Dining & Drink

Don’t Get Buffaloed

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STAFF PHOTO: J.T. WAMPLER

This Belgian-style dubbel stinks. Seriously.

WAMP’S WISDOM

Big Bison Ale from Crown Valley Brewing Co. in St. Genevieve, Mo., is billed as a Belgian-style dubbel.
It comes in at 7.2 percent alcohol and pours a cloudy, darkish amber with a thin head that dissipates rather quickly with almost no lacing. Aroma is metallic and nutty. Taste is a tangy raisin flavor with a lingering bitter aftertaste that is not at all pleasant.
This ale disappoints on so many levels it’s hard to know where to begin. I like the idea of supporting a nearby brewery, and at about $13 a six-pack, I hoped I was making a good buy. The label with the black and white photograph of a bison was also intriguing.
Add to that my love of Belgian dubbels and I was really excited to try this beer. The off taste, tinny aroma and weird bitterness really turned me off to the point that I have not finished the sixer in almost two months. In that time I’ve gone through plenty of Brother Thelonius and New Belgian Abbey, two wonderful examples of the style.
Rating: 1 cap. Put it back in the bison!

RICO’S REACTION

Ugh.
I was warned this was going to be a rough one. I haven’t been this turned off by a beer since Breckenridge’s cloying, sickly sweet Vanilla Porter left a trail of disgust all the way down my esophagus.
The label describes the ale as “full-bodied and rich with notes of raisin & plum.” A more honest description, IMHO, would be “a beer version of prune juice.”*
Seriously, it’s like someone decided to create a raisin and plum version of Kool-Aid, boiled it down to a syrup and thought, “Hey, I’m-a gonna mix this bad boy up with a beer!” This was probably shortly after they decided to swat a fly off their head with a hammer.
Worse, the closer it got to the bottom of the bottle, the more awful the experience became. The lingering aftertaste built and multiplied in a downward spiral of yech! This one was only finished through sheer force of will in the interest of giving the ale a fair shake.
Sorry, Neighbor-to-the-north Crown Valley. I’d be interested — though a bit leery — in trying your other selections, but there’s no way in hell Big Bison will darken the door of refrigerator again. “Serve chilled,” as the label says? The only way I’ll serve it is out of a pickup truck window at a speed limit sign on Interstate 540.
Rating: 1 cap. And burn the carcass!
*Special thanks to Anne for inspiring me with the prune reference.

RATING SYSTEM

One Cap: Put it back in the horse!
Two Caps: Consume only if the other choice is Tijuana tap water or Coors Light.
Three Caps: Acceptable without standing out. The Tito Jackson of beer, if you will.
Four Caps: Nice beer that rises above most but may not deliver enough to be considered great.
Five Caps: Truly great beer that delivers on all counts. A credit to its style. Could only be better if served by scantily clad concubines.
Six Caps: Any five cap beer served by scantily clad concubines.

▲ Beer O’ The Week is a joint production of two beer enthusiasts — J.T. Wampler and Richard Davis.

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