Reunion '08 | Bison Brewing

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Reunion '08Reunion '08
118 Ratings
Reunion '08Reunion '08

Brewed by:
Bison Brewing
California, United States

Style: Rye Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
This year's version of Reunion is an organic red rye ale, featuring a malt forward character balanced by spice notes from the rye, caraway seeds, and hops.

Added by Jason on 02-13-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 118 |  Reviews: 106
Reviews by coldmeat23:
Photo of coldmeat23
4.25/5  rDev +18.4%

More User Reviews:
Photo of RoyalT
2.15/5  rDev -40.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Appearance - This is a flat-looking puckish brown in color with little head.

Smell - There's not much rye in this nose to speak of and the caraway seeds smell like they've been sitting in the spice rack for the last two years.

Taste - The malts try to keep this in the race; they are nice and sugary. Otherwise though this beer lacks any sort of discernable flavor.

Mouthfeel - I liked the thick, medium-body of this beer but the lack of any carbonation left it flat in the mouth.

Sinkability - Looks like we won't be finding a myeloma cure any time soon.

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Photo of Billolick
3.97/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ouncer as shown in the photo above. Pours darker amber, slightly murky, modest light khaki head, and then a bit of fine wispy lace on the glass. Nose is restrained and malty, and foretells the rye that is to come across the tongue. Malty, full bodied brew with a healthy addition of rye to ratchet up the interest level. Better then average, pleasant cold weather type of offering. This one did not blow me away, but its quite enjoyable and certainty worth a try especially for fans of the style. Its for a good cause to boot.

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Photo of mattster
4.12/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Opened 22 fl oz bomber bottle, poured into Nonic Glass.

Pours a low head - less than ½" - that dissipates to a fine lace across top of a reddish tea brown brew.

Smells like a warm loaf of rye bread with some light spice and herbal notes. Taste follows through with nice rye and spice taste. Actually I wasn't expecting a beer this full bodied and of such flavor. A little warm on the palate initially, but following taste are much more balanced.

A really great beer made for an important cause. Hopefully the brew will bee around far longer than Myeloma & Bone Cancer.

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Photo of magictrokini
3.89/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I never know what I'm going to get from Bison, and this beer proves it. Rich, red-brown pour with a medium off-white head. Dense malty aroma with a lot of rye and caraway, but not alot of hops. Syrupy mouthfeel. Nuts, caramel malt, brown sugar, and another smack in the face with the rye. No real hops to speak of until the end as the beer warmed. Its different, unusual, not really a "red" as I expected, and actually pretty good.

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Photo of far333
3.22/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours an amber copper with a low orangey beige head that settles out quickly to a fine cap.

Aroma of floral and citrus hops balanced by brown sugar and doughey maltiness.

Flavor of caramel malt, cocoa, ripe fruit, floral and citrus hops, mild rye spiciness in the finish. Pepper and grapefruit pith also emerge in the finish. Cocoa flavor lingers and becomes more prominent, but does not mix well with the hops.

Even mouthfeel, moderate to low carbonation, tending toward slick.

Odd mix of cocoa and hops, they don't seem to go well together. This significantly limited the drinkability for me, could not finish the bomber.

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Photo of pwoods
1.85/5  rDev -48.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

22oz. brown bomber, purchased... somewhere.. maybe Jungle Jim's, poured into an imperial pint.

A: Pours a deep amber with extra ruby tints. Clarity is so pristine that it's hard to make out the tiny bubbles. Almost 2 fingers of off white head forms, a bit fizzy, and falls to a skim within a minute. Not much lacing.

S: Very nut(walnuts?), and dry wood. Loads of rye malts.

T/M: Has an extremely, wierd, woody(?) bitterness to it. It tastes like what I imagine chewing on a small, live, maple branch would taste like. The rye is extremely drying and none of the dryng is from alcohol. Almost like peat moss. Ack, I can't take any more. Body is moderate and carbonation seems on the low side.

D: Got through about a half of an imperial pint and had to pour it.

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Photo of sloejams
3.35/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

When I was searching the shelves at the West Hollywood BevMo! I came across this next to the Rogue beers. "Oh great a Rogue beer that I haven't tried." or so I thought. I pretty much hate rye. I quite like Founder's Red Rye and Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye so I figured Rogue could make a proper rye beer - 'cept this one wasn't Rogue.

