José Andrés Jumps Into the Beer Game

The chef collaborates with Deschutes Brewery for a spiced beer.

Chef José Andrés toasts the launch of Zarabanda, his new collaborative beer with Deschutes Brewery. Photograph courtesy of Deschutes.

DC’s king of Spanish cuisine is embarking on yet another food adventure: beer.

Last week, José Andrés announced via Twitter his partnership with Oregon-based Deschutes Brewery to release a line of beer called “Zarabanda,” referring to a Spanish dance.

The term loosely means fun, enjoyment, and party. Brewed with spices, the light beer is meant to remind drinkers of Spain’s relaxed lifestyle. 

Zarabanda was born out of a collaboration between Andrés and Gary Fish, founder and CEO of Deschutes. The pair’s 15-year friendship bloomed after Andrés began cooking at the brewery’s charity events. They conceived the idea for a new beer at one such fundraiser back in 2010. 

“It was fun for all of us to work on this beer and bring two of our passions together: beer and food,” says Fish. “We crafted this spiced saison to accompany great cuisine.”

The duo wanted to feature flavors that Andrés loves and uses in his cooking, such as lemon verbena, pink peppercorns, sumac, and dried lime. The body features a mixture of Vienna and spelt malts, tastes minimally hoppy, and clocks in at 6.1 percent ABV (Alcohol By Volume); your average Bud is only five percent by comparison. 

Unfortunately, the 22-ounce bottles won’t be sitting alongside José Andrés Foods potato chips and olive oils at Whole Foods quite yet. 

Marie Melsheimer, spokesperson for Deschutes, says the beer won’t be available until the fall, and then only at locations within Deschutes’ distribution zone, which doesn’t include much of the East Coast. The brewery is exploring online availability, and perhaps Andrés might pour Zarabanda drafts in his restaurants. Stay tuned for details closer to the release.