Brews in Brief: Saison du BUFF

  Posted on August 6th, 2010

Saison Ale w/ Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme
6.8% ABV | ?? IBU

Saison du BUFF is a collaboration between the brewers at Dogfish Head, Stone, and Victory. The three heads - Sam Calagione, Greg Koch, and Bill Covaleski respectively - formed Brewers United for Freedom of Flavor (aka BUFF) in 2003, and promptly did nothing for 7 years. Luckily, they came together again in 2010 to release this very limited collaborative brew. Let’s see how they fared…

Decanted into a small red wine glass, du BUFF pours pale copper with big eggshell pillowy head. Foam lasts and plenty of effervescence quickly rebuilds from the bottom what its losing on top. Aromas are hugely herbal. Sharp sage dominates, with some slight lemony citrus and a peppery, grassy hop somewhere in the background.
Flavor up front mimicks the aroma… spicy and herbal. sage & rosemary are present, as well as some lemon zest, basil, and even a bit of mint. Brief evergreen sweetness sneaks in on the middle of the tongue before being quelled by a peppery spice and some grassy hop character. Finish is a dry mix of the named herbs and some soapy hoppy astringence.
Alcohol is almost completely absent.
Saison du BUFF is big on the palate, but not heavy in the least. The huge spice profile, pale malt, and enormous effervescence lends a crisp refreshing mouthfeel that peels even the stickiest flavors off the tongue (Enjoying this with some leftover veal, spinach, & mozzarella… the beer is doing a wonderful job of cleansing).

Definitely a unique beer, and a successful one at that. It’s good, and not just crazy for its own sake (something Dogfish Head has a bit of a reputation for, and isn’t always the best). Bold, yet refreshing. This is one of those beers that I wish would see a more permanent rotation. Enjoy it while you can.