Baconalia! Review: Ethical Bacon and New Belgium Mothership Wit

Ethical Bacon with New Belgium's Mothership Wit

I am selectively ethical in my food consumption.  There are certain products I really dislike and actively avoid buying conventional (milk, eggs, coffee), others I selectively buy “better” (usually based on price and availability), and others for which there is no acceptable-to-me organic/ethical option (Hello, Bottlecaps and Diet Coke!).  My main reluctances to shifting all of my shopping revolve around taste and price, with the former being most important to me.  I really like my food to taste good and really dislike spending money on food that is gross to me.

My early experiences with “ethical” bacon left me quite dissatisfied.  The lack of flavor, insufficient salt, funky texture, and funny aftertaste all reminded me that I tried something different and that different was emphatically NOT good.  I was a little skeptical that I would enjoy it this go-around, but in case of socially-responsible guests (and I had a few potentials) I decided that ethical bacon should at least make a token appearance.  I’m glad it did.


I don’t remember the other brands of ethical bacons I’ve had, but this time I went with some pre-packaged Applegate Farms Organic Sunday Bacon.  I’m not so sure about the Sunday part, because Jesus was a Jew and thus did not eat bacon, but since Saturday is the Jewish Sabbath, I guess it’s better than calling it “Saturday Bacon.”  Honestly, I would shy away from using days of the week in bacon descriptions in general.  Days of the week labels really just belong on underroos for small people.

None of the Baconalia! attendees gave me any grief about the environmental impact of hog raising, inefficiency of consuming meat, or potential “issues” with the consumption of pork/bacon specifically – for people and/or pigs.  There was a non-attendee who later asked me how I could possibly consider bacon “ethical.”  Well!  Applegate Farms covered that on the back of their package and website for me. Italics are direct quotes, plain text is additional me-summary (summar-me?).  Here goes:

1.) Animal Living Conditions – We give our animals the time and space they need to growpork is raised humanely on vegetarian grain…No hormones, no growth stimulators, no animal-byproducts

2.) Environmental Impact – Superheated steam smoking process…preventing the creation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons…that release harmful carcinogens into the earth’s atmosphere, minimal processing

3.) Healthy-ish Eating as Consumers – No antibiotics, no nitrates (other than those which naturally occur in the sea salt and celery juice), no nitrites, certified organic

Most importantly, it tasted good and like bacon – it was void of any funny aftertaste and the texture was like I know bacon to be – and I know bacon.  My friends liked it too; we ate it aaaaaaaaaaall up.

I paired this with New Belgium’s Mothership Wit, which is an organic beer produced by a great craft brewery in Colorado.  I really like (most of) their beer.  That “most of” is in there because I was not so keen on this one.  That is mostly based on it being a witbier, which are not my favorites, than any lacking in the beer itself.  The beer was OK.  There was some leftover and I drank it, but I haven’t purchased it since.  It was a suitable match for basic bacon, in that it was crisp, light, and not very complex.  A LOT of wheat, yes, but witbier, so duh. 

I like New Belgium’s policies as a business, in addition to their fine products. They give their employees BIKES (and ownership in the company) after one year of employment.  1% of their profit is donated to environmental non-profits.  They process their own wastewater and obtain energy for their brewery from it, in addition to being the first wind-powered brewery in the United States.  There’s a lot of focus on treating employees positively and environmental responsibility.  Plus, their beer is good.

This wasn’t a “wowzers!” matching, but it was respectable and good data to have.  I’m pretty devoted to Black Label and my hometown butcher shop bacon, but this ethical stuff was pretty great too and there are definitely situations where I’d prefer it.


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