Teaming up to deliver something special
A Review of Saison du BUFF by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Posted on 7/15/2012 by Chops
If someone were to tell you that craft brew behemoths Dogfish Head, Stone and Victory got together to create a collaboration brew, what immediately comes to mind? Eighteen Hopped Egyptian Chocolate Amber? 360 Minute Imperial Irish Barleywine? Double Wheat Chili Bock brewed with Idaho Potatoes? Yeah, that's what I thought too. Imagine my surprise to learn that the style of choice was a saison. Yes, that delicate little flower of the Belgian world. Needless to say, my curiosity meter was maxed the hell out. I just had to try this whimsical creation they call the Saison du BUFF.

Per Dogfish Head: The idea for this beer germinated way back in 2003 when the three guys (Sam from Dogfish, Greg from Stone and Bill from Victory) formed the BUFF alliance (Brewers United for Freedom of Flavor) - a noble endeavor with the goal to highlight the passion and camaraderie of the American craft brew movement.

So what I'm hearing is that the BUFF alliance is the craft brew equivalent of the Avengers. Fan-freaking-tastic!

In the glass, this brew has a bright semi-hazy orange coloration. It comes with a frothy white head that dissipates rather quickly for the style. Saisons typically have big fluffy heads that seem to stick around forever, so I was immediately preparing for a wild and wacky interpretation. On the nose, I detected plenty of lemony citrus with a peppering of herbs and spices. I found no bready profile common with the style, so I honestly had no idea what to expect.

That first sip was an interesting experience. To properly study this beer, I had to quickly get into the mindset that it was saison-like. The mouthfeel came across more as a thicker lager, which is much bigger than your average saison. The hop profile is surprisingly assertive, almost like a pale ale. The hops compliment the herbal notes quite well and the beer is actually pretty well balanced. The lemony citrus also translates into the core flavor note. From there it's a hunt for the vast array of herbs and spices. In no particular order, I found parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme to name a handful. Despite the spices and hops, it's still an easy drinking brew. The finish is quite crisp and exits with a mild hop sting.

Overall, Saison du BUFF is a fantastic beer with lots of personality. It's pretty erratic for the style, but this isn't exactly surprising considering the breweries involved. To be perfectly honest, I would expect nothing less from a Dogfish Head, Stone and Victory collaboration. I would imagine these brewers set out to make something special, and that they certainly did. Grading this beer as a saison would actually do it a disservice. But what I can do is recommend it to all levels of beer fans. Seasoned drinkers will find Saison du BUFF to be an imaginative interpretation, while novices will find it to be bold yet approachable. My advice would be to go into this beer with no stylistic expectations whatsoever. Just know that the brilliant minds at Dogfish Head, Stone and Victory have teamed up to deliver you something very special.

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Saison du BUFF by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
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