I was given a 12oz bottle of the beer recently, told I'd like it by a friend of mine. I've had good experiences with some of the Bison brews, their Honey Basil being one of my personal favorites of theirs. I am pretty sure I've had this beer in the past, but tonight I grilled a tri-tip and was looking for a hardier beer - I figured it was a good time to see what Bison had to offer.
To begin, the food:
Ribeye with generous amounts of fresh ground black pepper, salt, onion powder, garlic, chile powder, onion and red chiles. The meat was grilled 6 minutes on one side, 5 minutes on the other and then allowed to rest five minutes as to not lose the juices. The side salad was your basic spring mix, with an avocado dressing, fingerling potatoes.
As the meat was cooking the beer was taken out of the fridge and allowed to warm up a bit, I like my stouts somewhere above cold to really appreciate the flavors.
The aroma on this is decidedly bitter chocolate, with little alcohol presence and low peppery hops. The beer is black with garnet highlights when held to the light, showing it's clarity. Brown foamy head. The flavor boasts a deep roasted bitterness that certainly does remind one of the darkest chocolates on the market. There is also a definite astringency, which you expect in a beer like this. To my pleasant surprise, there is also a very nice subtle hop flavor which comes across a bit spicy. The body was something less than full, but certainly more than medium. Low alcohol warming in the throat and a carbonation level that is a bit too much for my tastes.
The beer was a great matchup with the meal. The spices on the steak slightly charred and with a mild spice demand a beer that has the ability to stand up and be noticed. The Bison certainly seemed up to the task, initially refreshing the palate and then providing some level of complimentary balance.
Now, apart from a meal a beer like this - or this beer in particular - are a bit too much on your palate with the bitterness and astrigency. It's a good beer to be certain, but the refreshing character is missing on it's own.
Some more serving suggestions:
- Blackened fish
- Chocolate lava cake, or a rich chocolate mousse
- Mexican food with a chocolatey
- Mole sauce
About Bison -
Known for their Organic commitments in brewing, Bison is located in Berkeley, California. Bison has five standard offerings and a handful of seasonal offerings.
More available on their site - http://www.bisonbrew.com/