Deschutes Zarabanda Saison
Where in Town: ChurchKey, 1337 14th St. NW
Price: $9/10 oz.
D.C.’s renowned Spanish-born chef, José Andrés, already has more than a dozen restaurants and his own line of food products—and now a craft beer, thanks to longtime friend and founder of Deschutes Brewing Company, Gary Fish. The idea to collaborate on a brew originated two decades ago when Andrés first visited the Bend, Ore., brewery. The recipe centered around one of the chef’s favorite herbs, lemon verbena, and later came to include pink peppercorns and dried black limes. To tie these ingredients together, the creators experimented with scores of spices before finally selecting sumac. Now, after three years of developing and refining the recipe, Deschutes brewers and Andrés’ culinary team present an inventive saison with Spanish and Middle Eastern flair.
Zarabanda, named for a 16th-century Spanish dance deemed so indecent that it was outlawed, is a mix of familiar and unexpected flavors. Its clove and bubble gum notes and dry, spicy finish are typical of farmhouse ales. But the beer’s exotic ingredients give it a distinctive herbal, lemony characteristic. Brewed with Vienna and Spelt malts, Zarabanda has a bready, malt backbone and a sweet, doughy aftertaste. For all that, the 6.7 percent alcohol brew remains medium-bodied and effervescent. Find it at Jaleo and other Andrés’ eateries, as well as craft beer bars and shops throughout the metro area. An extra perk: Deschutes has sent its full line of brews to D.C. along with Zarabanda, including some highly acclaimed must-haves from its reserve series. One of my favorites: Mirror Mirror, a complex barleywine with portions aged in three different types of red wine barrels.
Photo by Tammy Tuck