Tasting: January 4, 2013
My first exposure to Buffalo Bill Brewing was their pumpkin ale. They claim to be the original pumpkin ale and I can vouch for at least 20 years of history since a six pack came in my â€œbeer of the month clubâ€ back in 1992. I recall it being a truly unique experience and yes – I liked it and raved about it to everyone that would listen. Now I know who to blame for the senseless annual onslaught of crappy pumpkin beer â€“ me – and Buffalo Bill!
A little background on the brewery â€“ only one year after California enacted legislation that permitted breweries to sell their beer on premise, Bill Owens opened the Buffalo Bill brewpub in 1983. They released Alimony Ale for the first time in 1987. The story goes that this ale was originally brewed for a customer of the pub. This customer was going through a divorce, so it was apropos that the ale be bitter.
They currently contract brew and distribute Alimony Ale via larger regional breweries â€“ and although it was once called â€œthe most bitter beer in Americaâ€ by Playboy magazine, I suspect that twenty five years later, theyâ€™ve lost that title. Pour is cloudy and has a nice sweet caramel aroma. Easy to discern that this isn’t a bitter beer at all — at least by today’s standards. I’m getting a number of different opinions on the IBU — between 60 – 80. I’ll say it isn’t even close to 60. Very breadish and malty. Flavor is light. Mouthfeel is fizzy and so-so. It probably was a better brew in it’s day — but today I’d put it at 80 points.