freaking beer. One FREAKING beer. I bought four bottles. They were all flat – I didn’t even finish the last two. And they all had dodgy hand-written dates, good for about another week, stuck over the bottles’ original printed expiration dates.
To be fair, the APA did taste good. Bitterer than usual, though…