Jester King Craft Brewery

Introducing Jester King Hibernal Dichotomous

9 hours ago

Jester King Hibernal Dichotomous Label Art

We are pleased to announce our latest beer — Jester King Hibernal Dichotomous. Over time our beer making has been increasingly driven by the seasons. We make farmhouse ales when the weather is hot and temperatures are conducive to fermentation, and we make spontaneously fermented beers and barrel fermented beers when temperatures are cold and conducive to overnight inoculation of wort and slow maturation in oak. We also use the ingredients that are available to us at various times during the year. In the spring we make beer with strawberries and blueberries, in the summer we use apricots and cherries, and in the fall we use grapes. Hibernal Dichotomous — our winter saison — is a beer that’s reflective of the ingredients that are available to us during the winter months.

Returning to the practice of bière de coupage or beer that is “cut”, Hibernal Dichotomous is a blend of young farmhouse ale (63%) brewed this past November, mature barrel aged beer brewed with lavender, rosemary and spearmint in November of 2012 (25%), and fresh pressed watermelon juice (12%). The watermelons we juiced for Hibernal Dichotomous came from this winter’s harvest.

Hibernal Dichotomous is 5.8% alcohol by volume, 12 IBU, 3.3 pH, 4 SRM, and has a finishing gravity of 1.000. Both the young and old beer in the blend were brewed with barley, wheat, hops and Hill Country well water and fermented with a blend of brewer’s yeast and microorganisms native to the ranch land where our brewery is located.

Hibernal Dichotomous will be released at Jester King this coming weekend when our tasting room opens at 4pm on Friday, April 25th. It will be available all weekend by the glass. Bottles to go (750ml, $14) will be available for sale all weekend as well. We have a sufficient quantity of Hibernal Dichotomous bottles that we do not plan to impose a bottle limit, at least not initially.

Jester King Hibernal Dichotomous

Pressing Watermelon Juice

The artwork for Hibernal Dichotomous is by our artist Josh Cockrell. Here’s Josh in his own words discussing the concept behind the artwork:

This beer is an inspiration to explore and recognize the way we formulate the thoughts and beliefs we possess of nature, season and place. The following are the concepts that have come from this reflection and became the artwork for the beer.

We humans are dichotomous. The mind is the place of division. It makes the simple distinctions between hand and leaf. It divides embrace of nature and control over it. It separates this land and that and this season and the next. Our minds build these divisions and create these dichotomies. We apply them to the universe we are a part of. We divide the space around us with concepts like “place”. We create concepts like time and divide by season. We choose this division for sake of clarity and for understanding, but one land does not exist unattached to the next. Be it ocean laid atop it or words applied to it, is it not still connected by earth? Ask the same of Seasons. Are they rigidly segmented and unconnected? No, they are part of a continuum. The elements from one carry over into the next. The characteristics of these might shift but is it not still made of the same stuff?

The same is true of the relationship of humankind and nature. One is but an extension of the other. They are not opposing forces nor are they truly separable. So why not embrace and acknowledge this carry over, the trespassing over these blurry lines? This beer is the embrace of such concepts. It is an embrace of nature, and the definitions we give it as very part of that nature. It seems most honest then to offer up something of season not as a rigid and isolated segment, but rather as an earnest concept that moves onward as part of a continuum.


Introducing Jester King Encendía

9 days ago

We are excited to announce the release of Jester King Encendía — a dry, well-attenuated, farmhouse ale brewed with agave nectar, epazote and ancho chiles and aged in Mezcal barrels from Oaxaca, Mexico. Encendía was made in collaboration with our dear friend Kristina Bozic, who owns West Lakeview Liquors in Chicago, Illinois.

West Lakeview Liquors

Encendía was brewed on January 28th, 2013. Agave nectar, epazote and ancho chiles were added to the boil kettle. The high gravity wort (1.084) was initially fermented in a stainless steel tank with farmhouse ale yeast for three weeks. It was then racked to oak barrels previously containing Mezcal and inoculated with native wild yeast, Brettanomyces yeast and souring bacteria. Following eleven months of maturation in the Mezcal barrels, Encendía was naturally conditioned by refermentation in bottles, kegs and casks. Encendía is 11.1% alcohol by volume, 12 IBU, 3.4 pH, and has a finishing gravity of 1.000.

Encendía will be released at Jester King Brewery during Memorial Day Weekend. Bottles (750ml, $16) will go on-sale at Noon on Friday, May 23rd and will remain on-sale while supplies last. The bottle limit is two per customer per day. Approximately 2,700 bottles will be available for sale at Jester King. Several cases of Encendía will also be sent to West Lakeview Liquors and will go on-sale at a later date.

Jester King Encendía

Mezcal barrel from Oaxaca, Mexico

750ml bottle of Jester King Encendía


Jester King Receives F.X. Matt Defense of the Small Brewing Industry Award

15 days ago

Today The Brewers Association awarded Jester King with the F.X. Matt Defense of the Small Brewing Industry Award for 2014. The award is in recognition of our efforts to overturn antiquated beer laws and create a level playing field for small brewers in Texas. Here is Ron Extract of Jester King’s acceptance speech, in which he addresses some of the important issues currently facing small brewers. We apologize for the poor video quality; however, the audio is good. The text of Ron’s speech can be found below.

