21 days ago
This Friday, November 6th, when our tasting room opens at 4pm, we’ll be releasing our latest batch of Black Metal.
Part of the excitement for us in making beer is embracing natural inconsistencies. We ferment with a host of microorganisms — a mix of brewers yeast and native yeast and bacteria — outside of our immediate control. When we relinquish total control or mastery over the fermentation, the results become a lot less predictable. Again, this is part of the fun and excitement for us! Rather than seeking to achieve the same standard over and over, we like to create an environment for our beer where natural variation can occur, and then observe the beer as it changes over time. This is what we mean when we say that our beer is a “partnership with nature”. We exert stimuli on the fermentation, and nature responds in its own way.
One of the ways in which nature responds is through natural variations in temperature. Because we’re brewing inside of an old machine shop made of red iron and corrugated metal, the temperature inside our brewery is quite dependent on the time of year. In the winter time, fermentation temperatures drop quite low (50s and 60s Fahrenheit), and in the summer, they rise quite high (80s and 90s). Through experience, we’ve learned that during the colder months of the year, the lactic acid producing bacteria in our mixed culture tend to be more dominant. This is somewhat counterintuitive, because the common wisdom is that bacteria thrive at higher temperatures. While this is objectively true, we’ve found our yeast to be slow and stagnant when the weather is cold, thus allowing the bacteria to out-compete it, producing a substantial amount of acidity or sourness.
This was the case with our prior batch of Black Metal fermented last winter. The beer became progressively more sour as it slowly fermented in stainless steel from October of 2014 to March of 2015, while the temperatures were cool and cold. Our latest batch, released tomorrow, is at the opposite end of the spectrum. It was fermented from June to September of 2015, when the temperatures were quite hot. The yeast was more active, and the bacteria seem to have had less impact on the flavor profile. As a result, the latest batch is much less tart than the previous one. The latest batch also attenuated faster and farther than the one prior.
All of this goes to point out that our beer is unique, not just to a particular place, but also to a particular time. Every beer we make will be the sole product of its time and location, never to be precisely reproduced again. As we said, we approach brewing as a partnership with nature. We exert influences on nature, without rigidly mastering or controlling it, and nature responds in its own way with variable results. Again, we find these natural variations quite fun and exciting, and they motivate us to brew! We hope you find them interesting (and enjoyable) as well.
23 days ago
We’re very excited to announce Imperial Cabinet — our collaboration with Bruery Terreux! Imperial Cabinet is a barrel-fermented farmhouse ale inspired by a New Orleans classic cocktail invented in the 1880s called the Ramos Gin Fizz. As is often the case with our collaborative projects, it was fermented with a blend of microorganisms from Bruery Terreux and Jester King, so as to explore the the interesting and unpredictable directions that mixed culture fermentation can take a beer.
Designing the beer around the recipe for the classic cocktail was a lot of fun! The grist consisted of a high percentage of unmalted wheat and rolled oats to mimic the creaminess of the drink. Higher alcohol (8-9% abv) was another starting point, and gin botanicals (rosemary, lavender, juniper, and cubeb pepper) were added to the boil. Dried orange blossoms were also added to the boil, as the cocktail recipe calls for orange blossom water. A roughly year-long, mixed culture fermentation in oak barrels with yeast and bacteria from both Bruery Terreux and Jester King, helped promote tartness and acidity in the beer. In the cocktail, the tartness comes from lemon and lime juice. During the final few weeks in oak, we added orange peel, lemon zest, lime zest, and vanilla beans. The citrus peel and zest further plays upon the characteristics of gin. There’s some controversy about whether the original cocktail recipe called for vanilla, but we thought it was a tasty addition.
Imperial Cabinet was brewed at The Bruery in Placentia, California in November of 2014. It then spent ten months maturing in oak barrels prior to refermentation in the bottle. Imperial Cabinet is 8.3% alcohol by volume. The name “Imperial Cabinet” comes from Imperial Cabinet Saloon, where the Ramos Gin Fizz was created by Henry C. Ramos. The label art was created by Jester King’s in-house artist Josh Cockrell.
We here at Jester King are thrilled with the way Imperial Cabinet came out. We’d like very much for beer drinkers in Texas to be able to taste it too! Unfortunately, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission code makes it very difficult for small, out of state breweries to sell their beer in our home state. Texas charges brewers about $7K every twenty-four months to sell both “beer” and “ale”. The result of these massive licensing fees is that many small, artisanal brewers bypass Texas for other more friendly markets. Afterall, why would a small brewer pay $7K to sell its beer in Texas, when it can just sell it in another state? The way the system works, it tends to be the larger brewers seeking to expand their national footprint that end up coming to Texas. When we sent beer earlier this year to Oregon for the Craft Brewers Conference, it cost us $10. If an Oregon brewer wants to send its beer to Texas, it costs $7K. This isn’t right, is anti-small business, needs to change, and is why Imperial Cabinet will not be sold in Texas.
Regardless of our frustrations over the highly-regulatory beer laws in Texas that routinely hurt small brewers and are propped up by the large distributors in our state, it was a joy working with The Bruery. During Jester King’s startup phase, The Bruery was a great inspiration. We were encouraged by how they successfully started a brewery without having to make an IPA, a blonde ale, and an amber ale, but rather excelled at challenging palates and creating new flavors through their skill, creativity, and willingness to experiment. Thanks to Patrick Rue, founder of The Bruery, for hosting us at his impressive facility, and to brewer Andrew Bell for helping shape a collaboration beer we’re truly thrilled with! Cheers!
