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Chicagoist's "Beer of the Week:" Bison Brewing Reunion '08 Ale

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Jul 3, 2008 3:52PM

2008_07_botw27.jpgThis week's selection was born from a desire to do something positive for a friend in need. Shortly before her 40th birthday, Virginia MacLean was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. MacLean was already raising funds for cancer research running triathlons and endurance events, so she enlisted the help of two longtime friends to assist her in a new fundraising endeavor. Those friends just happened to be Alan Shapiro of SBS Imports and Pete Slosberg of Pete's Brewing Company fame.

The three set in motion the Reunion Beer Project, representing the life-altering event that brought the three of them back together. Reunion is brewed in collaboration with the organic Bison Brewing Company and proceeds from sales benefit the Institute for Myeloma & Bone Cancer Research. Shortly after the release of Reunion '07 (a brown ale) MacLean passed away from myeloma, but the beer project continues.

This year's version of Reunion is an organic red rye ale. I like my rye ales to be malt forward; the sweetness imparted by rye is like ambrosia to me. The malt in Reunion '08 is balanced by the spice lent from the hops and caraway seeds. Pour this into a glass and the tan head that forms is so pretty, like a hazy sunset. The hops emit a perfect for summer floral note on the nose.

You can buy Bison Reunion '08 at Sam's Wine and Spirits, which is also one of the sponsors of the Reunion Beer Project. Barflies can belly up to Map Room and order this in 22-ounce bomber bottles. A great beer for a worthy cause, Bison Reunion '08 is Chicagoist's "Beer of the Week."