Reunion '08 | Bison Brewing

118 Ratings
no score
Send samples
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.

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 118 |  Reviews: 106
Photo of djeucalyptus
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

 1,063 characters

Photo of lackenhauser
3.12/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Muddy looking, somewhat off reddish color. Decent aroma-quite hoppy with a syrupy, treacle hint. Malty flavor with a sharp hop bitterness. Slight spice from the rye. Somewhat of a perfume flavor. On the thin side body wise. Rather an average beer overall. Basically an amped up US pale or red. Yawn.

 299 characters

Photo of BeerSox
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

 506 characters

Photo of ffejherb
3.58/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz. bomber into Sam Adams glass on 12/21/08. Thanks to Deuane for sharing.

A - Dark amber/copper-colored body with plenty of carbonation and one-finger frothy, off-white head that retained well and left some fat, sticky lace around the glass.

S - Malt-forward aroma with hints of rye, caramel malt and mild spices complemented by a subtle bouquet of floral and perfumy hops. There's also a slight tinge of alcohol.

T - Malty flavor with sweet caramel and toffee notes paired with a floral, perfumy hop character and a mild spicy rye presence.

M - Medium body with a slightly syrupy texture and soft, smooth texture. A tad watery, perhaps. Mild hop bitterness on the palate with a slight dryness from the rye in the finish.

D - Decent red rye ale with a malty personality. More hops would be nice, but this one drinks pretty easily.

 842 characters

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.06/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed on 8/3/08. Bottle. Pours a brown/amber with a small white head. Aroma of pepper spices, sweet malt, raspberry and other berry fruits. Flavor of initial sweetness with a spicy finish. I also got coffee grounds and smoke in the finish. An odd watery/harsh palate. This was an odd one and kind of wears on you by the end of the glass.
6/4/6/3/14 (3.3/5)

 359 characters

Photo of Deuane
3.67/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Slightly hazed deep reddish copper body with a thin off-white head. Head dissipates quickly and leaves spotty lace.

S-Dry rye and spciy notes from the caraway. Subtle fruit notes of apple/pear and a bit of spicy hops. Strong presence of sweet caramel malt.

T-Big malt sweetness with a bit of dryness from the rye. Spicy notes from the caraway and hop combo. This is without question though a malt forward beer...and a little too much so for my taste.

M-Medium body fairly smooth and ends nice a dry.

D-A very interesting and well done beer. A bit to malty for me and thus something I would not seek out again. I wish they would have let the rye and caraway shine thru to produce a drier/spicier brew.

 709 characters

Photo of jackorain
3.01/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours slightly hazy red to dark amber with a 1/2 light tan head. The haed fell quicly until it stoped at about 1.4 inch which then hung around for while. Decent lacing left behind.

Aroma is mollases galore. Very malt with caramel behind the mollases. Some spicy rye character and piny hops push through in the end.

Wow this is a real malt bomb. What is the residual sweetness on this beer? Just really sweet. Mollases, caramel, simple syrup and biscuit. Spicy rye and piney hops from the nose are present in the middle. The finsh leave a sticky sweetmness and slight bitterness.

This beer has quite firm, medium body. Carboantion is light

It was worth a try but I am going to struggle to finish this bomber. Overall it is just to cloyinly sweet.

Thanks For Reading

 771 characters

Photo of BDIMike
3.97/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a copper-reddish color. There is slight carbonation that creates a thin tan head that went away almost immediately.
Smell has a very strong malt smell. Followed then by a nice plum and honey smell. Finally, there is a good hop and spiciness hint at the end.
Taste has a lot of nice elements in it. The malts are nice in the beginning. They are replaced by nice plum, honey tastes. There is a good sugary taste, also, that comes along with the hops. Finally, there is a nice spiciness to the end.
Mouthfeel has a good smoothness to it. A bit of the chewiness in it from the caraway seeds.
Drinkability is nice, especially for a beer with an ABV of 6.5%. There is a good balance of a lot of different tastes and spices. The mouthfeel and good taste make this a good beer that is definitely worth a try.

 807 characters

Photo of Billolick
3.97/5  rDev +10.3%
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.

 529 characters

Photo of HeyItsChili
3.57/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Pours a deep reddish-amber with a medium tan head that slowly dissolves.

S - Smells of spice, warm malts, caramel, rye bread flavor is very strong and evident here.

T - Caramel warmed to well-done, spices, very mild and sweet roasted malt, and pungent rye.

M - Good mouthfeel, medium to light body.

