Jester King Craft Brewery

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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Introducing Calvados Barrel Aged Aurelian Lure & Cherry Funk Metal

7 July 2017


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We’re excited to announce the release of two new beers this weekend — Calvados Barrel Aged Aurelian Lure and Cherry Funk Metal! Calvados Barrel Aged Aurelian Lure is 2016 Aurelian Lure aged in Calvados (apple brandy from the Normandy region of France) barrels. Cherry Funk Metal is a special, individual blend of Funk Metal barrels refermented with Balaton cherries.


Last year when we were making 2016 Aurelian Lure, we took a portion of the batch and put it in two ~225L Calvados barrels. After about a year of aging, we blended the barrels, and naturally refermented the blend in bottles and kegs. Calvados Barrel Aged Aurelian Lure is unfiltered, unpasteurized, 6.4 percent alcohol by volume, 10 IBU, 3.4 pH, and has a finishing gravity of 1.003 (0.75 degrees Plato). It was packaged on April 18th, 2017.


For Cherry Funk Metal, we created a special blend and refermented it with Balaton cherries. We then naturally conditioned the beer in bottles and kegs. Cherry Funk Metal is unfiltered, unpasteurized, 9.5 percent alcohol by volume, 19 IBU, 3.5 pH, and has a finishing gravity of 1.012 (3.0 degrees Plato). It was packaged on May 8th, 2017.


Calvados Barrel Aged Aurelian Lure and Cherry Funk Metal will be released at our tasting room at 4pm on Friday, July 7th. Cherry Funk Metal will be available by the glass and in bottles to go. Calvados Barrel Aurelian Lure is only available in bottles to go. It was packaged in 330ml bottles. We have 1,150 bottles available for sale ($14/bottle) with a bottle limit of one per customer per day. Cherry Funk Metal was packaged in 750ml bottles. We have 1,300 bottles available for sale ($22/bottle) with a bottle limit of one per customer per day. Aside from special events, both beers will only be available at our tasting room.


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Calvados barrel that contained Aurelian Lure, now filled with a new project ;)

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Calvados Aurelian Update / Olas Espaciales / Beer Cocktail

7 July 2017



Jolly Pumpkin / Jester King Olas Espaciales


We have a couple updates for this weekend at Jester King…


First off, Jeff we mistakenly posted that we have Calvados Barrel Aged Aurelian Lure by the glass. We only have this beer in bottles to go (1,150 bottles / limit 1). We’re sorry for this mistake. We only had two Calvados barrels to fill with Aurelian Lure, so we didn’t have enough beer to fill kegs.


Second, we’re very excited to have Jolly Pumpkin / Jester King Olas Espaciales on our menu this weekend! This is Jolly Pumpkin’s version of Space Waves, which we released at Jester King last August. Olas Espaciales was made with lime, salt, and Michigan cherries. Here’s Daniel Ohly of Jolly Pumpkin’s words about the beer:


“Ron (Jeffries) took a trip out to the Hill Country just outside of Austin, Texas back in April of 2016 to visit his friends at Jester King. Jester King has been in these majestic Texas hills for the past 7 years, making fantastic beers utilizing natural yeast and local agriculture. The result of this trip was a collaboration, “Space Waves.” As soon as Ron returned to Dexter, we couldn’t wait to do our own take on it — “Olas Espaciales.” To make Olas Espaciales, we used lime salt and cherry puree, with a rather complex hop bill, and allowed it to age 10 months in oak. Olas Espaciales reminds us of hot Texas days, refreshing beers in the shade of oak trees, and truly amazing company. We hope you can share this beer with friends new and old.”


Jolly Pumpkin was kind enough to make special Texas label for Olas Espaciales that doesn’t say “Jester King” on it. They had to do this to be compliant with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC). TABC’s position is that it is illegal for a licensed out of state brewery (Jolly Pumpkin) to collaborate with a licensed Texas brewpub (Jester King). TABC considers this a three-tier violation. Our position is that First Amendment commercial free speech protects our ability to convey factual information to our customers about how a beer was made. It is simply a fact that Olas Espaciales was a collaboration between Jolly Pumpkin and Jester King, and Jolly Pumpkin shouldn’t be censored by the government from saying this on the label. We’re currently waiting to see how this case plays out before deciding to take legal action against TABC.