When I got home I saw the Bison logo on the top and about 2 seconds of looking at the bottle later - I realized this was no Rogue. Oh well - worst case scenario is that this isn't very good and some of the proceeds from me being it goes to a good cause. Not too bad - nor was the beer.

Like the 2 other rye beers that I mentioned, this one thankfully had a very subtle rye flavor. Almost not there at all. I got strong caramel malt and an Armarillo hop tone.

A good beer for a good cause.

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Photo of dohastmich
3.74/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber, poured with no head, lacing around the edge of the glass. Appearance is a dark red and cloudy. Has a nice sweet creamy smell to it. The rye is apparent in the taste, very smooth and crisp taste. Slight creamy taste is there too.

I am used to drinking more hopped reds than this, but after a few sips, I was used to it, and it was quite enjoyable.

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Photo of IntriqKen
3.82/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish brown with hardly any head but a faint ring seems to remain all the way through.

Aroma is orange citrus with some sweet toasted malt and caraway seeds. Sort of a 'warming' aroma.

Taste is initially sweet toasted malt melting into sweet orange and caraway seed. Finish is peppery and dry with a rye bread note. Very drying on the finish. There is also a hint of pumpkin meat (unspiced) in the flavor.

It's interesting how all of these flavors, although blended, seem to remain seperate and make themselves known at their allotted time. Beginning - middle - end.

Interesting and very different beer.
It works.

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Photo of Dewey0603
3.9/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear brownish/mahogony with a large tan frothy head. The head leaves good lacing and the only problem I have with this beer is the lack of bubbles. The smell is nice with alot of citrus hops and bread yeast. The taste is interesting with citrus hops,bread yeast,coffee,some dark fruit,and candy sugar. The m/f is light with the flavors mixing well. Doesn't this beer taste like it has more alcohol in it? Not bad,different and worth a try.

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Photo of Sammy
3.65/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found at Grape of Mirth, Colombus, Ohio. Light brown with significant light brown head. Smooth and lacey. A malty taste and aroma.Rye is symbolic in the taste, but it's bready, like a kvas. Medium mouthfeel.Adjunt spiciness.Below average carbonation.

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Photo of hreb
3.65/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cool 22oz bottle served in a curved Dogfish Head label pint glass. Beer pours a dark, chestnut-red-tinted brown with a thin, dark tan head, which falls quickly.

Beer smells like an IPA with a hint of caramel. First sip is pleasant, crisp, and refreshing, with a bitterness that rises before it falls. Tastes coppery, more like a red ale in the middle than an IPA. I'm thinking Palisades or Northern Brewer hops.

Unlike many other American rye beers, it's not a super high gravity IPA. However, I do taste the rye. Not so much the caraway, though. Then again, I do kind of want a corned beef sandwich with muenster, so maybe it's working.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.02/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I saw a bottle of this and grabbed it because it seemed to be implying that it would help some kind of a cause (Myeloma & Bone Cancer Research... I haven't actually read the bottle). And being organic never hurt anything. I try to support when I can, so...

It poured a slightly hazy chestnut brown body beneath a short but creamy head of light tan. The head retention could have been better (perhaps that has something to do with the oils in the rye seeds), but it left some decent lacing.

The nose was interesting. It was a bit caramelish, bready, slightly toasty, a touch fruity, and also a hint smoky. I didn't pick up hops, unless they were contributing to the delicate fruitiness, and as it warmed the maltiness became even more apparent. And although I didn't initially smell rye (or caraway), it became plenty apparent once it warmed.

In the mouth it was medium bodied with a dextrinous edge that put it more towards medium-full; and the moderate, very fine-bubbled (seemingly natural) carbonation left it quite smooth.

The malt seemed to dominate the flavor, but it was also quite readily anchored by the rye. There's a spiciness to it that's not quite apparent initially, but which widens towards the middle as it warms, and then opens up and lingers into a remarkably long finish. Along the way there are very focused notes of dark caramelized sugar that hint at raisin; a rich nuttiness, and softer, bready and gently toasty notes that combine in the finish to become very honey-like. It's bitter in a very focused way at the heart of it, but it's also soft and nutty and sticky-sweet all around. The finish kind of churns the bitter and spiciness against that almost-burnt sugar maltiness, and it's an interesting, exceptionally long tumble.

