We’re pleased and excited to announce that Jester King has agreed to form a partnership to help Fair Isle Brewing in Seattle, Washington! Fair Isle is a brewery in planning headed by longtime friend Andrew Pogue and his business partner Geoffrey Barker. Andrew and Geoffrey plan on opening a Seattle brewery focused on mixed culture fermentation and local agriculture in early 2018. While Fair Isle is squarely Andrew and Geoffrey’s creation and vision, Jester King will help along the way with its guidance, advice, and creative input. Jester King will own a small stake in Fair Isle Brewing.
Andrew Pogue is an old friend of Jester King founders Jeffrey Stuffings and Michael Steffing. Andrew used to live in Austin, Texas and helped out Jeff and Michael during Jester King’s early days. Andrew helped build our tasting room bar, helped us brew and bottle, gave us ideas on new beers, and did video and photography work for Jester King, including this video from Frazer Pogue that we’re particularly fond of. Now seven years later, we’re happy and excited to return the favor by helping Andrew and his partner Geoffrey get their vision off the ground and see it succeed. We know Andrew and Geoffrey to be very smart, hard working, thoughtful individuals, and we expect great things from them in the months and years ahead.
To get things started with Fair Isle, we brewed a batch of beer together at Jester King in November. We brewed a mixed culture farmhouse ale fermented in stainless steel with Washington Fireweed. We expect this beer to be released sometime this winter or spring at Jester King, and plan on sending some to Washington!
We’re very excited to introduce three new beers from our SPON series: SPON — Peach & Apricot, SPON — Raspberry & Cherry, and SPON — Flor!
SPON — Peach & Apricot and SPON — Raspberry & Cherry are barrel aged blends of 100% spontaneously fermented beer refermented with fruit. For SPON — Peach & Apricot, we blended 75% two year old spontaneous beer from 2014 with 25% one year old spontaneous beer from 2015, and refermented it with Texas peaches and California apricots. We chose to blend in some one year old beer from 2015 to lessen the acidity, since we get plenty of citric acid from the stone fruit. At the time of bottling, SPON — Peach & Apricot was 5.2 percent alcohol by volume, 19 IBU, 3.3 pH, and had a gravity of 1.004. It was bottled on July 12, 2016. For SPON — Raspberry & Cherry, we blended 100% two year old spontaneous beer from 2014 and refermented it with Washington raspberries and Michigan cherries. At the time of bottling, SPON — Raspberry & Cherry was 5.2 percent alcohol by volume, 18 IBU, 3.3 pH, and had a gravity of 1.005. It was bottled on June 21, 2016.
SPON — Flor is a curious one-off beer from our SPON program. Some of our spontaneous beer from 2014 was fermenting in neutral oak barrels in close proximity to some Oloroso sherry casks. To our surprise, the spontaneous beer started to develop some very distinct fruity, tropical flavors and aromas. We’re not sure, but we suspect this character came from the sherry flor migrating through the wood of the sherry casks into our spontaneous beer. We decided to separately blend and bottle this unique beer as “SPON – Flor”. It’s uncertain whether anything like this will ever happen again with our spontaneous program, so we consider SPON — Flor to be a curious one-off. At the time of bottling, SPON — Flor was 5.1 percent alcohol by volume, 17 IBU, 3.1 pH, and had a gravity of 1.005. It was bottled on February 15, 2016.
All three of these beers were inspired by authentic Belgian Lambic and Gueuze. We took raw Texas Hill Country well water and did a turbid mash with malted barely and raw wheat. We then boiled for four hours and added only aged hops from our barn. We allowed the wort to cool overnight in our coolship and become inoculated with airborne yeast and bacteria. We then moved the wort into oak barrels and allowed it to ferment 100% spontaneously. No yeast or bacteria was added. The beer then slowly fermented in oak barrels for one to two years before being blended, and in the case of SPON — Peach & Apricot and SPON — Raspberry & Cherry, refermented with fruit. All three beers were 100% refermented in bottles (horizontally) and kegs without the addition of any other yeast or bacteria.
It’s important to note that while all three beers were heavily inspired by the Belgian tradition of Lambic and Gueuze, they are not authentic versions of those beers. Far from it. These beers are not Lambic or Gueuze and should not be considered as such. Nor do we consider these beers to be “Méthode Gueuze” either. While they were brewed and fermented using the traditional method, they are not blends across at least two years with an average age of 20 to 24 months, and two of the three beers were refermented with fruit.
SPON — Peach & Apricot, SPON — Flor, and SPON — Raspberry & Cherry will be released at Jester King when our tasting room opens at 4pm on Friday, December 16th. All three beers will be available by the glass while supplies last. All three will also be available at bottles to go. We have about 3,000 bottles of each beer in 375ml format. No 750ml bottles are available. SPON – Flor is $20/375ml and SPON Peach & Apricot and Raspberry & Cherry are $25/375ml. The bottle limit for each beer is two per customer per day, meaning that a customer may buy a maximum of six bottles per day (two Flor, two Peach & Apricot, and two Raspberry & Cherry). Outside of special events, SPON — Peach & Apricot, SPON — Flor, and SPON — Raspberry & Cherry will only be available at Jester King. After the initial release, we plan to continue to have a very limited amount of all three beers available at our tasting room each week to purchase by the bottle and drink onsite (details to follow).
We really hope you enjoy these three beers! We consider them to be very special. A lot of time, patience, and love went into making them. Our goal with our SPON program is to use the very special, time honored method of making authentic Lambic and Gueuze, but to do so with our own ingredients, microflora, and palates, so as to make something entirely unique to our own time, place, and people.
