July 2, 2012

Sonoran and Matney Redefine the FFF Word

There is no escaping history at Lons.
There are some things that you cannot escape. So called, "craft beer" would like us to think that they do not rely on marketing. Almost every beer drinker that I know claims not to be influenced by advertising, marketing or the beer label, but I maintain that this is simply willful ignorance. In fact, your entire being is filled with cultural reference and mass media ephemera. The best you can do is identify it and deal with it. If you have the patience to read on, you'll see what I mean.

Last week saw the release of Sonoran's FFF, "Family, Friends, and Flyfishing" I missed the Sonoran FFF release dinner last week, and worse, I didn't notify any of you. If you're not familiar with FFF, it it the second Chef Series beers, the first was a collaboration with Lon's Chef PachecoFFF was created as a collaboration between Sonoran and renowned Chef  Eddie Matney. Jess Harter of MXSW tells the story here. It's clear to me that these Chef series beers are aimed to address the fine dining market and re-cast Sonoran as a small-batch brewer focused on ingredients and niche styles. There is nothing wrong with this approach in my opinion. A brewery needs to differentiate and this is a good strategy. Thus far, the beers from Sonoran accomplish this differentiation.

Get ready for a completely derailing aside.

In my own experience (and perhaps people of my cohort group--early Gen X), there are 2 prior definitions of FFF, both from music. The first is the Public Image Limited song FFF from 1986 Compact Disc which stands for:
Farewell my fairweather friend.
Bad times, now they must end.
Bad times - they must end.
On you no one can depend

PILs Compact Disc was notable for it's generic product cover art and this song is... well rather sneering. It is John Lydon after all.
The second reference is from 1997's Megadeth album Cryptic Writings. The F's stand for:
Fight for freedom, fight authority
Fight for anything, it's my country
or, if you're into this kind of thing, 'F' is the 6th letter of the alphabet and we'll just leave it at that.

I bring this up for absolutely no reason other than to lay my preconceived notions on the table. Whether you believe in marketing of not, FFF did not spell, "Family, Friends, and Flyfishing" to me. It was laced with a whole lot of baggage for me. 

Back to he beer. 

Thankfully, it is not a post-punk sneer, nor is it a macho debbil worship anthem.
Grapefruit Beer = Grapefruit garnish

I had FFF last week during lunch at Lons.

It's starts with a medium malt and you are hit with a nice dose of basil. There is very little hop bittering. I'm guessing 15IBU. The bitterness is coming from the grapefruit. It's served with a sliced grapefruit and that can make it pithy bitter (it's OK with me but others may find it too much). It finishes dry with a fresh grapefruit flavor. I'm positive that any brown sugar is fermented out, so I don't think that adds anything other than more alcohol that's not saddled with malt heaviness.

If you are at all interested in beer and basil, I wrote something over at Food & Flourish. This beer seems to use a clean American Ale yeast, so there is no Belgian phenolic to amp up that basil.
Lon's Halibut
FFF, most likely would have paired better with a salad. I had the house fish and chips. Lons adds some seasoning to their batter and serves it with a parsley/caper aoili.

I can't attest to what will happen to grapefruit long term in a beer, especially in a lighter body beer. My recommendation is to drink it now while it is fresh.


  1. Maybe you should have had it with some flyfish-caught trout.