Jester King Craft Brewery

Barrel Program Head Adrienne Ballou Leaves Jester King

10 February 2016


We have a bittersweet announcement to make. Our Barrel Program Head — Adrienne Ballou — has decided to leave Jester King to pursue a career in wine making. She’ll be spending the next several months in Australia for the southern hemisphere grape harvest. We refer to her departure as bittersweet because we’re excited for Adrienne, and commend her on having the courage to follow her passion. It’s not an easy thing for her to do having accomplished fantastic things in the beer world and developed quite a reputation for herself within the beer community.

Adrienne came to us three years ago in January of 2013 having completed a winemaking apprenticeship in France and graduated from the University of California at Davis with a degree in Viticulture and Enology. Given her background, we asked her to focus on fruit refermentation. If we may say so ourselves, given the quality of the fruit beer produced at Jester King during Adrienne’s tenure, we’d say she knocked it out of the park. On top of that, Adrienne was a wonderful person to be around day in and day out at the brewery, and acquitted herself with the utmost professionalism and grace.

Fortunately, after the harvest in Australia, Adrienne will be returning to central Texas to pursue wine making here at home. We hope that in the future she will help us grow grapes on the 58 acres we recently purchased. On Thursday, we’ll have some more public announcements to make regarding our staff. But for now, we wish to commend Adrienne on her fantastic work and wish her the very best as she pursues a new and exciting chapter of her career.


First 100% Spontaneously Fermented Beer Bottling

9 February 2016


Today was a special day here at Jester King! We bottled our first 100% spontaneously fermented beer! Back in February of 2013, we began filling our coolship with wort and allowing it to chill overnight, exposed to the native microorganisms in the air. We then racked the wort into oak barrels and allowed it to ferment 100% spontaneously — meaning that we did not pitch yeast. Rather, fermentation was the by-product of native microorganisms that exist all around us at our ranch in the Texas Hill Country. Why are we doing this? We’re seeking to make a beer inextricably linked to a particular time and place, never to be precisely recreated again. Beer that has a sense of place and time is what intrigues us, and motivates us to be immensely patient with a project that is now three years old.

Yesterday, we blended our first 100% spontaneously fermented beer. We created a three-year vertical blend of coolship beer from the winter of 2013, winter of 2014, and winter of 2015. Today we’re packaging the blend in 750ml and 375ml bottles, as well as kegs. We opted for olive green bottles with a cork and cap finish. The blend will condition in bottles and kegs for quite some time. One often overlooked component of farmhouse ales and spontaneously fermented beers is the importance of the time the beer spends refermenting in the serving vessel. We anticipate our spontaneous beer will spend six to nine months slowly refermenting in the bottle prior to release. Why are we committing so much time to a beer that’s already partially three years old? “Magical” things happen in the bottle over time! As the yeast struggles to survive in a hostile environment that’s low in nutrients, higher in alcohol, lower in pH, and that has pressure building from the CO2, it tends to behave differently and produce some very interesting flavors and aromas. That’s why we view the refermentation phase that our spontaneous beer goes through, starting today, to be absolutely critical.

Ultimately, if all goes well, the beer will be ready for release in several months. We’re hopeful this will be sometime in 2016. Until then, we’re very excited to see this special project finally begin to materialize into something that can be shared with beer drinkers and that is an embodiment of a particular place and time.









Introducing 2015 Autumnal Dichotomous

28 January 2016

At Jester King, all of our beers reflect the conditions of their production: where and when they were brewed and fermented. The ingredients we use for brewing—Hill Country well water, locally malted grains, and native yeast and bacteria for fermentation—all evoke a sense of place. However, we also like to think that our beers evoke a sense of time. Most seasonal beers on the market are brewed to be consumed in a particular season. Our mixed culture fermentations, however, work at their own pace, taking several months to attenuate and develop complex flavor profiles, and don’t lend themselves to precise release dates. Instead, we like to make beers that, when finished, remind us of the moment they’re brewed and the conditions of their fermentation.