As far as rye beers go, I feel that the level of rye flavor is high, but that the balance of sweet and spice is very well done with an underlying nutty character, and I'd recommend it as an entrance beer for the style based on that. You can really taste the rye without it completely scrubbing over your palate. Hop flavors punching through would cover that over, especially if they were piney, but this is all about the maltiness.

Beyond that, I actually found it to be fairly well-rounded and balanced given the strength. With more hop bitterness or flavor it could become too aggressive or abrasive. It's a bit of a sipper to be sure, but it has enough complexity to keep you coming back for more. Worth trying.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.1/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

22oz bottle

A- Pours a dark brownish red color with a thin off-white head that quickly turns into a thin ring of lace around the glass.

S- The aroma is malt with toffee/caramel and noticable amounts of rye and caraway seeds.

T- The taste is toasted malt with some rye flavors a really dry and spicy finish. It doesn't taste bad, but to me some of the flavors clashed against each other.

M- Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation.

D- Interesting beer, but it was hard to finish a whole bottle by myself not because of the alcohol, but because the mix of flavors tended to clash and got old after a while.

Overall, Bison Reunion Beer 2008 is a beer worth seeking out if you like rye beers, but it is not something that I would pick up again.

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Photo of russpowell
3.86/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an effervescent caramel with 1 finger of tan head. Zero head retention or lacing

S: Bready with with caramel & some peppery notes

T: Caramel, herbal hops, & peppery rye notes up front. More of the same minus the hops as this warms. Finishes dry, crisp & with a bit of pepper

MF: Medium bodied, pretty smooth with low carbonation & good balance

Very good drinkability, I could happily session on this

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Photo of bonbini26
3.61/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up at Abe's Six Pack in PA. Rye beer, for a good cause, organic, whats not to like?

A- Pours a burnt cloudy orange/reddish bronze, with a creamy white 2-finger head, nice full lacing.
S- Smells of malts, earthy bread notes, a little rye, not as strong as other rye beers, not sure what caraway seeds are suppose to smell like
T- Lots of sweet malt, toasted bread, some spiciness, with a decent amount of hop bitterness (not as strong as some others)
M- Light-medium in body, with a smooth start and finish, creamy and smooth
D- Overall a decent rye beer, and its for a good cause, 1 or 2 of these would do.

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Photo of TLove
3.93/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

(From Notes)

22 oz bottle picked up at Rodman's in D.C. Poured to glass tumbler.

Copper colored, with a medium to dark body with a decent head and nice lacing. Very grainy, but caraway seeds used in moderation, which is great (not averse to caraway taste, just averse to its often excessive use to add flavor). Surprisingly earthy, piney, and deep caramel. Spices are pretty dominant and fruits are subtle, yet strong. Pretty smooth on the back side and finishes very nicely for a rye. Taste is stronger than it seems, with a mere 6.5% ABV. Carbonation is mild and rolls over well for a rye beer.

Doesn't quite match up to my favorite rye beers, but this one is pretty damn good. And for $2.99, I would grab one again in a heartbeat.

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Photo of BeerSox
3.5/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber into water glass (parents' house) shared with dad.

Pours a hazy dark ruby hue with a one finger light tan head that settles to a thin rim.

Very light hop aromas that have a little bit of a candy smell, along with some citrus.

Sweet yet slightly tart rye flavors. A little bit of a toasty grain flavor comes in toward the end. The hops have a strong grapefruit flavor to them. Full bodied with lower carbonation.

A decent rye beer with some good hop flavor. Tastes sort of like a tart AIPA.

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Photo of jaydoc
3.5/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.03/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

.. 22 picked up Friday at Brewforia.. Shared with Brenda... Very little carbonation.. almost no head or cap... there is some CO2, but not alot.. the brew is a pretty deep amber.. very clear... pretty.

Bready.. caramel essence shows more than a caramel sweetness.. grassy hoppiness is pretty muted..

