Crown Valley Brewery - Big Bison Ale
Int’l Bittering Units (IBUs):23
Suggested Glassware:Chalice or Tulip
Malts:Briess Pale, Pilsner, Munich, Midnight, Wheat, Weyermann Carared
Hops:Perle, East Kent Goldings
Brewed in the style of a Belgian dubbel, Big Bison Ale pours a dark amber color with reddish highlights and a sizeable head that drops nice lacing as it recedes. On the nose, look for a pronounced dark fruit character, offering notes of raisin, plum, fig, and perhaps a bit of apple. There’s plenty of bready malt as well, along with caramel and brown sugar notes capped by some spicy and earthy hints. These aromas come through on the palate as well; expect a moderately sweet core of lightly toasted bready malts, mild toffee, and brown sugar. The dark fruits come through strongly, along with a light touch of spicy Belgian yeast and a very mild phenolic (medicinal) note, while the alcohol (though well-hidden) contributes a bit of balance to the beer’s sweeter side. A nice beer as a digestif after a meal, we also recommend pairing this Big Bison with grilled or barbequed dishes, roasted pork, or earthy cheeses. Enjoy!
The story of Crown Valley Brewery begins in 1984 when Joe Scott, Sr., who had spent many a happy summer on his grandfather’s farm in Coffman, MO, returned to the area and started his own ranch. In 1998 he planted his first grape vines (an uncommon white hybrid varietal known as Chardonel, popular in Missouri vineyards) and two years later Crown Valley Winery was born. Fast forward to the present day and the Crown Valley property has grown and branched out into a multi-faceted business and an entertaining destination, replete with vineyards supplying grapes for both red and white wines, our featured brewery/distillery and attached pub and grill (just a couple miles down the road from the winery), a banquet hall suitable for weddings and parties, and a meat company which, among other things, produces tasty jerky from their herd of bison which roams among the grape vines. Oh, and for good measure, there’s also the Crown Ridge Tiger Sanctuary, home to several rescued big cats.
While they had been brewing beer for a while beforehand, the Crown Valley Brewery opened to the public in May 2009. The brewery is headed up by brewmaster Carl Wiersma, a Wisconsin native whose resume includes several years as Director of Malting for Kurth Malting, as well as several years spent as the brewhouse manager for Anheuser-Busch’s Research Pilot Brewery where he was engaged in all aspects of brewing, from malting through to cellaring, and was in charge of designing experimental beers. But make no mistake, Wiersma’s Crown Valley brews are far removed from the beers that come to mind when we think of Anheuser-Busch. In fact, with over a dozen year-round and seasonal beers and ciders (as well as Fizzy Izzy Root Beer – named after one of the tigers at the sanctuary), Crown Valley is producing an impressively wide array of styles.
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