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 Foot stomping has mostly disappeared in industrial winemaking and been replaced by mechanical crushing, but can still be found practiced by smaller wine producers and especially natural winemakers.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.