23 days ago
We have some great events scheduled for the first Saturday of North Texas Beer Week this year!
On Saturday, November 7th, we’ll start off with a beer brunch at The Meddlesome Moth in Dallas. Chef Rick Graff will prepare a special 4-course brunch menu to pair with some rare Jester King beers:
Welcome beer and passed Hors d’oeuvre: 2014 Le Petit Prince with braised pork belly, preserved lemon, crackling
1st Course: Atrial Rubicite Blend 5 with old fashioned stuffed french toast with pistachio almond granola & coffee maple syrup
2nd Course: Snörkel paired with gravlax, smoked sea salt, bagel crisp with maitake mushroom creme fraiche and pickled red onion
3rd Course: Aurelian Lure paired with roasted bacon wrapped guinea hen breast with ragu of lacinto kale, braised guinea hen leg and apricot
4th Course: Biere de Blanc du Bois Blend 2 with trio of duck prosciutto, rabbit rillettes and truffle brie with toasted brioche and huckleberry jam
The brunch starts at 10am. Tickets are $65 for the general public and $55 for Delirium Guild Members. Tickets can be purchased through this link.
At Noon on Saturday, November 7th at The Harvest House in Denton, Texas, Jester King co-owner Ron Extract will participate in a Brewers Rights Town Hall Q & A. Ron will be joined by Michael Peticolas of Peticolas Brewing Co., Chip McElroy of Live Oak Brewing Co., Rhett Keisler of Revolver Brewing Co., and Brad Farbstein of Real Ale Brewing Co. The event will be an open discussion of legislative issues facing Texas craft brewers. Topics will include the current Peticolas/Live Oak/Revolver lawsuit, the past Jester King lawsuit, the Deep Ellum lawsuit, and the approach to legislative improvement. The proceeds from the following kegs on draught will be donated to Open the Taps and the Texas Craft Brewers Guild.
Real Ale Scots Gone Wild
Peticolas Golden Opportunity
Jester King/Live Oak Kollaborationsbier
Live Oak Pilz
Revolver Blood and Honey
Jester King co-owner Ron Extract
Finally, Saturday, November 7th is Untapped Dallas. Representing Jester King at the event will be brewer Ismael Salas. We’re sending 2015 Estival Dichotomous, Mad Meg, and Synthesis Analogous.
Jester King brewer Ismael Salas
31 days ago
We’re pleased to announce the upcoming release of Bière de Blanc du Bois Blend 2 — our barrel-aged farmhouse ale refermented with Blanc du Bois grapes grown only about 30 miles west of Jester King. Texas has a unique climate for growing grapes. Less hearty varietals like Pinot Noir don’t do well here given our hot, dry climate. Rather, grapes that can deal with thin, rocky soil and high temperatures tend to do better. Blanc du Bois is one of the varietals hearty enough to cope with our native environment, and that’s why we love making beer with it. Our philosophy is to focus on what’s unique to the land around us, so as to make beer with a sense of place. Working with Blanc du Bois grapes grown down the road from our brewery is part and parcel of this philosophy.
Bière de Blanc du Bois Blend 2 will be released this Thursday, October 29th at our annual Funk n’ Sour Fest. Initially, it will only be available to Funk n’ Sour Fest ticket holders, who will be permitted to purchase four bottles per person. Funk n’ Sour Fest tickets can be purchased HERE.
The general release of Bière de Blanc du Bois Blend 2 will happen the following day on Friday, October 30th when our tasting room opens at 4pm with a limit of two bottles per customer per day (500ml, $16/bottle). About 3,500 bottles total were packaged. We do not anticipate it being available beyond Jester King, aside from a few special events.
Central Texas grown Blanc du Bois grapes at Jester King prior to re-fermentation
35 days ago
We’re pleased to announce that on Tuesday, October 27th at during Austin Beer Week, there will be a seven course beer dinner at Gardner! We’ve been tremendously impressed with Gardner since they opened last year, and have been inspired by the thoughtfulness and creativity with which they have approached our beer dinner with them.
Here’s the menu for the dinner, which can also be viewed here.
Funk Metal: Malted Barley Cracker, Black Garlic Puree
Dehydrated Scallop Cocktail with Jester King Vinegar: Beet Tataki, Apple, Ginger, Coriander, Benne Seed
El Cedro: Shrimp, Acorn Squash, Chicken Skin, Garlic, Autumn Herbs
Snörkel: Smoked Fish Dip, Fermented Mushroom Wheat Crackers (Family Style)
Bière de Miel: Brussels Sprouts, Pumpkin Seed Miso, Pickled Ramps, Goat Cheese
Wytchmaker: Braised Escarole, Charred Grapefruit, Rye- Duck Offal Stuffing
分桃 (Fēn táo): Pork Loin, Pinto Beans, Peach Vinegar Broth
2015 Estival Dichotomous: Beer poured over shaved ice with dried melons and basil
Foudreweizen: Chocolate, Roasted Banana Ice Cream, Dulce de Leche, Sesame
The dinner is $100 per person. The reception starts at 6:00pm and seating begins at 6:45pm. Reservations can be made through Gardner’s reservation page.