Jester King Craft Brewery

Farming Begins at Jester King

7 June 2016


Farm-8242 (1)


We’re very excited to announce that we’ve begun farming at Jester King! Earlier this year, we announced that we had purchased 58 acres of land around the brewery for farming and preservation. The farming has now begun.


Our farming efforts so far have been fairly modest. We planted about one acre with peach trees, plum trees, blackberry bushes, and a melon patch. The peaches and blackberries have begun to grow, but it will be a ways off before we have fruit to use in our beer. This fall, we’ll plant nitrogen-fixing crops to help fertilize more of our soil, and in the spring we’ll plant grapevines. We have a test plot of wheat, and have noticed some native rye at the ranch, which has us optimistic about the future of growing grains for brewing. Over the next few years, we plan to plant about eight acres of land.


So why are we doing this? As a maker of farmhouse ales, we’re constantly trying to achieve a higher level of authenticity in what we do. To us, farmhouse ale is beer that’s tied to a place, time, and people. It’s beer that simply wouldn’t exist but for these connections. We live in a world where through modern technology, it’s possible to make beer taste virtually the same almost anywhere on earth. The combination of water manipulated to match mineral profiles from abroad, grain and hops from the same small handful of suppliers, and pure culture brewers yeast from a laboratory has lead to remarkably consistent, predictable beer with a very high level of overall quality. But through these advances, beer’s connection to a place, time, and people has waned. We see farming at our brewery as part of the calculus to help restore this balance.


Another question that has occurred to us is why are we starting a farm when we have agriculture all around us in the Hill Country? A big part of it is being able to use growing techniques that favor quality over quantity. According to Jester King engineer Ian Steigmeyer:


“These techniques range from pruning and harvesting by hand to a strict avoidance of unnatural fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides. We don’t want these substances in our beer, so we don’t want them near our fruit…We will employ traditional techniques of livestock rotation through our growing spaces, thereby encouraging the natural maintenance of a healthy ground cover, fertile soil, and low pest levels. In this way, our farming is much like our brewing. We won’t exercise tight control over the growing process, instead we will try to establish a healthy and balanced system that is largely self-sustaining.”


Another part is being able to promote environmentally sustainable practices. According to Ian, “We are investigating ways to divert the majority of our brewing byproducts into compost that will then fertilize our fields. All irrigation will be using high efficiency drip systems, and only in the extended absence of natural precipitation. Finally, the proximity of our crops to their point of final use will essentially eliminate any fossil fuel consumption associated with the transportation of fruit.”


We’re excited to see how our farming progresses with time! While it has now begun, it’s going to be a long, slow, patient process. Fortunately, that’s something we’ve become pretty accustomed to over the years here at Jester King.


— Jeff Stuffings, Founder


Bathroom-5391


Bathroom-5405 (1)


Bathroom-5415


Bathroom-5426


Farm-8239 (1)


Bathroom-5506


Bathroom-5499


Bathroom-5448


FF and AR-0492


---

Ron Extract & Amber Watts to Leave Jester King

3 June 2016



Ron Extract, Michael Steffing, Jeffrey Stuffings


It’s with bittersweet sentiment that Michael and I mention that Ron Extract and Amber Watts are leaving Jester King to pursue their career goal of opening their own brewery! Ron and Amber will have more details of their own to share, but they plan on establishing a brewery in rural Washington in the months ahead.


Ron and Amber have meant a great deal to Jester King over the years. Ron joined Jester King during the brewery construction phase and was instrumental in helping shape the creative vision of the brewery. He initially reached out to Michael and me about potentially distributing our beer, but the conversation soon changed to how he could benefit Jester King directly by partnering with us and lending his wealth of experience in sales and distribution, as well as in the beer industry in general. Michael and I were very fortunate to have someone with Ron’s experience and knowledge as our partner. Having no prior industry experience ourselves, Ron was able to connect us with people and organizations that accelerated the growth, awareness, and reputation of the brewery. Ron of course also worked very hard at helping push through the package of bills that allow Jester King to pursue its current business model. Prior to 2013, Jester King could not sell beer at the brewery. Now our business depends and thrives on people having the legal ability to buy beer to drink at our tasting room or take home. Once we had the legal right to sell beer, Ron helped make Jester King a preeminent destination location for beer in Texas, and what Michael and I consider to be one of the best locations for beer in the world. On top of that, Ron has done an exceptional job representing Jester King at home and abroad, creating many valuable contacts for us along the way. We know Ron to be one of the smartest, most patient, and overall reasonable persons that we’ve encountered.


Amber has helped us tremendously in a multitude of areas over the years. She initially volunteered her time in the tasting room before ultimately helping manage an entity that essentially puts on a major beer festival every weekend. She took over brewery reporting and government compliance upon coming onboard as a full-time member of our staff, which helped across a number of departments. She helped elevate the onsite experience at Jester King by organizing some of the most wonderful events we’ve ever been associated with, including the Salty Sow beer dinner, 2015 Funk n’ Sour Fest, the all-Dichotomous beer dinner, and “2015” Zwanze Day. She also brought us the fun and successful Alamo Drafthouse Rolling Roadshow screenings. Amber represented Jester King very well both at home and abroad, and was highly helpful and reliable as one of our tour guides. I personally thank her for her help with communications, and we’re excited to see her express her excellent communication skills, both written and verbal, through the platform of her new business.


