Organic Belgian Ale
Bison Brewing

Organic Belgian AleOrganic Belgian Ale
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Ranked #539
Ranked #47,509
3.35 | pDev: 13.43%
Bison Brewing
California, United States
Organic Belgian AleOrganic Belgian Ale
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Reviews: 57 | Ratings: 62 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by TheLongBeachBum:
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TheLongBeachBum from California

3.28/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Presentation: 22oz Bomber, picked up for $3.49. Most noticeable is the purple & charcoal paper strip that covers the crown cap and which is adhered to the front of the tall neck by a green and white roundel sticker that has the words ‘USDA Organic’ on it. The main label lists the beer as ‘Bison Organic Belgian Ale’, stated as 8.1% by Vol. No freshness date.

The blurb states “Our organic “Tripple-Style ale contains hints of fruit. Most notably plum, and was made with authentic Belgian Candi crystals, organic malts, water and yeast. The brew is balanced with a robust maltiness, a touch of coriander, and the subtle spiciness of organic Cascade Hops”

Appearance: It pours with a nice looking deep golden with amber-yellow hints when backlit. A small white head formed as the beer settled but disappeared as quickly as it formed. Once stabilized in the Goblet it has a very thin halo head that is completely devoid of any presence over the surface area of the beer. Medium-low carbonation and some active streamers give the beer some life and are the only things that prevent a dour ‘flat’ appearance.

Nose: Spicy fruity malts with some light hops. It has a nice nose similar to that of many other good Tripels, but just a little more reticent to let you know this, the odors are feint at times.

Taste: A spicy malt starts the beer, hops and coriander twang. It is pleasant and immediately relaxes the drinker, but it has a little raw quality to it which never really goes away. The alcohol is partially hidden, and only really comes through in the ending when it adds mild warmth to the swallow. A nice enough Tripel, but a little raw at times, and often restrained.

Mouthfeel: Above average mouthfeel that is aided by a large sweet malt character but sometimes detracted by the rather low carbonation lending a ‘heavy and lifeless’ feel to the beer at times.

Drinkability: The lack of any real carbonation can make this beer a little heavy going. In conjunction with the sticky sweetness and raw character that this beer has, makes one Bomber enough, I noticed that it took me a while to finish this one; I slowed as I worked my way down the bottle.

Overall: A little unrefined for a Tripel, and at times the sweetness has a sticky aspect to it. Not bad, but not one that I would invest in again, I would much prefer to pay the extra and have a Westmalle any day of the week.

Jan 12, 2004
More User Reviews:
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Brent from Kentucky

4/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bit milder than the average Tripel, which can get a bit rough around the edges at times. Nice level of sweetness, with some fruity notes that were not cloying. Smooth at the end, and the abv was not evident with any heat or pepper in the flavor. Drinkability was quite nice.

Jul 10, 2006
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marc77 from California

3.25/5  rDev -3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

Oddly pellucid dark straw hue. Head recedes into a meager, porcelain - white collar. Foam wisps remain. Honey - drizzled lime and clove are upfront in aroma, with secondary notes of green apple and licorice adding somewhat medicinal depth. In flavor, incipient is a transient snap of crackers and honey, which then yields to a surge of citrus zest and herbaceous coriander. Moderate hop bitterness arises after a deliberation mid palate and nearly completely supplants malt sweetness, lending an agreeable, thirst inducing dry void. Thin in body, yet this only adds to the addictive drinkability. Finishes virtually bone dry, with trace phenol and vegetal, bitter melon hints. An odd, somewhat tame, yet dangerously drinkable tripel. A delayed, soothing alcohol warmth is the only indication of its strength. This could grow on you.

Aug 30, 2005
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beerguy101 from California

3.06/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Orange gold color. Small white, quickly dissipating foamy head. Aroma is fruity and spicy. A medium bodied Belgian Ale. Malts are fruity and sweet. Oranges, apricots and peaches are the predominate fruit flavors. Slightly spicy, with a touch of coriander and slight hint of candi sugar. Very smooth taste. No hint of the 8.1 % alcohol. I’m not sure if I would call this a ‘tripple”, it a toned down Belgian style ale. It has a lot of the Belgian character to it, but they are way to mild. It needs to be kicked up a notch! Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly sweet.

