Strawberries from Marburger Orchard in Fredericksburg, Texas.
18 April 2013
18 April 2013
Our original label application for Salt Lick Pecan Wood Smoked Saison was rejected by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC), after having been approved by the Federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau (TTB).
The TABC, which is tasked with enforcing all state laws relating to alcohol sales and distribution, regardless of how inscrutable, self-contradictory, or downright ludicrous those laws may be, was very apologetic about rejecting the label, but rejected it nonetheless.
According to Texas, it would violate the delicate sensibilities of the three tier system for a malt beverage bearing the name or trademark of a Texas retail licensee to be sold in the state, even on a non-proprietary, non-exclusive basis. Wine or spirits labels referencing retailer names or trademarks, however, present no such problem.
In order to ensure that no harm befalls the innocent people of Texas, we have removed all references to The Salt Lick. Our apologies to the residents of the rest of the world for any inconvenience that these changes might have caused.
12 April 2013
We’re very happy to have received a 2013 CultureMap Tastemaker award. We’ll keep focusing on trying to make better and better beer.
10 April 2013
Viking Metal (7.4% alcohol by volume) is our rendition of an ancient Swedish farmhouse ale called Gotlandsdricka, which we aged in Old Tom gin barrels for several months with wild yeast and souring bacteria. Gotlandsdricka was brewed with birchwood smoked malt (smoked in house), juniper and Myrica gale. After primary fermentation with farmhouse yeast, we racked the beer to oak barrels previously containing Old Tom gin and inoculated it with mature barrel aged beer, containing wild yeast and souring bacteria. After seven months of oak fermentation and maturation, we blended the barrels and naturally conditioned the beer for an additional six weeks prior to release.
When we first brewed Gotlandsdricka last summer, we noted that the ancient style on which it was based was brewed long before the discovery of cultured brewer’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and the advent of modern brewing practices such as fermentation in closed stainless steel vessels. As a result, the ancient style would have undoubtedly soured with time given its exposure to naturally occurring wild yeast and bacteria. We do not claim Viking Metal to be an authentic historical recreation. However, given that it’s influenced by wild yeast and souring bacteria, we suspect that it is closer to its ancient counterpart than our “clean” version of Gotlandsdricka fermented last summer in a closed vessel with only brewer’s yeast.
Viking Metal continues our lineup of metal themed beers joining Black Metal, Thrash Metal and Funk Metal. Why metal themed beers? Because we like metal, and it’s fun.
We sent a sneak peak of Viking Metal to last Saturday’s Big Texas Beer Fest in Dallas. On Saturday, April 13th, we’ll have Viking Metal available for sampling at our tasting room, and our neighbor Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza will have a limited amount of Viking Metal for sale on draught. Viking Metal will also be served at the following upcoming events:
Flix Brewhouse Firkin Fest on 4/21
The Draught House on 4/26
Craft Beer Festival at The Dancing Bear Pub on 4/27
Jester King beer dinner at The Monterey on 5/21
Asheville Rare & Wild Beer Tasting on 5/31
A limited release of Viking Metal in 750ml bottles will follow once label approval has been received.
Viking Metal label art
14 March 2013
Late Monday afternoon, a deal was struck to advance Senate Bills 515, 516, 517, and 518, which would allow for off-site distribution by Texas brewpubs as well as limited on-site sales by production breweries, and would bolster the ability of small breweries to self-distribute. These are goals that Texas brewers have been fighting for since well before we started Jester King, but upon which no real headway had been made until now. Under the current system, brewpubs can only sell their products on site, but under the new law, they could distribute them anywhere they chose, affording them the opportunity to rise to regional, national, or even international prominence, and bringing tourist dollars from their fans to their local communities. If they choose to do so, they could even transition at some stage to production brewers and maybe even go on to become major regional producers, while still operating a tap room where visitors could purchase their products for on site consumption. If these bills pass, the story that underlies the rise of so many of this country’s most successful craft breweries will finally be able to be told in Texas.
Along with these four bills, however, a fifth with less positive implications for Texas craft brewers, was also advanced as part of a package deal. Among other provisions, SB 639 would make it expressly illegal for breweries to sell the right to distribute their products to wholesalers, while making it expressly legal for wholesalers to sell those same rights to one another. In other words, a self distributing brewer who wants to transition to using a third party distributor cannot be compensated by that distributor for the existing business that they would be turning over, but then that same distributor could immediately turn around and sell that business to another distributor for millions of dollars. In addition, current code provisions already stipulate that once a brewer assigns a distributor, the brewer can’t terminate or fail to renew that relationship without “good cause”, or without compensating that distributor for the fair market value of the brewer’s distribution rights—rights which, under the new bill, the brewer could not be compensated for in the first place. Distributors, on the other hand, are free to terminate their relationships with brewers without cause or compensation, any time they see fit. The idea that a statute designed specifically to deprive a an entire class of Texas small business owners of the cash value of their businesses could pass is disheartening and reprehensible, and we cannot help but question the motives of anyone who would cast a vote in favor of, or in any way support such a provision.
Unfortunately, the message that we’ve been given is that the TABC has insisted upon receiving guidance from the legislature on whether the practice of brewers selling their distribution rights is legal or illegal, and those of us who feel that it is currently and should continue to be legal simply do not have the necessary power or influence to prevail. The passage of this law will be a terrible injustice, which we believe will ultimately be overturned, but if opposing it is not a battle that we can win right now, we agree with Scott Metzger that it’s better to win the battles we can, gather momentum, and live to fight another day. Scott, Brock Wagner, and the other representatives of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, along with their allies, Open the Taps, and the Beer Alliance of Texas, were also able to mitigate the damage of SB639 somewhat by lobbying successfully for the inclusion of a section that would formally codify the legality of other means by which distributors are able to support brewers without running afoul of this or other sections of the code. We sincerely thank them for their efforts in this regard, and for all of their hard work throughout this process.
In summary, we strongly support SB 515-518. We also strongly oppose SB 639, and would love to see it left in the dust as our bills sail through the remainder of the legislative process. If that doesn’t happen, we’ll be understandably upset about the loss of our property rights and will work with other brewers who feel similarly to do everything in our power to see them restored. In the end, though, if all five bills pass, we’ll have a lot more to celebrate than we will to lament. If you disagree, well, maybe sometime in the not too distant future, we can discuss it over a pint at Jester King.