Saison du BUFF - Stone, Dogfish Head, and Victory Brewing Collab Beer
On September 20th, a landmark event in the modern craft beer and culinary arts will take place. Three masters of their craft will set aside their rivalries and take their talents to an undisclosed location (I’ll disclose in a few paragraphs) to create an awe inspiring liquid that is profoundly greater than the sum of its parts. Historians will someday hold this event in the company of the other great collaborative masterpieces that define human civilization: The Big Three’s move to Miami, The Band’s Last Waltz, or the unforgettable adventure of Walter, Donny, and The Dude avenging the unjust soiling of The Dude’s rug (it really tied the room together, did it not?).
Yes folks, it’s that time of year again – Saison du BUFF season - when three pillars of the craft beer revolution - Stone, Victory, and Dogfish Head - take a short ceasefire from the competitive craft beer battleground and join forces to brew a single batch of beer under one united flag – the Brewers United for Freedom of Flavor flag - better known as “BUFF.”
The BUFF alliance was formed in 2003 to “fight the perpetration of the infiltration of the industrialization and mass-conglomeratization [of beer] that had become the source of such frustration.” Since that time, Saison du BUFF has been brewed five times, rotating between each of the breweries. This year, it’s Stone’s turn again to host the event and rather than invite Bill Covaleski (VBC) and Sam Calagione (DFH) out to the Escondido brewery again, Greg Koch (SBC) will host the other BUFF brothers at the brand new Stone Berlin brewery in Germany’s capital city.
The timing, location, and participants of this event are nothing short of a “perfect storm” of beer. Three pioneers of American Craft Beer, each recently celebrating their 20th anniversary, traveling to the capital of a country that throughout most of history, has been synonymous with beer excellence and will be in the midst of Oktoberfest, to brew the 6th iteration of BUFF beer – a beer that was first concocted as a liquid oath to rebel against the mega-conglomerates that controlled our tap-lines and beer store shelves for too long. And now, 13 years after this solemn swearing, over 5000 new breweries have opened, craft has stolen away considerable market share from the macros, the Goliaths of the industry are scrambling to find a foothold in craft, and Stone has opened the first American owned brewery in Europe in history – it’s clear that BUFF’s vision was clear, it’s supporters loyal, and it’s promise to wholeheartedly challenge the beer status quo, kept.
So where does RF fit in?
Well...we don't. We just got lucky. A few months back, in a strange twist of fate, I found myself bumping elbows with two-thirds of the BUFF brothers at Firefly Music Festival. Naturally, we talked and drank, yup – you guessed it: beer. When I brought up Saison Du BUFF and how much admiration I had for the idea and the unusual collaboration of competitors, I received a response far different from what I expected. Instead of an origin story of how the beer came to be, they invited me to come with them in September to help brew/watch the next batch get made…at Stone…in Berlin….in Germany.
“Yeah well, we’re brewing it again in September. In Berlin. You should come.” – Bill
“Yeah! And Bring your Jerky!” – Sam
“Yes. I will. I will go to Berlin with Sam and Bill to brew a beer at Stone. And I will bring my jerky.” – My brain, on the verge of exploding.
However, on Monday, after the dust had settled from the four-day music festival, I filed this invite away in the “Crazy shit I heard/saw while at Firefly Festival” folder – a folder that was already overflowing with documents by day two. But sure enough, about two weeks later, Bill emailed me some event details and dates and boom – I booked the flight, as did my two brothers / partners in Righteous Felon.
Now that we had our tickets, we had to figure out exactly how we were going to contribute to this monumental event. As a couple’a’dudes who know far more about destroying beer rather than creating it, we realized our “help” wouldn’t be of much value to the BUFF team. So instead, we’re shifting our aim at helping the stateside craft brewing fan at large – all the beer fans out there that would love to be there to experience this event first hand, but didn’t have the good fortune of being in the right place at the right time (the Dogfish Head tent, by the Fitz and the Tantrums Stage) at Firefly 3 months prior.
So what we’ve come up with is a way to provide an “insider’s look” into Stone Berlin, Saison du BUFF, the brewers who brew it, and the blossoming craft beer scene within Berlin. To do this, we’ll be using the powerful new “Stories” feature of Instagram and will be live video streaming all the highlights of the trip. We invite all who are interested to give @RighteousFelon a follow on Instagram. The beer and video will start flowing September 19th.