Bison vs. Guinness Stout Day Challenge


Last week, Daniel Del Grande (@bisonbrew) announced a contest called the Bison vs. Guinness #StoutDay Challenge.  For the challenge, six bloggers were chosen from Twitter if they tweeted, “Hey @bisonbrew! Enter me to win a spot in the Bison vs. Guinness #StoutDay Challenge!!!“.  The winners would be sent a package, including samples of Guinness Draught Stout and Bison Brewing’s Organic Chocolate Stout, some propaganda materials and a pint glass from Bison Brewing.  I was lucky enough to be one of those chosen.

The propaganda stated that their Chocolate Stout falls in the Dry Stout or Irish Dry Stout category, same as Guinness.  They also claimed that their stout “possesses a keen likeness to Guinness”.  We’ll see…

My first challenge was to do this as blindly as possible.  My wife called earlier in the day to say she would be home late.  The only other people home with me were two of my kids.  How was I going to do this blindly?  I found two pint glasses that were the same and labeled the bottom of the glasses.  I poured the beers myself, trying my best to not look at them as I poured.  I then stepped out of the room and had the older of the kids move the glasses around.  I came back into the room, picked them up, and further mixed them up.  I decided I am not going to judge color, head, etc, just taste.  This made it easier for me to close my eyes, pick a glass at random and start writing notes.

Still, it wasn’t that easy.  The fact is, Bison’s Chocolate Stout’s head dissipated quickly while Guinness’ head stuck forever.  I don’t know what the hell Guinness adds to their beer to make the head stick so long and thick, maybe egg whites (calm down, that’s a joke).

StoutDay Challenge Package


As blindly as possible; we’ll call the beer on my left “Bison” and the beer on my right “Guinness”.

“Bison’s” aroma was heavy on the chocolate, hints of vanilla and medium-roast coffee.  “Guinness'” aroma was of copper and diet cola.

“Bison’s” mouth-feel was a medium body and lightly carbonated.  “Guinness'” mouth-feel was flat and watery.

“Bison’s” taste was bitter chocolate (and lots of chocolate), cola, a faint hint of copper and medium-roast coffee.  “Guinness'” taste was heavy on the copper, very bitter chocolate, medium-roast coffee and cola.


I decided afterwards to sip back and fourth.  A few sips here, a few there, one here, one there.  “Bison” was clearly my favorite.  I like the mouth-feel better because it wasn’t so light (read: watery).  I disliked the taste of “Guinness” because of its coppery awkwardness.  Also, “Bison’s” chocolaty goodness absolutely wins.

Do these beers possess the likeness that Bison claims?  Side-by-side, I say no.  But I do think if you brought your Guinness-only friend to the bar and truly blindly gave him a Bison Organic Chocolate Stout alone, he would probably not notice (and even proclaim the Guinness here tastes better, like it does in Ireland…like a milkeshake! *moan*).

The Reveal

Winner?  “Bison”.  By far.  And I’m not just saying it because they were so nice to me for sending me free beer and shit.  I’m saying it because it’s the truth man!  I only wish Bison were more available in Colorado.  I like organic food stuffs because I feel we are better off without pesticides and all that crap.  And it’s not often you find an organic beer.  But more importantly, the beer is good and tasty.  (And it’s perfect for this cold weather we are having right now in Colorado)

Oh yeah, and “Bison” is…do I really need to tell you?

EDIT: See the results from the other bloggers here:


3 thoughts on “Bison vs. Guinness Stout Day Challenge

  1. Scott,

    Thanks so much for subjecting yourself to our little competition. Obviously, we knew what the results would be, but we did just want to drive home the two points that 1. beers within the same style have variance and 2. craft beers significantly differ from their macro counterparts. This was no means a declaration that we are better than Guinness, but we did want people to know that there are other options for an Irish Dry Stout on the market.

    Thanks again!



    • Thanks for the opportunity Beer Wench. With me, and hopefully others that read this blog and the other blogs, your points will get across. There are more Irish Dry Stouts out there than just Guinness, and they are better tasting. Honestly, I don’t see all the excitement over Guinness myself…it’s really not that good. People should give the others a try.

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