Dec 01, 2003
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oberon from North Carolina

3.07/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a not so tripel looking dull golden with not much head to speak of no haze and no blooming head.Big coriander nose almost nothing else,after grinding some coriander seeds for chili just a half hour before this smells nearly identical maybe a touch of smoke in there as well.Flavors as well with big coriander tones and smoke with a hint a light hint of apricot.Whoo this should be labeled Bison coriander spiced beer because its dominant to much so,wont drink again.

Mar 24, 2006
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rastaman from England

3/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle. Didn’t taste very Belgian to me. It does have a decent amount of candy sugar flavour, but theres too many floral US hops to be calling it Belgian. The result was a little sweet, and a little odd. But, its drinkable, and interesting its own i suppose, , yeah.... not bad.

Feb 19, 2005
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aracauna from Georgia

3.53/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear, true gold body with a fluffy, slightly sticky, white head that builds nicely and easily, but fades a little too quickly. The aroma is lightly spicy and has a touch of sweet straw malt. The flavor is lightly sweet, straw and cake malt, coriander and a bit of yeasty spiciness. The Belgian yeast character could have been a bit more promounced, although the alcohol is surprisingly well covered up. The flavor is also a little too quick to fade. Immensely drinkable though.

Nov 02, 2004
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BeerManDan from California

3.7/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It poured a light golden yellow with not much foam and no lace at all. The smell was of a spicy and hoppy nature. The taste was of spicies and hop's like the aroma. The only set back was that had a little to much sweetness. Not really that bad, just not used to a Belgian Ale with so much sweetness.

Dec 22, 2003
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NeroFiddled from Pennsylvania

4.17/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Carefully poured, Bison's Organic Belgian Ale delivers a beautifully clear, golden-orange body beneath a short but creamy head of bright-white foam that dissipates quickly but still manages to leave some nice lace about the glass. Coriander is clearly evident in the nose, backed by some honeyish malt and notes of citrus rind. It's somewhat dextrinous and smooth across the palate; although it's very-fine bubbled, natural carbonation initially lends a light zest to the tongue. Fruit dominates the flavor once a quick sprinkling of spice has passed, with notes of peach, apricot, orange, and a subtle hint of lemon. (And the actual flavor from the grain is very nice... they must be using some good malt!). It's sweet, but not overly so; and the spice is nicely balanced to lend both flavor and a bit of zest. The bitterness is kept to a minimum, as it should be, and the spice helps to balance its sweetness and usher in a raspy, dry finish that lingers with coriander and a drip of honeyish malt. It's clean throughout; and there's no hint whatsoever of the 8.1% abv. A bit more complexity would be nice, and the lack of head retention is a bit disappointing; but overall this is a really enjoyable beer with a rich character and a good deal of drinkability.

Dec 30, 2004
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Gusler from Arizona

3.5/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer after its emancipation from the 22-ounce brown bottle sets in the glass a shining clear gold color with the head portly in size and a creamy white with the residual lace a thin velum like sheet. Nose is slightly musty sweet malt, crisp and clean with the start modestly sweet and the grain profile adequate, top is middling in its feel to the palate. Finish is biting in its acidity and the hops pleasantly spicy; aftertaste is desert bone dry with a slight hint of alcohol bitterness, a drinkable beer.

Oct 10, 2004
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RBorsato from Virginia

2.68/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Apricot in color with little to no large white bubbles for a head and low slow carbonation. Fruity almost orange peel aroma but smells very artificial ... strange considering this is organic :-). Very similar flavor with a light alcohol note on the finish; more like a wit than a tripel. Light-medium bodied and flat.

Sub-par tripel and sub-par wit. Pass.

Per Label: "Since 1989" & "Tripple-style ale with Belgian candi Systals, Organic Cascade hops" & "Brewer's reserve" (per sticker on cap)

Per Bison website: Ground Coriander

Tasted: 03/24/06

($4.99 / 22 oz.)