D - Sort of settles heavy for a thinner bodied beer, in my opinion.

 375 characters

Photo of magictrokini
3.89/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

 431 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.02/5  rDev +11.7%
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.

 2,476 characters

Photo of HumuloneRed
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. Bottle.
The beer pours a slightly murky orange red with some white head and thin lacing.
The nose has some nice sweet bread and malt notes. There is also some apple and pear.
The flavor has bread, sweet malt, and fruit notes with some earthy hop bitterness. It could use more bitterness to balance the sweet malt. However the crisp finish from the rye helps balance somewhat.
The body and mouthfeel is a little thin but overall it is pretty drinkable beer.

 464 characters

Photo of danielharper
3.82/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Deep red body, clear, thin off-white head. No effervescence, no lacing. Head dissipates immediately.

Smell: It's a Rye Ale, so naturally there's a lot of rye. Other aromas include apples and cherries, hints of crisp hops. Sweet, slightly tart. Interesting.

Taste: Now the rye's up top, very prominent. Hints of a sweetness underneath, finishes with a bitter hoppiness. The rye's pretty intense at first, but as the tongue gets used to it the flavor is actually quite pleasant.

Mouthfeel: Moderate thickness, low carbonation, high hoppiness.

Drinkability: Not sure. The rye is a bit too prominent for my taste, but overall this is a decent beer. Fans of rye will probably like it more than I do.

 713 characters

Photo of doppelmeup
4.25/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I tried this at a vertical Rye Beer tasting, and was pleasantly surprised.

Nice reddish amber appearance. Head was creamy and left decent lacing.

Aromas were of pumpernickel bread, however it was not as strong as some of the other rye beers we sampled.

Taste was excellent. My friends voted it the best tasting of all the beers we tried. There was a nice maltiness which balanced the hops and rye, but didn't make the beer overly sweet. I tasted some chocolaty/caramel flavors, along with the soft rye. It was much more nuanced than I expected.

Mouthfeel was pleasant. The flavors hit up front, then left the palate quickly.

Overall, this was a nice beer and I would recommend it to all. The rye flavor, while definitely present, were not overpowering.

 757 characters

Photo of montageman
4.67/5  rDev +29.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

First of all, I'd like to commend Bison Brewing for creating this beer as a memorial for their friend and their continuing desire to find a cure for cancer.

I was taken aback by the pour - there was literally no head, which worried me for a second as I thought the beer may have gone flat. No worries, though, carbonation is there. The rye is immediately evident in the nose with some sweetness as well. I absolutely love the way this beer tastes - big sweet maltiness with a delightful sourness from the caraway and a nice slightly dry finish. Mouthfeel is full bodied and well carbonated. This may be a novelty beer, I could drink this all night. Great stuff and a great cause. Highly recommended.

 728 characters

Photo of erikm25
3.67/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Pours a thinly lit charcoal burgundy. Dark caramel blooding and bronzing when held to light. Small rustic head that quickly bubbles and then disappears leaving minimal lacing.

S: Immediate earthy quality. Hints of orange, flowers, and toasted malts. Heavy on sweet peppers, caraway, and berries. Spiced rye bread and a subtle caramel undertone help balance out the nose.

T: Heavy on the rye taste. Sweetly roasted malts. A moderate hop kick. A slightly spiced and charred jab in the finish. Alcohol is delicately hidden. This delivers on the rye and follows up with the hops.

M: Medium bodied with a sweet and smooth aftertaste. Low carbonation.

D: The cause alone is worth the purchase. Unfortunately, most everyone has had an experience with cancer in some degree. I suggest G. Edward Griffin for those looking for another perspective on this terrible affliction. Aside from all my potential ranting this was a very delicious beer. Coupled with a Cajun dish all should go well.

 988 characters

Photo of BretSikkink
3.68/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A burnished mahogany sort of color. Not much in the way of tan head, but pretty creamy and sticky. Decent lacing.

Aromas of earthy, German malt alongside a little pepperiness and a slightly floral hop presence.

The flavor is mostly spicy, I suppose it's malt-forward as claimed, but only when compared to the hops. The caraway seeds and rye combination overpower the palate, leaving only a peppery, herbal flavor behind.

What hops are there contribute a mild floral action to the overall flavor, but die out quickly. Fairly light in body, but about medium for the given style which doesn't put too many qualifications. Nice and smooth, not too many bubbles, although a little more carbonation might have worked to mitigate the more overbearing aspects of the rye/caraway.

Really not too bad - just a little middle of the road. Something felt a little off, and overall not in my flavor wheelhouse, but still a solid effort.

