We’re very pleased to announce that Garrett Crowell has been named Head Brewer at Jester King. Garrett began volunteering with us in March of 2012 and was hired as a brewer in October of 2012. We were immediately drawn to Garrett’s rare propensity for wild fermentation and his passion for using microorganisms to create unique flavors and aromas in beer. Garrett created the diverse blend of wild yeast and lactic acid bacteria that we now use to ferment all our beer. He has been overseeing fermentation at Jester King for the last eight months, and will continue in that role as Head Brewer.
In our opinion, wild fermentation represents by far the greatest area of unexplored territory in the brewing world. Garrett has already made meaningful contributions to charting this territory at Jester King, and we could not be more excited about where he’ll take our fermentations in the future. Garrett is a native of Kingwood, Texas and a 2007 graduate of Texas A&M University at Galveston.
Jester King Head Brewer Garrett Crowell
We’re also excited to announce that Adrienne Ballou of Jester King has been promoted to Head of the Barrel Program. Adrienne came to us in January of 2013 from the wine world. After graduating from the University of California at Davis in 2012 with a degree in Viticulture and Enology, she conducted a wine making fellowship with La Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin in Burgundy, France. She is a native of Austin, Texas.
Making beer that’s natural and alive means we often find more in common with small, artisanal winemakers than large brewers. Adrienne has helped bridge the gap between us and the wine world over the last year, and she has done wonderful things for our barrel fermentations, blending, and fruit refermentations. Her background has helped us learn how to properly referment fruit and work with oak barrels, and her guidance has enabled us to create a sense of place in our beer and a partnership with nature in our brewing. Her work will soon be on full display, as she played the central role in the creation of our newest release — Cerveza de Tempranillo.
Head of the Barrel Program Adrienne Ballou
3 days ago
4 days ago
It is with great sadness that we must announce that our Head Brewer, Jordan Keeper, is leaving Jester King to pursue his dream of opening his own brewery. As difficult as it is to lose him, we support Jordan in his dreams and look forward to seeing them take shape.
Jordan has been Head Brewer at Jester King since 2011. He joined us when we were a fledgling outfit fumbling around in the dark learning how to make wort and ferment beer. Jordan’s presence immediately helped provide stability and clarity when we were just learning to find our way as a brewery. Over the years, Jordan helped us assemble and lead a team of talented brewers and develop the recipes and techniques we use to make our beer today. He has been an integral part of our barrel aging, blending, and fruit refermentation programs and played a key role in developing our award winning Atrial Rubicite. Above all that, Jordan is a dear friend and a class act who will be dearly missed at our brewery. We wish him the absolute best in his future endeavors. Be on the lookout for exciting things from Jordan in the future!
Head Brewer Jordan Keeper
10 days ago
We’re excited to announce the release of three new barrel-aged wild ales refermented with fruit — Cerveza de Tempranillo, Bière de Merlot, & Montmorency vs Balaton. As the names imply, Cerveza de Tempranillo and Bière de Merlot are beers refermented with wine grapes. For Cerveza de Tempranillo, we refermented Tempranillo grapes from California with mature, barrel-aged wild beer, and for Bière de Merlot we used Merlot grapes grown in Texas. Both beers employed a wine making technique called a punch down. As the grapes referment, they rise to the top of the oak barrel to form a cap. Several times a day we punched down the cap with a stainless steel mashing tool to break it up. This procedure was important to achieve good flavor and color extraction from the grapes and to prevent the cap from drying up and becoming oxidized, which can lead to unwanted growth of acetobacter. Acetobacter, while harmless to consume, creates vinegary flavors and aromas that we dislike very much in beer. Punch downs and temperature control in our barrel room were important parts of our effort to keep acetobacter at bay.
The base beer for Cerveza de Tempranillo was made from blending oak barrels of pale, sour beer. It’s 9.4% alcohol by volume, with a finishing gravity of 1.000 and 3.7 pH. The base for Biére de Merlot consisted of a single oak barrel of pale, sour beer. It is 8.5% alcohol by volume, with a finishing gravity of 1.001 and 3.6 pH.
Grapes refermenting in an oak barrel. Photo courtesy of Wes Kitten / The Beer Haul
Montmorency vs Balaton was made from a blend of two different barrel-aged sour beers, refermented with a combincation Montmorency and Balaton sour cherries from Michigan. It’s 6.7% alcohol by volume, with a finishing gravity of 1.005 and 3.5 pH.
