Drinking Dissident Beer

By Betsy Andrews

Published on December 3, 2010

As is our wont, we SAVEUR editors were working in the office late last night, so Hunter and the kitchen staff left us a big, delicious, comforting pot of Columbian puchero, a hefty stew chock-full of beef, pork, chicken, and cassava. It was warm and filling and hitting the spot — I was wondering what sort of bottle we should open up to sip with it when Beth Kracklauer, our suds-loving deputy editor, blurted out, "Beer! Beer and stew!" Luckily for us, Oregon-based Deschutes Brewery had sent along a bottle of their just-released 2010 reserve brew, The Dissident.

My goodness, what a beer this is! If you're used to lawnmower lagers, when you first find out that this reddish-brown ale is brewed with whole cherries, wild yeast, and souring bacteria, and then long-aged in oak barrels, you might think, "Geez, they threw everything — including the kitchen sink — into this swill." And you might want to dissent from The Dissident.

And then you taste it, and it's just gorgeous: deliciously tart and refreshing like a good Flemish sour, funky as a barnyard with all that brettanomyces yeast, and fruity and full from those cherries, with a nice drying tannic note and some real gravitas from the high-falutin' French wood. Barrel-aged sours like this one are perfect food beers, meant for sipping and for considering how their complex flavors interact with and enhance a meal. Last night's delicious stew was all the better for this crazy quaff.

Continue to Next Story

Want more SAVEUR?

Get our favorite recipes, stories, and more delivered to your inbox.