Dogfish went to Scarborough Fair? - (8.5)

"This beer is a great example of why I decided to do this blog. It's one of those brewing experiments that actually worked."

name: Saison du Buff
brewery: Dogfish Head, w/ Victory & Stone.
% alc: 6.8
type: Saison w/ Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, & Thyme
vendor: Whole Foods, Seattle
price: $2.99 (12oz)

first impressions:
No, I'm not going to Scarborough fair, because this beer includes Simon and Garfunkel's legendary shopping list. The herbs are even listed in the exact order we've all had burned into our brains, yet there is neither mention of the two songwriters nor the song. It easily could've been named Scarborough Fair, right? I found this surprising but perhaps it's a good choice. Perhaps it was a legal issue. Or a style thing. Or perhaps these brewers had got together to discuss a "collabeeration," which is actually becoming pretty common these days, and while they sat thinking, discussing, perhaps bickering, that song may have been playing in the background when they came upon an idea... 

Any which way it happened, it doesn't matter. It's amazing the subtlety and balance of this beverage. It's exciting and delicious, especially if you're into the Saison style. It has a sharp yet earthy peach-like acidity and seeing as I was presently grilling grass fed beef burgers, it occurred to me, it was a bit like a grilled peach seasoned with fresh spring herbs. So I promptly re-capped the second half of the bottle and chilled it a bit longer to go with my meal.
Again it was refreshing and bright with a touch of herbs that melded it right into my food. This beer is a great example of why I decided to do this blog. It's one of those brewing experiments that actually worked and wasn't just gimmick or spectacle that's interesting but let's face it, just leaves you wishing for your damned straight up IPA. I do this a lot, I buy anything new that is well designed or made by a brewer I know and like, I pay extra money, and most of the time I won't be buying another bottle of it. The experiment has to transcend to a functional balance of spectacle and quenchability, after all we are talking about a beverage aren't we? This one isn't cheap but if it were in a bar $3 isn't bad at all for 12oz. and it's a pretty special little brew.
Lastly, how could this be bad with Victory and Stone chipping in. These are some of my favorite brewers. Nicely done guys. Nicely done.

review (/10): 8.5
recommended setting: Put on Scarborough Fair/Canticle? If you want to. But how about just putting on your favorite S & G song on vinyl (for me it's something jauntier, probably Hazy Shade of Winter, or Only Living Boy in New York), and going outside to grill something tasty in the summer sun. That grilled peach thing sounded kind of good. Hopefully you are still within earshot of the music just as the brewers may have been when they thought this one up, and who knows what you might think of... Something about being a rock? An Island? Maybe Bridges and Troubled Water or Cecilia breaking your confidence daily? See what happens. 
extraneous ramble (optional): 


Steel Can Pilsner w/ Opener (8.0)

"It's a tasty little beverage but I would describe it as tasting like nothing, in the best way possible."

name: Pilsner Style Beer
% alc: 4.9
type: Pilsner Style
vendor: Whole Foods, Seattle
price: $8.99 (6 Pk)

first impressions:
It's times like these I realize how much of a slave I am to design. This was a beautiful package and a lot of fun to blog about. The kind of blog post that leaves me with dozens of extra photos leftover that I sadly couldn't cram onto the page. And this sixer brings me back to the days of choosing your cereal for the toy concealed inside, this has a free churchkey which most of us have used at one time or another to open a bottle of beer and completely obliterate the bottle cap in the process. Well that's cause it wasn't meant for that, it was meant for these steel cans and it works beautifully in the role it was designed for.


So I open the thing up after a 30 minute photo shoot, which is a lot of time to be shooting beer cans and boxes. I puncture it once fully for the mouth hole and another time for the smaller air hole. It's a tasty little beverage but I would describe it as tasting like nothing, in the best way possible. The beer is tough to describe other than a well balanced pilsner and doesn't leave anything lingering. It's not overly hopped, it's not bitter or wheaty, it's just light and refreshing, especially on an 80 degree day in May here in Seattle. I squeeze through the window and out onto my fire escape where I enjoy the can in the sun.

I'm going to admit at this point that the beer I reviewed could've been colder. If the packaging hadn't been so damned appealing to photograph, the beer wouldn't have been posing out in the sun for 30 minutes. But thanks to it's hefty can it does stay cool longer than an ultra thin aluminum one. They say the harder it is to achieve your goal the greater the satisfaction, the box does for this beer, and while that presumably applies opening the can, it may also apply fittingly to finding this beer at a store near you. Good luck!

review (/10): 8.0
recommended setting: I'm going to apply their slogan one more time and say that this beer should be enjoyed, despite the weight of the can, or maybe that adds the difficulty of your achievement, at the summit of a late Spring alpine hike. Given all the contraptions backpackers use to make their meals the churchkey will fit right in there. And as you stand tired, flushed and sweating in the May sun, puncture the can, take that first sip and look around you at the surrounding snow capped mountains, it's going to be a beautiful summer!
extraneous ramble (optional): This one's taste ranks at about a 6.0 but again slave to design I gotta give the whole experience the 8.0.


E.S.B. The B is for Barney (7.0)

name: Extra Special Barney
% alc: 6.5
type: Extra Special Bitter
vendor: QFC, Seattle
price: $4.99 (22oz Bottle)

first impressions:
Well, I'm back after quite a break. I've been laying off the beer blog while things were hectic, and I needed to take some time to think about balancing my free time. I pretty much thought I would just stop, but a few recent purchases got me back on the wagon, or off it, or whatever's the positive one. These beers were just unique, photogenic bottles and tasty sounding brews that jumped off the shelf at me. So here we are with the Full Sail, Initial Pub Offering: Extra Special Barney...

It's bitter, nicely bittered, no surprise there, and it's an ESB worthy of a gulp from anyone who like them. For me, ESB was my first favorite beer, after my first few favorite beers to have people buy me in high school. Meaning, once I could actually shop for myself that Redhook ESB in 2005 was mighty tasty. I think it has since changed but that's another story for another post. Back to the Barney, it's malty goodness comes from apparently using 5 different malts. I like it but it's somehow distinctly Full Sail in flavor. I tried to come up with some words to describe this but I guess it just takes one to know one. If you've bought the occasional F-sail sixer likely because of it's great price point I'm pretty confident you'll know what I mean. 

You might notice I have a new setting for the beer, I moved since the last entry and now have a nice wood floor for my rustic backdropping needs. As I was cooking dinner, waiting for water to boil I quickly decided to fill my pint and fire off some blog photos. I laid the floor lamp on it's side, poured the beer and snapped some shots. If you're thinking I burned the dinner, surprisingly I didn't, and it turned out great. So here's to a more manageable blog! I'll drink to that (as I finish the last of my ES-Barney).

review (/10): 7.0
recommended setting: The label describes that Barney was sitting on the deck at the brewery overlooking Hood River, and it was one of those perfect beer moments, he hoped his ESB could transport that moment, and that setting, to the drinker. I'd say bring the beer there and feel what Barney felt. 
extraneous ramble (optional):