The Deschutes Botanic Ale pours from a 12oz bottle, labeled with a packaging date of 3/26/19. The beer presents itself as crystal clear and golden, lacking haziness or sediment despite being bottle conditioned with live yeast. The head formation is notable, featuring a thick topping of buttermilk foam with a glossy sheen and fat bubbles.


The aroma of Botanic Ale is immediately impressive, delivering a substantial dose of zesty lime alongside a medley of herbs and spices that prove challenging to pinpoint. Juniper and lavender notes emerge, accompanied by hints of dried flowers and potpourri. Fortunately, the aroma avoids an overpowering chemical or perfumed quality, maintaining an intriguing allure.


In terms of flavor, Botanic Ale establishes itself on a sweeter, familiar blonde ale base, characterized by honey bread rolls and minimal hop bitterness. A bright citrus addition, possibly Persian lime, complements juniper and lavender, mirroring the aromatic profile. Despite expectations for a robust punch of herbs and spices, the beer maintains a milder disposition, allowing appreciation for the base beer and lime acidity with minimal distractions.


The mouthfeel of Botanic Ale is unexpectedly thicker than anticipated, owing to the sweeter blonde ale base. The overall sweetness is rated at 6/10, with a modest bitterness of 2/10. Surprisingly, acidity registers at 2/10, likely attributed to the generous citrus inclusion. While the beer strays from an overwhelming herbal intensity, a more pronounced juniper flavor could enhance the experience, though caution is urged to avoid potential soapy or chemical notes.


Botanic Ale proves to be a commendable entry into the realm of spiced/herbed ales, featuring a familiar blonde ale base with a moderate herbal character. The citrus addition, however, tends to dominate both the aroma and flavor, somewhat overshadowing the unique plant elements. Despite this, the beer succeeds in brightening up the overall profile, making it suitable for summer enjoyment. The 7% ABV, while seemingly higher for the intended mission, doesn’t detract significantly from the experience. Although enjoyable, there is room for Botanic Ale to evolve, as witnessed in its brewpub iterations. Deschutes may stand out as the only brewery offering such a botanic beer to a broader audience, making it worth exploring, especially for those seeking variety beyond the mainstream.