While Ron will be leaving Jester King, he remains a shareholder in the company. Knowing his reputation for helping others in the industry, I have no doubt he’ll gladly help everyone at Jester King in any way he can going forward. We are very excited about the new chapter in their professional lives, expect them to succeed magnificently, and are excited to see the knowledge and experience they’ve gained over the years translate into an exceptional business of their own!


— Jeffrey Stuffings
Founder
Jester King Brewery


---

Introducing Gin Barrel Nocturn Chrysalis

26 May 2016


gbnc1


We’re very excited to introduce Gin Barrel Nocturn Chrysalis! We took our Nocturn Chrysalis Barrel Aged Sour Beer Refermented with Blackberries and aged it in a gin barrel from our friends down the road at Revolution Spirits!


Gin Barrel Nocturn Chrysalis involved a long process to make. It was brewed in 2014, aged in oak barrels for about a year, refermented with blackberries, then aged in a gin barrel for another ten months! It was bottled on April 6th, 2016. At the time of bottling, it was 7.5% alcohol by volume, 1.001 specific gravity (0.25 Plato), 7 IBU, and 3.4 pH.


Gin Barrel Nocturn Chrysalis was exclusively packaged in 330ml bottles. Only 550 bottles are available. It will go on sale at our tasting room at Noon this Memorial Day — Monday, May 30th with a limit of one bottle per customer (330ml x $14).


gbnc2

gbnc3



---

Fantôme Del Rey "Ropiness"

25 May 2016



Earlier this week here at the brewery, I noticed that our recently released Fantôme Del Rey had become “ropy”. When I tasted it, the mouthfeel and texture had a slickness to it, and the beer poured into my glass with some viscosity. I was happy with the aroma and flavor, but the texture definitely left something to be desired.


As a result, we’re going to put sales of Fantôme Del Rey on hiatus. Our hope is that the Brettanomyces yeast contained in our mixed culture will resolve the issue over time. The slickness in the mouthfeel is most likely attributable to the lactic acid producing bacteria Pediococcus. According to the Milk the Funk Wiki (one of my favorite websites), Pediococcus may cause ropiness due to the production of exopolysaccharides, which mostly effect mouthfeel and appearance. Brettanomyces has the ability to break down exopolysaccharides over time.


It’s hard to know how long Brettanomyces may take to hopefully resolve the issue. I think it’s safe to assume we’re looking at months, not weeks. My hope is that in three or four months, the ropiness will have dissipated. But there’s no certainty to this. Only time will tell. If you have purchased Fantôme Del Rey, my recommendation is to age the bottle(s), preferably on its side in a warm spot, for at least three months. We’ll be opening bottles in-house and will provide updates on how the beer is progressing. If you find this impractical and/or undesirable, no problem at all. Please e-mail me directly at jstuffings@jesterkingbrewery.com, and I will make things right for you.


How Fantôme Del Rey ended up becoming ropy is a bit of a mystery to us. The beer went through a number of iterations on its journey to blending and bottling, and our mixed culture was given a number of opportunities to express itself. Old, barrel-aged beer brewed in August of 2014 with dark candi syrup, ground coriander, and black peppercorn, and fermented with truffle honey, was blended with young beer and bottle conditioned. Like all our beer (aside from our spontaneous fermentations), it was fermented with our mixed culture, which contains dozens of native microorganisms, many of which we don’t even know what they are. Mixed culture fermentation is always a roll of the dice. The results can be absolutely beautiful at times, but we also routinely taste beer we’re unhappy with, which we further age or discard. The fermentation is outside our direct control, and we merely create an environment for the microorganisms to express themselves in unique ways. In this case unfortunately, a fermentation issue became apparent after we had already released the beer.


I apologize that one of our beers isn’t presenting the way we want it to. While off-flavors and flaws in beer can be subjective (for instance, we enjoy the lightstruck character in beer we get from packaging in green bottles), I find ropiness to be a distraction and impediment to enjoying beer. In the end, our goal is to make beer that’s drinkable and enjoyable. Unfortunately, I think the ropiness currently found in Fantôme Del Rey causes it to dip below this standard, which is why we won’t be selling any more of the batch for the time being.

— Jeffrey Stuffings, Founder


---

Das Überkind Blend No. 4

24 May 2016



When our tasting room opens this Friday at 4pm, we’ll be releasing Das Überkind Blend No. 4! Das Überkind is a blend of mature, barrel aged sour beer fermented with our mixed culture of brewers yeast and native microorganisms harvested from the land and air around our brewery.

Only about 1,300 bottles are available (limit 1 per customer per day, 750ml/$16).

---

« Older Newer »