Jun 29, 2006
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Reidrover from Oregon

3.77/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber. Nice but average looking ale, bright, clear golden yellow with a very small white head, that goes very quick. Aroma is spicy with what i pick up as dark honeyeish tones, slightly yeasty and curiously i pick up dry roasted peanut!!! Nice semi-sweet malty taste finished off by pepper like spices an some hint of dark fruits,lemon skin and clove. Its rather average on the palate but I think this helps out in a beer this strong in alcohol and flavour. Overall a nice beer, nothing fancy but drinkable.

Dec 29, 2006
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cbl2 from New York

2.71/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

8/28/2006 $4.00 22 oz. 8.10% No best by date.


Pours a hazy glowing orange with an inch and a half of large white foam that takes a rather long time to settle leaving a nice lace behind.


Odd mild fruitiness with some muted undertones of yeast. Alcohol is masked entirely by the fruit, but I'm not sure that's a good thing.


Coarse mouthfeel with odd fruity esters accompanied by some pungent spicyness. Medicinal finish with hints of the alcohol appearing. One of the least undesirable Tripel's I've ever sampled.

Aug 28, 2006
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TheLiterati from California

2.7/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Light amber color, poured into a snifter. Head is thin but has a slight fluffiness, though it doesn’t last long.

Smells of alcohol, candy, and hints of coriander. A second, deeper sniff reveals a nostril-burning smell of alcohol.

Upon first sip, tastes of fruit, and comes close to being syrupy and cloying. However, a dry, spicy finish keeps it from completely coating the tongue in an unpleasant manner.

Leaves a nice lace in the glass, but alas, an unpleasant aftertaste in my mouth.

All in all, not my favorite representation of this style, but passable.

Aug 20, 2006
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clvand0 from Kentucky

3.4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a fairly clear yellow color with a small head and nice retention and lacing. The aroma is fairly sweet with hints of spice, but not much else. The flavor has the spices and finishes with a bitterness that is drying. The alcohol isn't very noticeable, but the warming effects are there. Seems a tad thin, but it has some nice character going on and is worth a look. Nothing spectacular.

Jun 16, 2006
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WesWes from New York

3.75/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a gold color with a thick frothy white head that quickly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a rich pale malt and candi sugar scent that seems light with a slightly warm aroma. It has a fine hop aroma as well as an earthy breadlike scent; very nice. The taste is decent. It has an extremely smooth pale malt taste some bisquit flavors. It is light with some residual sweetness on the finish. It's not as rich as you would expect. The mouthfeel is decent as well. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a lighter tripel than I'm used to. I guess a thicker body would be more traditional. This is a highly drinkable tripel. The hops add excellent balance and in turm drinkability. It warms only slightly; a good drinker.

Aug 15, 2005
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karengarys from Indiana

2.34/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This pours hazy tannish straw color, nice fluffy foam that sticks to the glass.

It smells strange. Sour lemonaide? Not sure, just odd.

Taste is very odd too. Sour lemonaide with malts and bitter stuff and sour stuff and wierd spices and a chemical and seltzer and... it is like a cluster.... um.... a messed up concoction. I don't know where it is going and don't care to find out.

Mouthfeel is pretty good if you can live through all that. Kind of refreshing coarse and dry and bubbley.

Finish is bitter asprin. and it lingers. Eegh.

Not my idea of a brew. I would pass on this if offered again, and when I see it on the shelf, I know to avoid it.

Jun 26, 2007
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Phyl21ca from Canada (QC)

2.3/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle (shared with Capflu, DumDum and Lubière): Poured a light golden color ale with a small head without much retention. Floral aroma with weak Belgian yeast. Taste is a mix between some coriander, a bit of candi sugar and some subtle floral malt. Body is definitely too thin and this beer lacks character. Thanks Lubière.

Aug 29, 2005
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RoyalT from Ohio

3.89/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance – The body is “flat soda” orange and light. That’s OK, but what’s not OK is the complete lack of carbonation. This is supported by other BA reviews, so I don’t think I got a bad bottle.