500ml bottles of Montmorency vs Balaton and Cerveza de Termpranillo will be released at Jester King Brewery over the course of three weekends: March 7-9th, Match 14-16th, and March 21-23rd. Customers wishing to purchase them can reserve one bottle each per person of either or both beers, beginning Monday, March 3rd, at noon, using an online form that will be linked to on our homepage. The link will remain live while supplies last. Reserved bottles can be picked up anytime during Jester King’s regular tasting room hours between Friday, March 7th, and Sunday, March 23rd. Any bottles that have not been reserved, or that have not been picked up by the close of business on Sunday, March 23rd will become available on a first come first serve basis, with a limit of one bottle of each beer per person per day, beginning Friday, March 28th. There are a total of 2,250 bottles of Montmorency vs Balaton (500ml) and 1,500 bottles of Cerveza de Tempranillo (500ml) available for purchase. Both beers will be priced at $16 per bottle.
Due to Biére de Merlot’s very small batch size (about 45 gallons), we packaged it exclusively in kegs, which will be available beginning Friday, March 7th at our tasting room and will remain on tap while supplies last. Please check our Tasting Room page for upcoming tasting room menus.
The remnants of Tempranillo grape refermentation after barrel-rining
Jester King Cerveza de Tempranillo & Montmorency vs Balaton
30 days ago
We’re very pleased to announce that Jester King will now be sold in Texas through Flood Distribution, a new distributor focused entirely on artisan beer, cider, and spirits. The owners of Flood have a genuine passion for artisan beer and have been working hard to put together a portfolio of products made with the same level of thought and consideration that goes into our own beer.
We’re excited to have our beer featured alongside some of the small, independent breweries that inspired us to begin making beer in the first place. We’ve made no effort to hide our philosophical kinship with a handful of brewers around the world who share common principles with us — namely beer making that involves time, patience, unique fermentation, and full attenuation. We could not be happier to be united with these breweries with whom we share this philosophical bond.
Flood began distributing its first beers from Shelton Brothers Importers earlier this week, and anticipates bringing in several more of the artisan importer’s highly sought after brands over the upcoming months. We look forward to featuring beer from these breweries at our tasting room. For the time being given our very limited production, we don’t have a lot of our own beer for Flood to distribute. This means the availability of our beer throughout Texas will be sporadic. Retailers who carry our beer, however, will soon have access to some of the breweries that helped inspire us and continue to guide our vision.
Flood is based in Austin, with a second warehouse in planning in the Houston area. Their coverage includes Austin, Houston, San Antonio, and surrounding areas. They will also be servicing customers in the Dallas/Fort Worth area on a limited basis.
You can follow Flood Distribution on Facebook and Twitter. For more information or for trade inquires, please email Kyle White at email@example.com or call 512-763-7631.
31 days ago
La Cruz de Comal
Starting this Friday, February 7th, we are pleased to announce that Jester King’s tasting room menu will include wines from La Cruz de Comal. Located about 45 minutes away from us in the beautiful Texas Hill Country, La Cruz de Comal is a very small, authentic maker of natural wines. They use only grapes consciously grown in the Texas Hill Country and ferment their wines solely with the native wild yeasts contained on the skins of the grapes. Their wine undergoes a long term, native wild native yeast fermentation which allows them to retain their remarkable, natural acidity. Their wine is then bottled by hand, without fining or filtration. Sulfites are never added at any stage, as they would kill off native wild yeasts and create a static product with no sense of place. They believe, as do we, that the native wild yeasts are in essence the “umbilical cord” between the vineyard and the wine in the bottle. Cut that off and you’ve separated Mother and Child. The result is wine with a true sense of place that’s reflective of the unique environment in which it originates. You can read a complete description of La Cruz de Comal’s philosophy here.
When we discovered La Cruz de Comal and connected with its proprietor, Lewis Dickson, we were very excited by the many close parallels between their approach and ours. In both cases, it’s about working in partnership with nature to create something that’s a unique, authentic expression of the place where it’s made. La Cruz de Comal is a natural fit in our tasting room and we couldn’t be more pleased to offer their wines.
The initial offerings on our menu will include 2008 Troubadour, a savory red wine, made from 47% Merlot, 41% Malbec & 12% Cabernet Sauvignon (future vintages will be made from 100% estate grown Black Spanish), 2010 Cohete Rojo, a dry red blend consisting of different grapes, depending upon the year (the 2010 is 75% Syrah from Mason County and 25% estate grown Black Spanish—a.k.a. Lenoir), and 2005 La Rosa, a lighter, tart red with almost a Pinot Noir-like feeling, made from a blend of estate grown grapes harvested for natural acidity (90% Norton with the balance being Black Spanish, Syrah, and Tannat). All of these will be available by the glass or bottle to drink on-site at Jester King, as well as by the bottle to go. Additional wines will be added as they become available.