 927 characters

Photo of IBUnit63
3.83/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber into Red Oak mug...

Deep, auburn/amber color heads up well with cappucino-colored head. Body is still as far as visible carbonation goes but there's solid lacing and a few muffin tunnels to the head, and it sticks around.

The scent of caraway seeds hits the olfactory right from the pour even before bringing the mug to the nose. They're nicely woven into rich , rye malt and grassy hops. A little earthy.

Full-flavored heavy rye with wild, grassy hops. Very hearty yet somewhat mild and actually soothing.

Palate gets a nice, mellow tingle from abundance of rye and caraway seeds with a viscous coating of oil on the hop profile. Finish is a little earthy.

Although this is extremely bountiful it finishes nicely and is not terribly filling. Good effort for a great cause.

 786 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.65/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a mug glass.

A: The beer is a light brown color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized rye malts, spices, some hops and some citrus.

T: The taste is malty at first with flavors of caramel, rye and other spices plus a little fruit. Then there's a decently strong hops bitterness that comes in and provides a good balance. The after-taste is slightly bready and slightly bitter.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is dry and slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, it might not be the best Rye Beer that I've had but this is a solid beer worth drinking for a while.

 768 characters

Photo of hellomcfly
3.55/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber color with a small off white head and some decent lacing

Smells of malt and caraway don't detect a lot of hop or rye

Tastes heavy on malt, rye, and oak. Not a lot of hop action to speak of.

Mouthfeel was somewhere between thin and medium bodied. I felt it could use some more carbonation.

Drinkability is pretty average I guess

 351 characters

Photo of Seanibus
3.18/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is a smooth and enjoyable beer, but really I was hoping for more. With the excellent ambers and ryes out there lately, I find it disappointing that Bison took such a conservative, restrained approach, particularly on a one-time only commemorative.

Pours a deep amber with a very slight head. The aroma is amber and a bit rye with hints of dark cherry. The flavor is surprisingly mild, almost ephemeral, showing hints of plum, cherry and some rye but none of the coriander spice promised on the label. The spice shows up - slightly - on the finish as a peppery bite along with a little hop bitterness. The finish is sweetish and caramely, with a little hop bitterness. The mouthfeel is smooth but a little viscous with a disappointing lack of carbonation.

 760 characters

Photo of DefenCorps
3.03/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

22oz bottle picked up at the Village Pump in College Park. Poured into my Duvel tulip

A: Deep crimson with a thin beige head that recedes fairly quickly, leaving some lacework

S: Spicy rye with caraway seeds (I love caraway seeds in meat and bread and in a beer, it's compelling) and a sweetish malt backbone with plums. There a definite tobacco/leather character too. Interesting stuff, I like it. As it warms up, it gets overpowering, though

T: Tons of rye flavor - so much that it tastes like stale, dry, rye bread. The caraway flavor comes through mildly along with some sweetness before a mildly bitter and spicy finish takes over.

M: Carbonation is good and the drying spicy finish is nice but I'll be damned if there's not enough rye in this

D: I doubt I'll finish this. The first 4oz are about all i need

 817 characters

Photo of smcolw
3.43/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Light brown color and mostly clear. Good starting head, but it dissipates quickly. It does leave very good lace on the side of the glass.

Malty but dry aroma. Light bittersweet chocolate. Light hop on the end.

Quite dry flavor, with a thinnish body (and high carbonation). I don't really detect any rye. The aftertaste is mostly dry malt with light hop and a peppery flavor.

I consider this to be a moderately enjoyable beer. I like the brown ale elements as well as the pepper spice.

 487 characters

Photo of objectivemonkey
3.53/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Into a tulip glass, pours a clear, dark amber copper, with a nice one inch head that shrinks to a thin film and a small floating mass, with a bit of lacing. The aroma features a whole lot of dry nuts and grains, a bit green perhaps. There are some toasty malts in there too. Its kind of weird.

Its taste comes on nicely, but as it fades, it doesn't quite feel right, or taste right for that matter. The same flavors and more in the aroma are here. I have no idea what caraway seeds taste like, but this Reunion Ale is aptly named... it takes a number of individual good things and puts em together this one time, and its an oddly interesting thing, but you end up happy its happening just this once.

The mouth is a but thin, but otherwise is fine and dandy. Overall, an interesting experiment, a good cause, an odd duck of a beer.

 833 characters

Reunion '08 from Bison Brewing
3.6 out of 5 based on 118 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.