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Introducing Jester King / Bruery Terreux Sacred Vessel

We are excited to introduce our newest release Sacred Vessel — a collaboration with Bruery Terreux. This is our third collaboration with Bruery Terreux (the others being Bouffon and Imperial Cabinet) but the first to be made here at Jester King. Sacred Vessel is a barrel-aged beer inspired by Greek Retsina wine with rosemary from the Jester King farm and refermented with foot-stomped Roussanne and Viognier grapes from California.

At Jester King, we are keen on incorporating techniques from other industries and marrying them to create something interesting and unique. Winemaking in particular is where we adopt many of our processes. In fact, as far as we are aware, we were the first brewery in the United States to use winemaking’s punchdown technique to allow for more extraction of color and flavor in our fruited beers. We have found that we tend to have more in common with winemakers than brewers in many respects.

For Sacred Vessel, we incorporated one of the world's oldest winemaking techniques — foot stomping! Foot stomping has mostly disappeared in industrial winemaking and been replaced by mechanical crushing, but can still be found practiced by smaller wine producers and especially natural winemakers. This type of maceration produces enough human pressure to break the grape skins, but is also gentle enough to not break the seeds (which would lead to a more astringent taste). Foot stomping also invigorates fermentation and allows for human intuition to control when to stop crushing.

Pictured below, Head Brewer Averie Swanson and Wine Coordinator Traci Walker use this technique to break the skins of the grapes before introducing barrel-aged beer to the foudre.

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This wine-like beer was inspired by Greek Retsina — a white wine traditionally made in barrels or amphorae that were lined with pine resin. As part of our collaboration, Jeremy Grinkey of Bruery Terreux sourced 1,000 pounds each of hand-harvested Roussanne and Viognier grapes from California. The grapes were quick frozen as whole clusters to be safely transported to Jester King. Once they arrived, we put the grapes into one of our foudres, where we foot-stomped them prior to adding mature, barrel-aged sour beer to begin the refermentation.

After refermention was complete, the beer was racked to stainless steel and a small amount of rosemary harvested from the Jester King farm was added to the tank to create a flavor reminiscent of the pine resin character of Retsina. As noted by Averie, “The resultant beer is super interesting and incredibly wine-like! The rosemary is present but very soft and integrates well with the flavors of the grapes and the base beer.”

Sacred Vessel will be released at Jester King on Friday, April 20th at 4pm when our tasting room opens. It was packaged on February 1st, 2018. At the time of bottling, Sacred Vessel was 9.5% alcohol by volume, 7.5 IBU, 3.86 pH, and 0.998 specific gravity. It will be sold exclusively at the brewery and will be available by the glass and in bottles to go (750ml/$26). We have 1,600 bottles available with a bottle limit of six per customer per day. Aside from special events, Sacred Vessel will only be available at our tasting room.

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