Barrel Aged Big Bison (Red Wine Barrels) 6.9% ABV
Crown Valley Brewing
It was about two weeks ago. After closing up at work, my co-worker and I met another co-worker, and a couple of former co-workers at a pub for drinks. As always when I look at a beer list I scan to see what beers I haven’t tried before. That is my curse, which sometimes becomes a blessing. I have a desire to try out new beers at all times.
This particular pub had quite the beer list. Not the best I’ve ever seen, but much better than many a bar or pub I’ve patronized. I decided upon the Crown Valley Big Bison Ale. I had steered away from Belgian style beers over the past few months and was getting back into them, as of late1.
My Untappd check-in for this beer was an understatement. It was the best of the beers I had that day and lead me to review a Duvel, an authentic Belgian beer, the following week.
Barrel Aged Big Bison: Ale Aged in Red Wine Barrels. Fast forward about 2 weeks, I was in a store when I saw this beer. I was very curious upon seeing the label. I picked up the bottle and was surprised that the ABV was only 6.9%, the same as the regular Big Bison Ale. Generally speaking I prefer a barrel aged brew that has a bit of an uptick in ABV from it’s un-barrel aged counterpart. But after remembering my enjoyment of the Big Bison Ale and seeing that this 22oz bottle was only $5.99 I decided to go ahead and get it.
I poured this brew into a wine glass as it was aged in Red Wine Barrels. It pours well with a nice white foamy head that dissipates quickly, leaving a shallow rim of foam. The mouthfeel is not watery nor is it syrupy. It has a good mouthfeel which is just the slightest bit chewy. A dulled wine scent comes through in the aroma. The appearance of the beer is cloudy with a minor reddish tint which in certain light makes the overall color a rich amber that borders on brown.
After a few sips, when my palate had adjusted, in the front of the beer I pick up on hints of the Belgian Dubbel flavor. The Dubbel flavor flows into a tannic red wine flavor which takes over the middle and especially the finish of the beer. The red wine flavor is strong but not overpowering. It works very well with the Dubbel base providing a perfect balance.
This is a unique and interesting beer2 . Not something I would want all the time, but it would pair wonderfully with spaghetti, ravioli or other Italian dishes that usually pair with red wine. You might even be able to get a wine drinker who isn’t a fan of beers to enjoy this brew.