Jan 26, 2012

Bison Brewing Gingerbread Ale

Gingerbread Ale photo

It’s been quite some time since I’ve had a beer from Bison Brewing and, after spying this Gingerbread Ale on the shelf last month, I knew it was time to revisit the brewery. Much like pumpkin ales are appropriate for cool Autumn evenings, the thought of gingerbread cookies as snow falls outside was more than enough for me to commit to purchasing at least one bottle.

Weighing in at 6.0% ABV, this herbed beer looks more like a porter and, to some degree, even has a light roast coffee aroma amongst the spices to give it that impression as well. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get past wanting this to be a porter, but with the beer’s light body — appropriate for the spiced beer style, not for a porter — I’m not sure I enjoyed this one as much as I could have.


Apparently, I got a little silly with the pour as the cola brown liquid was capped by a massive light tan head.


The desired gingerbread cookie smell is there with wafts of ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, malt sweetness, a light caramel come together nicely with the aforementioned coffee character.


With the beer’s appearance and subtle coffee aroma, I so wanted this to be a gingerbread porter, but the lighter bodied beer I encountered let me know right away that it wasn’t. Struggling to get past the whole porter thing, this beer is actually quite tasty as the gingerbread cookie aspect of the beer really shines in the lingering finish. The spices aren’t over the top and sit amongst the malt quite nicely. There’s also a light level of hop bitterness toard the tail end.


The porter issue aside, Bison has a pretty nicely balanced brew here. The spices are just at the right levels, sitting complimentary to the moderately sweet malt. And at 6.0% ABV, the beer is deceptively drinkable. I just really wish that either light roast coffee character weren’t present or that the beer was a full fledge porter.


Update: Thanks to @bisonbrew on Twitter for letting me feel even dumber than normal. This is a porter and I probably should have been able to figure that out on my own. I’d still like to see it a little fuller on the palate.