Smell – Very sticky sweet, spicy malts lead the way here with a nice hop balance. It’s the fruits though that run this show. The orange and peach in particular stand out. Otherwise, it’s a bit yeasty at times with some big coriander and white pepper.

Taste – The bitter orange almost reminds me of a pale ale. This is very well-balanced. I enjoy also the spicy malts and complex fruiting along with that sharp candy-type of sweetness. There are some nice watermelon flavors in there too, which you don’t find very often.

Mouthfeel – Medium-bodied and very exciting in the mouth, due mostly to the spices. I didn’t care for the lack of carbonation, though. On the other hand, I liked that little alcohol sting. It was just right in my book.

Drinkability – I’m not going to can this review just because it’s uncarbonated, mainly because all the other components of a good Abbey Tripel were present. It was a distraction, though, I must admit.

Comments: This Abbey Tripel had almost no nose until it warmed. Take your time rating this one.

Aug 04, 2004
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Gueuzedude from Arizona

3.65/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled May 2007
Absolutely brilliantly clear with a washed out cranberry tinged, copper color. The head starts out about two-fingers thick and is an almost white colored head. Quite fruity smelling with notes of orange zest, bergamot, a touch of kiwi, and Macintosh apples (though it mostly smells of bergamot). Actually bergamot is quite an apt descriptor as this definitely reminds me of the citrus notes in earl grey. Touches of earthy spice aromas also meld in to the aroma.

The flavor has an astringent spiciness to it in the finish that adds a bit of sharpness and ultimately provides a balance to the upfront, sweet orange peel flavors. Quite a bit sweeter than I would like, I almost thick that this beer has been heavily filtered, but it might have just have some very retarded Belgian yeast character. Very clean tasting, definitely too much so, but it is still fairly tasty. An earthy spiciness somewhere between coriander, menthol and dandelions.

The use of cascade hops is surely not very traditional (did they use citrus peel on top of this), but it is the lack of yeast character that keeps this beer from being great. Still it is quite tasty and definitely quite drinkable. This hides the alcohol fairly well, but after some time the alcohol becomes apparent in the aroma.

Jun 13, 2007
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GreenWBush from Oregon

2.88/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Dirty gold, tiny head, whir of bubbles. Near placid after it settles. Nothing I’d see from far away and think was one of the Belgian classics.

Nose is dry with coriander and minimal yeast esters. Lightly perfumed, but does nothing to pull the drinker or keep him interested.

Taste is peppery spice with dry and bitey mineral and metallic notes. Not at all sweet. Hop bite tastes somewhat PacNW-like and seems out of place.

Strangely, the mouthfeel was also fairly out of whack with carbonation too apparent on the tongue despite its lack of physical evidence. This beer was a mistake and as such fairly undrinkable.

Aug 20, 2007
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GCBrewingCo from North Carolina

3.53/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured into the chalice crystal clear pale golden straw with a white head which fell quickly but lasted to lace the glass.

The aroma was spicy with a coriander to almost cinnnamon aroma most prevalent. Some higher alcohols boosted the phenolic presence.

The flavor was mostly spicy coriander with no depth or complexity to the flavor. The flavor was more like a pale ale with some spice than a Belgian brew. The hop bittering was present and nicely done and a light earthy hop flavor existed, but not complexity of flavors emerged.

The finish was dry with lasting nice coriander into the aftertaste. The body was medium and well done making a highly drinkable brew. The beer was missing aromatics and flavor components that create complexity, but was a nice brew nonetheless. Nothing at all wrong with the beer, but nothing to write home about either.

22 ounce bottle. Label says Beer brewed with Coriander. 8.1% ABV on cap.

May 27, 2005
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asabreed from New York

3.1/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle into a snifter.

Appearance: Not much carbonation, not much head retention, and a golden yellow color to the body.