We have six slims kegs of Olas Espaciales ($4/4oz pour, $9/12oz pour) and 120 bottles ($16/750ml/limit 1) for sale. In honor of Olas Espaciales and Jolly Pumpkin, we have 24 bottles of Space Waves on our cellar menu this weekend.


Lastly, we have a beer cocktail on our menu this weekend made with our friends from Drink.Well. in Austin! Its name is “Eddie Would Go”, and it’s made with Jester King Rare Corals, bitters, fresh lemon juice, fresh strawberries, Lustau PX San Emilio Sherry, and house made falernum syrup. Here’s Drink.Well.‘s Becca Yannone describing the beer cocktail:


“I was blown away with Rare Corals! The balance of salinity with tropical fruit and strawberries was something that I wanted to play up in my cocktail. After tasting Rare Corals, I went home and immediately got to work trying to highlight the flavors of the beer. My goal was to coax out the uniqueness, and I felt that I was able to delicately do that and create one hell of a “tiki-shandy.” The beer was inspired by surf culture, and the name of the cocktail, “Eddie Would Go”, is a nod to the culture that inspired the beer.”


The beer cocktail is being served on draught over ice at our tasting room this weekend. Special thanks to our Operations Manager Matt Piper for his work this project.


Cheers, Jeff



Eddie Woud Go

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Introducing SPON Blueberry & Pitaya and SPON Albariño & Blanc du Bois

28 June 2017


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We’re very pleased to introduce two new beers in our SPON series — SPON Blueberry & Pitaya and SPON Albariño & Blanc du Bois. Our SPON series are 100% spontaneously fermented beers produced using the traditional method of making authentic Belgian Lambic. For these two beers, we refermented one with Texas blueberries and pitaya (a.k.a. dragonfruit) and one with Texas Albariño & Blanc du Bois grapes.


Both beers are a blend of two year old spontaneously fermented beer created using this method:


1) A turbid mash of Hill Country well water and Texas malted barley and raw wheat;
2) A four hour boil with hops aged for at least two years in our barn;
3) Overnight cooling and inoculation of the entire batch of wort in our coolship;
4) 100% spontaneous fermentation;
5) Two years of aging and maturation in oak puncheons;
6) Blending;
7) Refermentation with fruit;
8) Packaging;
9) 100% refermentation and maturation of the beer in the serving vessel (kegs and bottles places on their sides) for several more months; and
10) No addition of any chemicals, preservatives, or artificial sweeteners at any point in the process.


Our inspiration and intent was to follow the traditional method of making authentic Belgian Lambic, but to do so with our own well water, local grain, aged hops, native yeast and bacteria, and Texas fruit, so as to create something entirely unique to our own environment in the Texas Hill Country.


SPON Blueberry & Pitaya is 5.7% alcohol by volume, 21 IBU, 3.3 pH, and has a finishing gravity of 1.002 (0.5 degrees Plato). It was packaged on February 2nd, 2017. Please note, there’s an inaccuracy on the front label. It says “blended on FEB 02 2017”, when this is actually the bottling date. SPON Albariño & Blanc du Bois is 6.7% alcohol by volume, 21 IBU, 3.4 pH, and also has a finishing gravity of 1.002 (0.5 degrees Plato). It was packaged on September 29th, 2016.


SPON Blueberry & Pitaya and SPON Albariño & Blanc du Bois will be released on Friday, June 30th when our tasting room opens at 4pm. Both beers will be available by the glass and in bottles to go. We have about 2,700 bottles (375ml/$25) of each beer for sale (5,400 bottles total). The bottle limit is three bottles of each beer (six bottles total) per customer per day. Aside from special events, each beer will only be available at Jester King.


Cheers,

Jeffrey Stuffings, Jester King


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