For many celebrated chefs, craft beer is an afterthought. Thankfully, Chef José Andrés appreciates that beer is another culinary outlet. The D.C. based chef, who oversees a culinary empire that’s extended to Los Angeles and Haiti, recently collaborated with Deschutes Brewery on a food-friendly saison called Zarabanda brewed with lemon verbena, pink peppercorns, sumac and dried lime. On November 18, Chef Andrés joined Deschutes Brewery President Gary Fish at The Bazaar in Beverly Hills to unveil the beer and share insights into the collaborative process.
Why did Andrés team with Deschutes, out of all the possible craft breweries? It turns out the revered chef has history with the Oregon-based company. 20 years ago, he spent a week in Bend and formed a bond with Fish and Deschutes. “I had a blast,” said Andrés. “I fell in love with the beer, and with Gary, and over the years we began talking, ‘When are we going to do a beer together?’ 20 years later, we made one.” The name Zarabanda refers to the Spanish Sarband dance, which is synonymous with raucous fun, kind of like the chef.
To start the process, Deschutes recommended a saison with Saaz hops and malts like Vienna and Spelt. According to Andrés, “We began fairly neutral. They sent me a style of beer they thought was a good white canvas. Then we began adding different flavor profiles and looking for acidity or aroma. Things like sumac, pink peppercorn and lemon verbena. Things that I particularly enjoy.” Pink peppercorns harken back to his days of picking the tiny spice bombs from a backyard tree for chef Jean-Louis Palladin. Still, the flavors didn’t all relate to his preferences or history. “It’s mine and my team,” said Andrés. “At the end, you almost forget who recommended what, and more often than not, that’s a good sign of collaboration.”