We’re pleased to introduce Elements of Composition, a blend of beer and friendship spanning the course of years. In February 2016, brewers from De Garde Brewing, Jester King Brewery, and Sante Adairius Rustic Ales in met in Tillamook, Oregon to blend beer from each of their respective breweries. Three year old, 100% spontaneously fermented beer from De Garde was blended with two year old, 100% spontaneously fermented beer from Jester King, and mature, foudre aged saison from Sante Adairius. The result is a beer distinct from, but not greater than, the sum of its parts.
Elements of Composition marks the first collaborative blending project for De Garde, Jester King, and Sante Adairius. Our focus was on how the aromas and flavors of our respective beers would meld together and change over time. A lot of time did indeed go into the making of this beer! We’re fond of saying that we do the aging of our beer for you, and this is a great example. The oldest component of the blend came from De Garde and was brewed in 2013. The Jester King component of the blend was brewed in 2014, and the Sante Adairius component was brewed in 2015. The blend then aged and matured for another ten months in bottles prior to release.
It’s important to note that we blended with an eye towards where the beer would go with time, because it’s alive! The beers from De Garde and Jester King were 100% spontaneously fermented with airborne yeast and bacteria collected overnight in their coolships, and the beer from Sante Adairius contains the wonderful menagerie of microbes found within the walls of their oak foudres. We knew this unfiltered, unpasteurized blend would change with time, so we used our palates and experience to try to anticipate how the beer would develop over the months and years ahead.
The artwork for Elements of Composition was created by Josh Cockrell of Jester King. Here’s Josh’s description of the art:
“I wanted to use De Garde’s art deco visual aesthetic as a base since it was the physical base for our blending and collaboration. So, the shape, text and line form is all inspired by De Garde’s labels. For the central image, I pulled from a textile pattern style that was popular during the same era as art deco. The Disty Floral pattern, as it is called, is a very small scale pattern with a random appearance. Though they are really quite simple, the visual effect they create is beautifully dense. I thought it could be a lovely way to express the complex composition of our blend while retaining simple elements that pay homage to the individual components. I started by creating three pattern “fields” to represent each brewery. The California Poppy for Sainte Adairius, Oregon Grape Flowers for De Garde, and the Texas Bluebonnet for Jester King. Each circular field represents terroir and culture, and as they begin to overlap each other they create an even more vibrant and exciting pattern that, while random, still expresses an intentional balance.”
Elements of Composition will be released at De Garde Brewing in Tillamook, Oregon on Friday, December 16th from 3pm to 7pm! It will only be available in bottles to go (750ml/$28). Approximately, 500 bottles are available with a limit of one per customer. Adair Paterno of Sante Adairius, and Jeff Stuffings and Josh Cockrell of Jester King, will join Linsey and Trevor Rogers at De Garde for the release. Adair and Jeff sent some special beers from Sante Adairius and Jester King to pour at it! De Garde has also put together a beautiful food menu for the event (posted below) by Chef Jacob Oliver.
Sometime in the coming months, Elements of Composition will also be released at Sante Adairius in Capitola, California and Jester King in Austin, Texas (dates to be announced).
We’re very grateful to have had the chance to work together on this project. We have an immense amount of respect for each other’s philosophy and approach to making beer, and we couldn’t be more pleased to have had the opportunity. We hope you enjoy the result and use it to celebrate friendship, which is the spirit in which Elements of Composition was created.
Adair Patero — Sante Adairius Rustic Ales
Linsey & Trevor Rogers — De Garde Brewing
Jeffrey Stuffings — Jester King Brewery
Tasting the potential blending options
Discussing the blend
Brewers from De Garde, Jester King, and Sante Adairius
This Friday, November 25th, when our tasting room opens early at Noon, we’ll be releasing Jester King Kvass. Our Kvass is a farmhouse ale brewed with bread from Miche Bread in Austin, Texas!
Miche Bread, which is owned and baked by Sandeep Gyawali, is truly delicious and inspiring. We felt an immediate kinship with Sandeep upon learning about his process. He mills his flour in-house using heritage grains, and he allows the bread to naturally leaven for several days with native yeast and bacteria, thereby creating all sorts of interesting flavors and aromas. Given our own use of Texas barley and wheat, and our spontaneous fermentation with native microbes, we knew we had to work with Sandeep somehow. Making a Kvass together seemed like a natural fit. Kvass is a low alcohol fermented beverage made with bread. It has been around in Eastern Europe for centuries.
We brewed Kvass with Sandeep at Jester King on July 19, 2016 with well water, malted barley from Blacklands Malt, malted rye, hops, and 140 pounds of Miche Bread in the mash. We then fermented the low gravity wort (1.023 / 6.0 Plato) in stainless steel with our mixed culture of brewers yeast, native yeast, and native bacteria. We then packaged Kvass on August 22, 2016 and allowed it to naturally referment in bottles and kegs. At the time of packaging, Kvass was 3.4 percent alcohol by volume, 25 IBU, 4.2 pH, and had a gravity of 1.002 (0.5 Plato). The label art was created by Josh Cockrell of Jester King. Sandeep wrote the back of the label.
Kvass will be available by the glass and at bottles to go starting at Noon this Friday, November 25th at Jester King. We have about 3,000 bottles available (750ml/$13). At this point, we don’t foresee Kvass being available outside of Jester King aside from special events.
We hope you enjoy this small, earthy, very drinkable little beer. A whole lot of love went into making it. Big thanks to Sandeep for working with us and making incredible bread!