Jan 9, 2015

Dechutes Zarabanda

Oregon’s Dechutes Brewery just recently started shipping to the fine state of Virginia a couple of months ago. My cellar is now housing several of their products for later consumption, but this particular bottle of Zarabanda was enjoyed shortly after their arrival in the Commonwealth back in mid-November.

Weighing in at 6.7% ABV this saison/farmhouse ale is brewed in collaboration with Chef José Andrés in an effort to “create a Spanish take” on the style. The addition of lemon verbena, pink peppercorn, sumac, and dried lime come courtesy the chef, but I’m not sure that the company has hit the mark here. Zarabanda has a good deal going one within it’s golden depths, but the flavors just don’t seem to come together as well as, I think, they hoped.


A fleeting cap of white foam disappears quickly from the surface of the clear, orangish amber color brew.

Dechutes Zarabanda photo


The beer is quite earthy and herbal in nature. It’s got a distant lemony scent, as well as a solid amount of peppery tingle on the nose. A slight tanginess and a touch of funk linger in the background with a hint of honey.


A lemony tang dominates throughout along with a strong herbal and floral character. There’s a good bit of that pink peppercorn tingle and slight tartness lingering in the lasting finish. A soft funk is also present. With the beer’s slightly viscous body and herbal traits, Zarabanda comes across fairly gruit-like in its flavors.


Zarabanda is an interesting beer. There’s a great deal of flavors swirling around one another that makes for a unique take on a farmhouse ale. I’m not completely sold on it though. Then again, the brew’s overly floral and herbal character is probably where my issue lies — that perfumey character just doesn’t do it for me.

Rating: 3.5/5

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