When I spotted a bottle of Victory Saison du Buff at the local Sherlock's liquor store, it seemed rather odd indeed. That's because it sat there looking rather lonely all by itself, a single 12-ounce bottle, last of its kind on the shelf. Feeling bad for it, I quickly placed it into my shopping cart so that it might have company with all the other beers I was buying (though I must say that the Avery The Czar was a bit rude to it).
Anyway, apparently Victory Saison du Buff is intended to spend its short life single, or at least be sold as one. But lest you think this beer is totally devoid of any familial relations, weep not too soon, for the beer is a triplet, and has siblings made by two other breweries. That's because Victory Saison du Buff is a collaborative effort, with different batches and bottlings (but using the same recipe) brewed by Victory, Stone, and Dogfish Head. When you bring three of the brewing world's powerhouses together, you just know you're in for a treat.
The plan was for Saison du Buff (and by the way, the BUFF stands for "Brewers United for Freedom of Flavor") to be brewed to the same recipe three times, once each at Victory, Stone, and Dogfish Head at scattered times throughout 2010. The rumors were rampant about this legendary collaborative effort, with Stone's version to hit stores in April, Victory's in July, and Dogfish Head's brew in August.I've only come across the Victory version myself. The beer is spiced with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, with apologies to Simon and Garfunkel.
This is obviously a saison style ale, with an alcohol content of 6.8% by volume. Saisons are beers meant to be aged a bit (or 'seasoned") and are often spiced. My bottle had several months on it when I drank it, and if you stumble on some don't be afraid to buy it. The spices and alcohol will act as a preservative.
Victory Saison du Buff pours to a golden straw color with a thick creamy head formation and a spicy herbal lemon nose. The palate is firm, a little biscuity from the malt with a cracker-like wheat quality for good measure. All this lies beneath an explosive layer of spice: citrusy lemongrass, pungent rosemary, herbal sage, black pepper, and hops that explode with grassy minty aroma and an intense bitterness in the finish.
Victory Saison du Buff may be light in color, but it's definitely not short on flavor. The spicy citrus and herb flavors make it intensely refreshing, and I can imagine it pairing wonderfully with fish or poultry.
It would be interesting to compare the three versions side by side. Still, whatever version you find, don't miss it, if you can find it.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.