Bison Brewing Company - Gingerbread Ale

Bison Brewing Company - Gingerbread Ale

Beer Club featured in U.S. & International Variety Beer Club U.S. Microbrewed Beer Club


United States

Alcohol by Volume:


Bison Brewing Company - Gingerbread Ale

  • ABV:

  • Int’l Bittering Units (IBUs):

  • Serving Temperature:

  • Suggested Glassware:

    Pint Glass or Mug
  • Malts:

    (organic): 2-Row, Munich, Caramunich, Carafa, Chocolate
  • Hops:

    (organic): Chinook
We’ve been sampling craft beers since 1994, so needless to say, we’ve seen a lot of interesting brews. But we’ve never come across a “gingerbread ale” before. This extremely unique brew is Bison’s holiday seasonal beer, and is brewed with ginger, nutmeg, and a “touch” of cinnamon to create the aroma of fresh gingerbread men. And you know what? They succeeded! This gorgeous, super-deep garnet red brew offers up big time ginger aromas, accompanied by nutmeg with an underlying cinnamon spiciness. Focus on what’s underneath the spice notes and you’ll find a moderate roasted malt character with an impression of dark chocolate. On the palate, the spices are very apparent upfront with a touch of deep red fruits, with more traditional, roasty, porter-like notes building on the midpalate. The Munich, Chocolate, and caramelized malts not only contribute the beautiful color; they provide a fullness to the malt profile. The body remains just on the lighter side of medium, though, and the spices are nowhere near over-the-top, keeping this beer easy to drink. Finishes with a mild hop bitterness, some lingering ginger, a hint of nuttiness, and a ghost-like touch of smoke.
There was a time in this country – not too long ago, in fact – when it was illegal in most states to brew beer and then offer it for sale directly to the public, as in a brewpub setting. Thus, the very concept of the local brewpub that’s now so integral to our country’s craft beer culture was prohibited. However, during the early 1980s, as the first seeds of the American craft beer renaissance were germinating, several enterprising brewers set out to overturn these restrictive laws. One of these pioneers was Bill Owens, who joined with California State Assemblyman Tom Bates (now the mayor of Berkeley) to successfully pass legislation in 1982 that allowed brewpubs in the state of California. Only the second law of its kind in the nation, it heralded a new era for beer in the U.S., as more and more states across the country followed suit and adopted similar legislation. It was a major boost to the better beer movement, helping to expose a whole new generation to the excitement of craft beer. Bill Owens went on to found Bison Brewing Company in Berkeley, CA, and their first beer was brewed in February of 1989. Now under the leadership of owner and brewer Daniel Del Grande who took over in 1997, Bison Brewing Company is committed wholeheartedly to brewing organic beer, eschewing barley grown with chemical fertilizers and exposure to pesticides and herbicides. While some brewers offer one or two organic beers to appeal to the “green” demographic, Bison embraces energy-efficiency and sustainability in both farming and brewing practices, and brews all of their beers to be certified organic, bearing the USDA Organic seal. Additionally, Bison is known for a history of innovation, brewing beers with such unusual ingredients as sage, basil, honey, chocolate, and cranberries, as well as the ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon featured in this month’s Gingerbread Ale. For more information about the brewery and their current year-round and seasonal offerings, check out their website at
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