Our 2015 Autumnal Dichotomous, the seventh in our Dichotomous series, reflects the flavors of autumn. Every beer in this series uses local seasonal ingredients to create a sensory portrait of the season in which it’s brewed. 2015 Autumnal Dichotomous is brewed with Texas Satsuma mandarins and cinnamon, using a simple malt bill to evoke the flavors and aromas of autumn baking.

Autumnal Dichotomous was brewed in September of 2015 with Hill Country well water, two-row malt, Munich malt, malted wheat, rolled oats, and hops. In late November, the beer was recirculated through cinnamon sticks and Satsuma zest and juice, and refermented for another two weeks. It was packaged on December 7th and 8th. Autumnal Dichotomous is unfiltered, unpasteurized, and 100% naturally conditioned. It is 6.8% alcohol by volume, 28 IBU, 4.22 pH at the time of packaging, and has a finishing gravity of 1.002.

2015 Autumnal Dichotomous will be released when our tasting room opens at 4pm on Friday, January 29. It will be available by the glass, as well as to go in 750ml bottles ($12/bottle, no limits). Approximately 8,000 bottles are available, and we anticipate the beer seeing limited distribution in Texas. The label art was created by our very own Josh Cockrell.


2016 San Francisco Beer Week Events

25 January 2016

We’re headed out to the San Francisco bay area again for some fun events and collaborations during SF Beer Week! Here are the details:

Thursday, January 28th

7-11pm — Almanac & Friends Sourfest

Friday, January 29th

Friday we have a special, ticketed food and beer event planned at Woodfour Brewing Co. from 6-10pm! Click here for more details and tickets.

Saturday, January 30th

12pm — Cellar sale at City Beer Store. We’ll be City Beer around noon on Friday to hang out and drink and talk beer. Bottles of our beer will be available at the store.

3pm — SOLD OUT Guided Tasting w/ Founder Jeffrey Stuffings, Head Brewer Garrett Crowell, and Brewer Averie Swanson at Bar Mikkeller San Francisco.

7pm — Jester King keg tapping at The Beer Baron in Livermore, CA. The Beer Baron will be tapping some kegs of our beer, and we’ll be on hand for the event.


Introducing Jester King Simple Means

21 January 2016


We are pleased to introduce Jester King Simple Means — our farmhouse altbier with smoked malt. For us, Simple Means is an exercise in succinctness and restraint. As we mature as a brewery and as beer drinkers, we progressively find our tastes, techniques, and recipes becoming more simplified. This is not to suggest that complexity has been sacrificed, but rather that we seek to create clearer expressions of flavor and aroma in our beer, and ultimately to make beer that is balanced and drinkable.

Simple Means takes inspiration from Altbier. Though classically associated with the copper ales of Düsseldorf, the term can refer to any older-style beer in the German-speaking world. Both the use of smoked malts and mixed fermentation with native yeast and bacteria predate modern brewing techniques, lending flavors to our farmhouse altbier that are evocative of a simpler, much earlier time.

Simple Means was brewed with unfiltered, raw, Hill Country well water, malted barley, smoked malted barley, and hops in early September of 2015. It was fermented with our mixed culture of brewers yeast and native yeast and bacteria harvested from the air and wildflowers around our brewery in stainless steel for about two months. It was then 100% naturally conditioned through refermentation in the bottle for another two months prior to release. It is 5.6% alcohol by volume, and at the time of bottling was 4.3 pH, 26 IBU, and had a gravity of 1.4 degrees Plato (1.005).

Simple Means will be released at Jester King when our tasting room opens at 4pm on Friday, January 22nd. It will be available by the glass, as well as to go in 750ml bottles ($12/bottle, no limit). Approximately 3,500 bottles are available, and we anticipate the beer seeing limited distribution in Texas. A second batch is currently in the conditioning phase at the moment. The label art was created by our very own Josh Cockrell.





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