I picked up a bottle of Saison du buff for three reasons. First, the beer looked interesting in that it’s brewed with herbs: parsley, sage, rosemary and lemon thyme to be exact. Next, it’s a collaboration beer between Stone, Victory and Dogfish Head. And finally, I got a chuckle when I read my first article about it and Dogfish Head owner Sam Calagione called this 6.8% ABV beer, “sessionable”. Well since last night’s session consisted of only one beer, I guess he’s right this time. And no, we’re not starting this debate again guys.
The BUFF in Saison du buff stands for “Brewers United for Freedom of Flavor”, a friendly collaboration between Sam, Greg Koch from Stone brewing and Bill Covaleski from Victory Brewing. In 2010 the three members of BUFF decided not only to brew a beer at all three breweries, but the same beer, right down to the recipe and ingredients. Stone went first, and Saison du buff was born. The beer was supposed to have been a one off, but the three breweries have decided to give a repeat performance in 2012 due to popular demand, this time with Dogfish Head going first. Victory will follow in April, and Stone will release theirs some time in late May. In my mind having a taste test of all three to judge how similar the three beers truly are would be interesting, but only if the beer is worth drinking to start with. Let’s see.
THEM: Saison du buff is a saison style beer brewed with the aforementioned herbs. Yep, that’s it. Three breweries brewing the same beer and that’s all they have to say about it. Well, Victory did say they used imported pale malt and American whole flower hops. Probably used water and yeast too. Just thinking out loud here….
ME: Saison du buff pours into the glass a golden straw color with a light head that dissipates into a fine lace. The smell is definitely herby, but not “Yankee Candle” herby. It’s a nice mixture of rosemary, sage and citrus. The taste starts of with a light sweetness in the front that carries the herb flavors (I get more sage) that finishes in the back with a light spicy bitterness. The beer also has a slight acid bite to it, probably due to the carbonation, which left my mouth watering after every sip. Despite its lightness this beer manages to hide the near 7% ABV pretty well.
I really liked this beer. Not only does it drink well on its own, but also the herbaceous flavor gives the beer the ability to pair with all sorts of food. In fact, I wish I’d opened this for dinner because I think it would have gone very well with the sage and garlic chicken I made. Two Stones Pub is having a Delaware Beer Week starting April 1st where all 25 taps for the whole week will be nothing but Delaware beers and I happen to know that Saison de buff will be one of them. I look forward to trying it on draft. And I will definitely be trying to get my hands on a bottle from all three brewers when they come out. If I do, I’ll let you all know just how close they are to each other.
Time for another beer.
COMING UP NEXT: I’VE BEEN TAGGED AND I DON’T MEAN A GRAPHITI ARTIST SIGNED ME.
3 thoughts on “Brew Review – Dogfish Head’s Saison du Buff”
I managed to secure all three versions two summers ago. If I had to rank them, I would go with Stone first, Dogfish second, and Victory third. Thanks for this nugget of knowledge! Hope to try them again over the next few months.
I’m looking forward to it too. Would you say the differences in the three from 2010 were subtle? Or could you really distinguish between the three quite easily?
I would say it was an herb intensity thing. My rankings at the time were due to a diminished intensity as I went from the Stone to the Dogfish to the Victory. All were good, but the Stone set itself apart. Overall, I found it to be a mellow Saison when compared to something like Brasserie Dupont (still the gold standard in my opinion).