Review: Gingerbread Ale, Bison Brewing Co.


Gingerbread Ale
Bison Brewing Co. — Berkeley, CA


Stats:
  • Style:  Porter
  • Bitterness:  Not specified
  • ABV: 6.0%
  • Malts: 2-Row, Caramel, Chocolate, Roast Barley, Black Malt
  • Hops:  Not specified
  • Special Ingredients: Ginger, Nutmeg, and Cinnamon
  • Sampled: 12 oz. bottle

Description: "Our Spiced holiday porter is brewed with ginger, nutmeg and a touch of cinnamon, yielding the aroma of fresh backed gingerbread men! The chewy dark malt flavors are sure to smooth out that dinner with the in-laws." — Bison Brewing Co. 

Random thoughts:  I'm tasting this as part of my series on winter seasonal beers. I wanted to profile Gingerbread Ale last winter, but wasn't able to find a bottle. When I saw it at my local grocery store a few weeks ago, I quickly picked it up. I'm glad I did, because it appears to have sold out since then.  

The tasting:  Very dark brown in color with a tan head that dissipates slowly. When held up to the light, it has a beautiful garnet hue. Ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg are front and center in aroma and I'm definitely
channeling gingerbread. Flavor of roasted malt, espresso, cinnamon, and ginger. It also has molasses flavor, but surprisingly doesn't add much sweetness. While it has light earthy hops, overall hop bitterness is minimal. Alcohol is not noticeable in aroma or flavor. Gingerbread Ale is light to medium bodied, has a smooth mouth feel, and finishes dry with mild flavors of ginger and spice. The bottle was empty before I finished writing this review. That doesn't usually happen.

Rating:  4 star.  Really Good!  I want this again!  One of my pet peeves is when beers don't deliver what they promise. Gingerbread Ale delivers! From the first whiff and sip, I could smell and taste the gingerbread. Spices in beer can be vexing. There should be enough to enhance the aroma, but too much will dominate and overpower the flavor. The balance of ginger and spice in this beer was excellent! It had the solid aroma I expected, yet the spicing was subtle in flavor and enhanced the overall experience, rather than detracting from it. So this Christmas Eve, put the gingerbread cookies out for Santa, but keep the Gingerbread Ale for yourself...  

Have you tasted Bison's Gingerbread Ale? 


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