Flavor shows more rye than the nose.. toasty maltiness.. I get a little bit of caraway seed I guess, but I would have probably not identified it had I not been looking for it... nice and pretty dry mid palate through the finish.. the body is nice and medium... needs more carbonation.. this brew is seeming a bit dusty.. maybe too old.. Ehhh... glad I got to try it.


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Photo of mikesgroove
3.83/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this one at Whole Foods yesterday while I had some pizza. On sale for 3.99, I figured I could not go wrong. Served cold and poured into a pint glass. Consumed on 08/11/2008.

The pour was nice with a rich dark, reddish amber tone that looked quite nice in the glass. Good clarity here which was able to show off a good bit of the carbonation. Impressive looking head was a good three fingers in height before settling down to a coating of the rim.

The aroma was decently hopped, albeit way too light to fully get my attention. Decent resin like pine structure, nice amount of rye as well as some decent touches of a bready grain. This carried over very well into the flavor. Tight profile here, crisp and clean with a medium body that was somewhat chewy. Good carbonation as well led to an easy session beer that I had no issue at all with throwing down. It was well balanced with a smooth hop profile and a more then decent dose of rye malts thrown in. Solid biscuit like middle with a somewhat dry and bitter finish.

Overall not bad, not the best, but certainly in the category of good for sure. I would have no issue with trying this one again, and not for nothing, but 3.99 a bomber, you really cannot go wrong with that. Solid offering.

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Photo of Bierguy5
2.99/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

22 oz. bottle, 6.5% ABV. Darker copper color, with a thin off-white head. Head disappears very quickly, leaving a small amount of lace.

A bit of bread, some spicy rye, and a strange smoky, meaty aroma. Not the best combo here. Almost like smoked turkey. ?

Caramel malt, with some spicy rye thrown in, as well as the caraway seed. Somehow this all molds together well. None of the meaty flavor that was present in the nose.

Well balanced, minimal bitterness. Interesting combonation of flavors. This one started to grow on me, but I doubt I would get it again.

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Photo of djeucalyptus
3.5/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a rich amber brown with ruby highlights. A piddly head of a half finger (at best) forms and sticks around for a good while before fading to a ring leaving a bit of lacing here and there.

aroma is sweet and malty with a bit of spice. caramel and floral notes come through, along with a hint of hops and maybe a touch of grain alcohol.

malt foward, with some sweet caramel malt. toasty, floral, and sweet. A bit of subtle spicy rye creeps in. A hint of alcohol shows up on the tongue as well... tastes a touch stronger than 6%... and rye isn't as present as I'd hoped.

full and sweet on the tongue, a touch syrupy and fairly smooth. ample carbonation keeps it a bit light, and delivers the flavors and the spice nicely.

All in all, not quite what i was hoping for. Reminiscent of a strong and spicy dopplebock, this one doesn't quite have as much of a rye bite as I was hoping. Not bad, but definitely tending toward the sweet and caramel side of things. A bit more hop and a bit more rye kick and it would be impressive... as it sits, it's just not bad.

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Photo of errantnight
3.29/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Wow... that's a lot of rye.

A mostly clear amber with thin head and little lacing... this brew really explodes with bread and rye aroma and flavor. Coming through in the nose with tons of spice, and maybe a bordering hint of caramel sweetness and citrus.

Flavor is... like sucking on a piece of rye toast. Husky, grainy notes abound, a swarming rye spice, distinct caraway presence... an assault. It overwhelms any balancing hops, but it does leave a pleasant dryness. Feels grainy and a bit full. Towards the middle of my second glass from the bomber, my taste buds finally began to acclimate, combined with the warmth pulling some sweetness and allowing some of the hop aromas to sneak out, this became quite pleasant and easily drinkable towards the end... although it's a bit strong for sessioning (and too abrasive early on).

I'm glad I tried it, if only to remind me that all things are best in moderation, and while I love the presence of rye, or an appropriately charged roggenbier, this was a bit much.

If you are a rye fanatic, this is the beer for you. If you like rye beers, you should try this, if only for how powerful those notes are. If you don't like rye? Stay. Away.

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Reunion '08 from Bison Brewing
Beer rating: 3.59 out of 5 with 118 ratings