Jester King Craft Brewery

A Final Note on Last Weekend's Atrial Rubicite Magnum Release

27 July 2017


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We appreciate everyone who reached out to us to share their experiences with last weekend’s release of Atrial Rubicite in magnum bottles. We appreciate the feedback, and it was uplifting to read so many nice things written about our beer, brewery, and staff.


We know in hindsight we setup a system destined to fail, where people who followed our requests ultimately got punished for it. First come, first serve was no way to handle such a limited release. We’re sorry for the resulting drama that ensued, and we feel bad it cast a negative shadow on some of our customers’ experiences at Jester King last weekend.


We had a chance this week to sit down as a staff and discuss how to go about similar releases in the future. Going forward, we’ll be moving to a lottery system for similar releases, and lottery winners will have multiple weekends to show up and purchase their beer. Also, people we see re-selling our beer online won’t be eligible for future lotteries.


Before next time, we’ll post details on how the lottery will work, etc. But until then, please know that we don’t want our customers to have to go to crazy lengths to get our beer, and we especially don’t want them to have to deal with drama and ugliness. Lines from time to time (especially ones under an hour) are something we’re willing to tolerate, and we appreciate our customers dealing with them. But having to resort to anything more than that is not something we want our customers to have to experience.


We believe Jester King is a special place, and we’re very protective about having our customers feel like they had a really wonderful, unique experience visiting us. While things undoubtedly won’t be perfect moving forward, we will treat this as a learning experience and make sure things go much more smoothly next time around.


Thanks and we appreciate all the kind words and support!


Cheers,


Jeff

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Atrial Rubicite Magnums

23 July 2017


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Phew! That was quite an experience.


This weekend was the first release of one of our barrel-aged, fruit refermented sour beers (Atrial Rubicite) in a large format bottles (1.5L magnums). As a collection of homebrewers turned pro, we’re very, very grateful for the interest, enthusiasm, and enjoyment of our beer. It really means a lot. Jester King was opened in 2010 with a fundamental sense of insecurity that practically no one would enjoy, or frankly purchase, our beer. The fact that the desire for our beer has translated into a viable business is something that’s far from lost on us. To that end, we really appreciate everyone who waited for long hours this weekend for Atrial Rubicite magnums. We understand the situation wasn’t perfect — far from it. We take full responsibility for that, and pledge a better, drama free setup going forward.


As a lot of our supporters will recall, we went through a learning curve on how to effectively manage the release of our 500ml barrel-aged, fruited sour beers. Who can forget the “Funk n’ Line Fest” of 2014? In our opinion, we’d say the release of these beers is now handled pretty well. We like mangum bottles, and we plan to continue to release them. However, managing the release is something we’ll improve upon.


We feel as though this release was a learning experience for us. In hindsight, we should have expected that only fifty bottles per day would create chaos and make emotions run high. Partially in our defense, we were lulled into a false sense of security by the (in our opinion) smoothness of the last several fruited sour releases. For those who feel they got a raw deal, please e-mail me directly (jstuffings@jesterkingbrewery.com), and we’ll try to make it right. We put out a request for people to please not show up before dawn, but we knew we had no way of actually enforcing that policy. So our apologies for the drama, confusion, and frustration/anger that ensued.


We’ll do better going forward. We’ll continue to be a drama free environment going forward (something we pride ourselves on). And we’ll continue to be eternally grateful for the interest in and support of our beer.


Cheers,


Jeff

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2017 Atrial Rubicite Release

18 July 2017


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This Friday, July 21st at 4pm, we’ll be releasing 2017 Atrial Rubicite — our barrel aged sour beer refermented with raspberries! Atrial Rubicite originally debuted four years ago, and is the first fruit refermented beer we ever made. This year’s release is our seventh-ever blend.


When it comes to making our fruit refermentations, there are a few limiting factors when it comes to batch size. One factor is the amount of space for barrel-aged beer we have in our barrel room. Another factor is the availability of the fruit. For Atrial Rubicite, getting all the raspberries we want has never been an issue up to this point. It’s one of the beers we make where the fruit comes from abroad (Washington), and the quality and quantity of the fruit has always been very high. Rather, the limitation for Atrial Rubicite in the past has been barrel room space. There’s only so much room for oak in our barrel room, and we have a desire to make lots of different barrel aged beers. Past years have seen very small releases of Atrial Rubicite due to competing projects/beers, as well as bumper crops of other varieties of fruit (peaches for instance). For example, a few summers back, we only had about 1,500 bottles available.


This year, we decided to devote more of our barrel stock to Atrial Rubicite. Like we said, it’s our first fruit beer, one we love very much and are very proud of, and one that our customers love as well! To this end, we blended and refermented enough barrel aged beer to package about 8,800 bottles of Atrial Rubicite! We also packaged 150 magnums (1.5L). We racked 29 oak barrels containing 1,450 gallons of beer onto 7,500 pounds of raspberries, for a fruit to beer ratio of 5.2 pounds per gallon! We also racked about 264 gallons into sherry barrels for a future blend of Sherry Barrel Atrial Rubicite.


