Submission by Austin Phy. When Austin isn't writing about beer, he's writing about music-. Check his sonic ramblings over at The Deli Nashville,a daily updated website focused on the independent music scene of the Nashville area, or catch him here on twitter.
Yesterday we all got a bit of bad news. Prince, the very definition of “pop culture icon,” was found dead at age 57. Tributes started pouring out immediately. Folks were shaken. This was a Big Deal. Today we’ll learn the exact cause after the autopsy is performed, but that’s a sidenote compared to the main takeaway here: Prince is dead.
And then there’s the time we played a block of seven Prince songs at a Waffle House, and all the times that we used his music as a victory anthem at bar trivia nights, and the “Purple Rain” on-the-hour-every-hour policy that I had on a radio show I hosted in college, and the time I sang it at a karaoke bar on my 21st birthday, and that’s not even to mention the vinyls, a friend’s VHS tape of the 1984 film that I always coveted, and the many, many discussions of what it would be like to . In a year of celebrity losses that have absolutely gutted pop culture (someone get eyes on Bill Murray), Prince is the first one to affect me in such a personal way.
He had this outsized, near-parodic persona. No one joked about Prince and his pop icon status out of disrespect. We joked about it because what else can you do? Us common folk trying to comprehend what made Prince was comparable to sending an iPad back to the Middle Ages and letting peasants go at it. He was some kind of time-traveling, norm-destroying, sex-having, out-of-this-world purple god.
And that’s the thing with artists like Prince and Bowie. Their mortality doesn’t even become a factor until it’s blatantly too late. Bowie put out an album which was, in hindsight, very clearly his goodbye letter. And yet I don’t recall a single person being even a little worried ahead of time. I wasn’t. Sure, there were musings on the recurrence of the theme of death on Blackstar, but I don’t think anyone thought for even a second that there was anything concrete to worry about. The same goes for Prince. He gets hospitalized, comes out the next day, and then rides his bike off to an all-night party at his mansion. Par for the course. That was Prince.
I needed a beer. I imagine much of the world felt the same way. The Stone (collab with Victory and Dogfish) Saison du Buff bore no special significance other than its place in the front of my refrigerator, which was significant enough. I had considered putting together a list of beers to drink in honor of The Purple One’s passing, but that’s dangerously close to taking advantage of the situation and I don’t think anyone’s going out to get the perfect sixer to commemorate the occasion anyway. People are gathering in small town bars with a pitcher, cracking open a few among friends, grabbing a bottle of liquid tribute at home.
The Saison du Buff was a perfect beer for the occasion, though of course I wouldn’t hope for this sort of occasion to come up very often. So it’s fortunate that it’s an all-around enjoyable brew that I imagine would do well in a multitude of situations. It’s appropriately yeasty for a farmhouse ale and the spice flavors touted on the bottle are certainly strong, but they give the other aspects a chance to shine. A sliver of hop bitterness hangs on tight in the finish, giving some depth to what might otherwise be a shallow palette. I wouldn’t bring up mouthfeel unless it were an exceptional occasion, but the fuzzy carbonation on display here deserves a special mention. That carbonation also lends itself to an airy head that sticks around long enough to catch on your upper lip a couple times. The price is right and you get six bottles per pack, so you won’t feel too bad pouring one out for the sexiest son of a bitch ever to catwalk into our collective consciousness.
The Saison du Buff is a bold, complex brew that seems incapable of overstaying its welcome--much like Prince himself. It’s a limited release that won’t be sticking around forever, and if we’ve learned anything from all this it’s that we should celebrate the far-out freaks that pop into our lives while they’re still around.
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