Smell: A headful of floral candi sugar without a lot of phenolic backing. I'm not sure if it's the age or what, as there's not date on this, but there's certainly none of that Belgian quality and funkiness coming through at all. Still, the floral and sugary nature, still, is somehow inviting minus the wished-for complexity.

Taste: A nod from the aroma, with sweetness and floral candi sugar qualities coming to the forefront. Some interesting floral sourness, possibly from some citrus-laden hops, are also coming through a bit. Again, nothing great, but coming through without everything that, maybe, a Belgian should stand for, at least in the opinion of someone who hasn't had a fresh brew over there.

Mouthfeel: Not much carbonation and a lot of thickness from probably all the sugar.

Drinkability: The highest rating as far as I'm concerned; this hasn't been an awful experience, though it hasn't been much of a gem. I wouldn't buy anymore than a bottle if you're sampling, but I always love a domestic that's willing to try, even if it falls shorter than what, I imagine, was anticiapated.

Feb 12, 2007
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BuckeyeNation from Iowa

3.43/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Lightly smoky amber-orange with a diminishing number of uprushing bubbles that occupy all points on the speed spectrum. The head is an attractive shade of aged ivory and shows off a supremely pitted upper surface. Unfortunately, it collapses too quickly. A decent amount of thick, sudsy lace is deposited in circumferential rings.

The nose is unimpressive. I can appreciate pale malt, earthy hops and a smattering of spice. As far as identifying the ingredients that I know to be present... fuggedaboutit. Cascade hops? Nope. Coriander? Uh-uh. No matter how much my rational mind knows it not to be true, I can't escape the impression that some organic beer has a mildly unpleasant off-aroma and off-flavor. There is no common ingredient that should make it so, but still...

BOBA is better on the palate. At least now it's identifiable as a tripel, or a 'Trippel-style' ale, as the brewery prefers to call it. It's hard to say how much sweetness is provided by pale malt due to the generous use of Belgian candi sugar. This is likely to be one of sweetest versions of the style that you'll ever run across. It borders on cloying and will make getting through the entire bomber a bit of a chore.

The ingredients that were barely detectable in the nose are more identifiable on the palate. There's a bitter citrusiness (two parts grapefruit to one part orange) that just has to be Cascade hops. The spiciness is clearly coriander in origin (an unusual ingredient in a tripel). Thankfully, the brewers haven't skimped on quantity. While the flavor is enjoyable on one level, it lacks the depth of the best Belgian tripels.

The finish is on the long side and is dominanted by sugar syrup-soaked hops and coriander. As it progresses, the sweetness evaporates and one is left with an austere dryness not unlike that which is experienced when drinking the 'sweeter' varieties of liquor. Ethanol is incompletely masked and is slightly more fusel-like than is optimal. Given the relatively high sugar load, the mouthfeel manages to avoid being thick and sticky, mostly because the abundant carbonation never exhausts itself.

Bison Organic Belgian Ale is a passable attempt at a Belgian Tripel. All of the requisite style elements are in place, but it lacks cohesiveness on the palate. Although I applaud the decision to tackle a style unfamiliar to many American brewers, I can't recommend the final product.

Oct 13, 2005
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blitheringidiot from Pennsylvania

3.85/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Simple labeled 22 oz'er with a Bison, declaring organic.

Pours with a brilliant orange glowing filtered brew topped with a pillowy settled ivory head cap leaving some quality head cap in the glass.

Lightly fruity aroma with a peppery and delicatley floral hint. Some bready dough and some Earthy grit.

First swigs: Instantly dry with a Pez candy powery sweetness. Belgiam yeast is prevelant. This might be the dryest Tripel I've ever had. Fruity flavors of tangerine and orange squeeze in there. Reminds me a tad of Westmalle.

Drynes can't be over emphasized. Medium bodied and soft carbonation. Just the right effervescence for the tripel. Powdery aspect reminds me of the all sugar Lick 'em Sticks from when we were kids.

Last swigs: If you like your Belgian trpels fruity, this is for you!

Jun 28, 2006
Organic Belgian Ale from Bison Brewing
Beer rating: 80 out of 100 with 62 ratings