2017 Atrial Rubicite was packaged on June 12th and 13th, 2017. At the time of packaging, it was 5.2% alcohol by volume, 8 IBU, 3.1 pH, and had a gravity of 1.005 (1.25 degrees Plato). It’s unfiltered, unpasteurized, and 100% naturally conditioned.


2017 Atrial Rubicite will be released at 4pm on Friday, July 21st at our tasting room. It will be available by the glass and in bottles to go (500ml/$20). The bottle limit is three per customer per day (8,800 bottles available). As for the 150 magnums (1.5L/$65), we’ll be releasing 50 on Friday (7/21), 50 on Saturday (7/22), and 50 on Sunday (7/23). The magnums are first come, first served. Purchasing a magnum does not sacrifice or limit your ability to still buy three bottles of Atrial Rubicite per day. In order to keep the line moving as quickly as possible this weekend, we will have a cash line for Atrial Rubicite. We encourage everyone to use cash if they can. Please note, there is not an ATM at Jester King. Aside from special events, Atrial Rubicite will not be available beyond our tasting room.


We hope you enjoy this year’s blend. We think it’s drinking really great, and we’re excited for you to try it!


Cheers,


Jeff

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Thoughts on Commercial Suicide and Acidity in Beer

14 July 2017


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This weekend we’re releasing our latest batch of Commercial Suicide — our farmhouse mild ale. Commercial Suicide is one of the oldest beers we make, inspired by classic English Mild. The name for the beer, which was created by Jester King co-founder Michael Steffing, comes from back in 2010 when we believed we’d created a beer for essentially no audience. We thought it was too dark for mainstream beer drinkers and too small for beer geeks. In reality, Commercial Suicide found an audience. While far from our most popular beer, it does just fine.


For our latest batch, our Head Brewer Averie Swanson decided to steer it more in the direction of its classic roots. Here’s what Averie has to say about it:


“For this batch of Commercial, we wanted to return to more of a traditional English-style Dark Mild flavor profile. We upped the IBUs in the recipe to coax our mixed-culture into a less acid-driven expression, and modified the grain bill a bit by adding a bit of roasted barley and more flaked grains than we have in the past to give the beer a bit more body. The result is a super-drinkable beer with low to medium bitterness, depth of malt character presenting as chocolate and soft roast, with a fairly clean and complementary yeast profile.”


We often times get referred to as a “sour brewery” here at Jester King, which is totally fine. What sometimes gets overlooked is that we make a number of beers that don’t have a significant acid component. Everything we ferment, whether mixed-culture or 100% spontaneous beer, contains souring bacteria. But not all of our beer is sour. We use variables like hopping rates, temperature, fermentation vessel, and fermentation time to steer the acidity in different directions. Ultimately, I believe we approach acidity similar to how a chef does when composing a dish. We use it to create balance, drinkability, and hopefully enjoyment.


Over the long term, almost all our beer starts to become a little tart or sour. The bacteria has a way of winning in the end. But for the initial weeks and months, many of our beers aren’t that sour. For instance, Le Petit Prince, Wytchmaker, Bière de Miel, Simple Means, Black Metal, and Live Oak / JK Kollaborationsbier all are examples of beers that present dry, bitter, hoppy, and yeast-driven for at least the first few months. Our latest batch of Commercial Suicide would make this list in our opinion.


This isn’t to suggest (to steal a phrase) we’re “sour on sour”. We love sour beer. We make lots of sour beer. But just as we were influenced by classic sour beer makers like Cantillon, Jolly Pumpkin, and Russian River, we were also influenced by bitter, dry, hoppy farmhouse ales from De la Senne, De Ranke, and Thiriez (to name a few). Just as we make beers with soft but fairly prominent acidity, we also make beers where the acid component is largely restrained. All we ultimately claim to do is make beer tied to a time, place, and people, which means the acidity can vary greatly from beer to beer within our lineup.


Finally, on a personal note, I’m really excited to see more classic, English-inspired beers taking root in the United States. For instance, we’ve had the pleasure of drinking incredible English-style beers at places like Hogshead Brewery in Denver and Machine House Brewery in Seattle, and we’re excited to soon drink classic English styles from Acopon Brewing in nearby Dripping Springs, Texas. These beers are incredibly enjoyable, drinkable, and social, and they deserve more homes on tap walls across the U.S.


Cheers,

Jeff

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2017 Omniscience & Proselytism

13 July 2017


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This Friday, July 14th at 4pm, we’ll be releasing our 2017 batch of Omniscience & Proselytism! Omniscience & Proselytism is our barrel aged sour beer refermented with Texas Hill Country strawberries.


We took barrel aged sour beer refermented with our mixed culture of brewers yeast and native yeast and bacteria, hand-processed about 1,800 pounds of Hill Country strawberries, refermented them in an oak foudre to dryness, then naturally conditioned the beer through refermentation in the serving vessel.


Our 2017 batch of Omniscience & Proselytism is 5.3% alcohol by volume, 12 IBU, 3.5 pH, and has a finishing gravity of 1.002 (0.5 degrees Plato). It was packaged on May 18th, 2017. We have about 3,600 bottles available (500ml/$20). The bottle limit is three per customer per day. It will also be available by the glass at our tasting room. Aside from special events, Omniscience & Proselytism will only be available at our tasting room. We hope you enjoy! Cheers.


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