It was years ago now, circa 2012, well after midnight on a Saturday, when I sent a text message to my buddy. That message contained two words, just five letters each. All caps.
In that moment, I was under the influence of alcohol—quite a bit of it, don't you judge—and sitting on my couch, watching two adult male bison fight one another for territory. They stomped around and peed all over over the place and kicked up a bunch of dust. Then they just started headbutting the shit out of each other. I was absolutely captivated. I was a little frightened. I was completely awestruck. And ever since, smashing beers and watching nature documentaries has become one of my favorite pastimes.
[Editor's note: Good Beer Hunting would like to remind you to drink responsibly. While "drink responsibly" in and of itself is a pretty vague thing to encourage, for the purposes of this blog post, we choose to define it as drinking less than Kyle.]
There are so many incredible things that animals can do. For example, did you know that the red fox can hear field mice moving around beneath six feet of snow? Not only that, but it can pinpoint their location, leap high into the air, and dive through into the snow to catch one. That’s amazing. I can’t do that. You can’t do that. To be perfectly honest, I don’t know of any human that can do that.
Imagine watching a fox do that, captured in beautiful, high-definition, slow-motion cinematography, backed by a musical score that could bring Mike Tyson to tears, all narrated in the dulcet tones of a delightful and friendly British gentleman, who is possibly even a knight. It's jaw-dropping. These stories have the power to put our existence on this planet into a context that renders you immovable, if only for an instant. Now imagine all that, but you’ve been drinking beers for a bit and you’re slightly out of your gourd. It’s quite simply one of the best things in the world.
When you’re drunk, even the normal, completely unremarkable things that animals do can be poignant. Just the other night, while the temperature here in Columbus, Ohio was in the single digits, I was imbibing while watching a wolfpack hunt in -40ºC. That evening, you could not have paid me to take even a single step outside my door, but these wolves were out there getting after it trying to bring down a goddamn elk. And they do it all the time! That’s insane.
There are so many great animal stories out there: the courtship of the bird-of-paradise, the great migration of the wildebeest, the coordinated hunting techniques of orca whale pods. All wonderful in their own right. All made even better with a few beers.
And it doesn’t even matter what kind of beer you consume. You could drink beers made with grains of paradise. You could have a whole bunch of wild ales. You could even turn loose some of the whalez in your cellar. Personally, I like to match the beer to the theme, but do whatever feels right. You’re going to have a great time no matter what.
I can’t remember which beer I was drinking the first time I watched those bison go H.A.M. And I can’t even really remember if my friend texted me back or not. But I am positive that he had zero clue what I was talking about. I hadn’t told him what I was doing or really provided any sort of context at all. But I still remember why I texted him. I texted him because, while I was watching those bison go at it, I wanted somebody to share in my elation. I wanted to know that somebody else was as amazed as I was by what was happening. So consider this my BISON FIGHT text to you.
For the next six weeks, we all have the rare opportunity to get tipsy together and watch animals do incredible things. We’re currently in the midst of the seven-part broadcast of Blue Planet II, the BBC Natural History Unit’s follow-up to their acclaimed 2001 docuseries, Blue Planet, focusing on our world’s oceans and the animals and organisms that inhabit them. The first episode of BP2 aired in the U.S. this past Saturday, and the remaining six episodes will air over the next six Saturdays on BBC America.
For each one, I’ll be on my couch, getting crunk, drinking a bunch of Dogfish Head. I invite you to join me so we can experience the wonders of nature together.