Ron Extract Acceptance Speech Part 1

Ron Extract Acceptance Speech Part 2

Ron Extract Acceptance Speech Part 3

“Thank you very much to everyone at the Brewers Association. The award came as a complete surprise, and we’re extremely humbled and honored to accept it. We’d like to thank our attorneys who represented us in our lawsuit against the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission — Jim Houchins of The Law Office of James O. Houchins and Pete Kennedy of Graves, Dougherty, Hearon & Moody, P.C., as well as our co-plaintiffs Authentic Beverages Co. and Zax Restaurant and Bar. It was Jim Houchin’s idea to challenge some of the unjust, antiquated laws under which we were being forced to operate. He and Pete Kennedy not only helped to change these laws, they also paved the way for further legislative change that would follow, as a result of the continued efforts of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild and its leaders, to whom we owe a tremendous debt of gratitude.

As hard as many of us are working to modernize our legal and regulatory structures, there are also those, often with a good deal more resources at their disposal, who are working equally hard to hold us back. Last year, Texas breweries gained the right to sell beer directly to consumers and Texas brewpubs gained the right to distribute off site. But, thanks to the efforts of a powerful distributors lobby, we also lost the legal right to receive compensation for one of our most valuable business assets, our territorial distribution rights — an asset that distributors routinely and legally sell to one another for millions of dollars. Distributors often speak about investing in our brands, yet the distributors who were behind this effort seem to feel that the investments that brewers make in their own brands are literally worthless. What’s perhaps even more astounding, though, is that even as these distributors lobby against our interests, other craft brewers continue to sign on with them.

For those of you who have distributors that you like, and whom you feel genuinely support your interests — and there are definitely some very good ones out there — please encourage them to work together with us to bring about the change we need, and to speak out against those that would hold us back. If you have distributors who do not support our collective interests, or even actively lobby against them, call them out, and hold them accountable. Remind them that the money from selling your brand is helping to pay their bills. And when seeking new distribution, please consider where your prospective distributors stand, what sort of lobbying efforts the money from your brand would support, and what recourse you would have, should that relationship ever go awry.”


Two New Brewers at Jester King!

17 days ago

We’re excited to announce that two new brewers have joined us at Jester King — Averie Swanson and Ismael Salas. Averie and Ismael are joined by Head Brewer Garrett Crowell and Head of the Jester King Barrel Program/Brewer Adrienne Ballou to compose the four person brewing team at Jester King.

Averie began volunteering at Jester King in February of 2013, helping out on bottling days. After completing a six month apprenticeship where she learned about our beer making process and philosophy, she was hired as a Brewer. In addition to making beer, Averie heads our volunteer program, is in charge of beer education for our tasting room staff, and is presently revising our brewery manual. You’re also likely to see her giving one of our weekend brewery tours. She is a certified Cicerone and hails from Houston, Texas.

Averie Swanson

Ismael Salas has been with Jester King since 2011. He originally helped with cellar operations before being promoted to Warehouse Manager. During his time at Jester King, Ismael developed a love of making beer and began homebrewing in his spare time. In February of 2014, he was promoted to a Brewer. Ismael is from Austin, Texas.

Ismael Salas


Head Brewer Garrett Crowell on Curating Native Yeast

28 days ago

We receive a lot of questions about capturing native yeast for fermentation. Since the procedures we use to capture, maintain and ferment with native yeast are fairly simple and replicable, and also because we think it’s important for brewers everywhere to continue discovering new horizons beyond the world of pure culture fermentation, we wanted to share how we go about it. Of course, who better to explain it for us than our Head Brewer Garrett Crowell, who developed the diverse blend of wild yeast and bacteria we use to ferment all our beer. Here’s Garrett in his own words on curating native yeast:

“The biggest secret to embracing your local flora is patience! Yeast and bacteria harvested from flowers, fruit, etc., tend to move at a much slower pace than lab cultured yeast. As such, knowing the flavors they produce and how they perform can take quite a while. We’re still learning what our blend of yeast can do with every batch of beer we make!

For culturing truly “wild” yeast and bacteria, I’d start with 250-500mL of unhopped wort, around 1.030. Any vessel will do. Growlers are fine, and if you have access to Erlenmeyer flasks, they tend to be easier to use. If you only want yeast, adding some hops (20+ IBUs) will help hinder bacterial growth. Part of our house culture came from some flowers that are native to our ranch. Capturing yeast from these was as simple has plucking a handful and putting them in a one gallon jug of unpitched wort. This method will vary, as we’ve repeated it with other types of flowers and berries with no success. Experiment with different oxygenation rates. For instance, while using the same “inoculation” source (flowers, fruit, ambient air), try culturing part of it with oxygen and part of it without.

Yeast capture experiment

The method for curating our house blend of yeast and bacteria involved splitting a few five gallon batches of wort into one gallon jugs. Some of the jugs were fermented with only native yeast and bacteria, and some were fermented with native yeast and bacteria mixed with lab cultured strains of Saccharomyces (Dupont and Thiriez). After fermentation, we then blended the yeast and bacteria from the various jugs based on a sensory analysis. If the beer in the jug smelled and tasted good, we’d harvest the dregs and blend it with dregs from other jugs we liked. We ended up blending an even mix of dregs from fermentations with only native yeast and bacteria and fermentations with native yeast and bacteria mixed with lab cultured strains of Saccharomyces. The final blend became the house culture we use to ferment all our beer, and it continues to evolve to this day.

To maintain the individual cultures, we mostly keep them in one gallon or five gallon carboys. Having beer on top of the yeast tends to keep it safe and healthy. From batches that are particularly good or interesting, I will keep a few vials of slurry for future use.

Best of luck with your wild yeast capturing! Always let them ferment out dry before tasting them and please share your results with us ( For further reading, check out this blog entry from our friend Michael Tonsmeire, a.k.a. The Mad Fermentationist. Cheers!”

Jester King Head Brewer Garrett Crowell


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