June 12, 2012

The Brü Revü – Jester King Brewery

On a recent Saturday, I took a trip out to the Jester King Brewery for one of their regular tours and tastings.  It is outside of Austin off of 290 towards Dripping Springs, which is not far from where I live in Southwest Austin.  For $10 you get parking, a Jester King glass, and 6 half pour tastings.  I was at the fiasco that was their original Grand Opening, and they have definitely improved since then and the crowd was a good sign they are building a reputation.  The tour itself was very informative and efficient.  Jester King brews in a local farmhouse style that tries to evoke the flavors of their immediate surroundings including harvesting the natural yeasts in the area to use in their beers.  This process took them time to perfect and their high quality and careful patience is proven in their beers which all have a very herbal and earthy edge.  Each batch of beer is slowly fermented and bottle/keg conditioned which creates a good 2 month process and add another month if they barrel age.  I have been on many brewery tours and Jester King has come close to perfecting the experience.  They have a beautiful hill country location as well as very friendly and informative staff.  This is a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon, and family friendly too!

On to the beers:  I decided to go down the menu which went from lightest to heaviest in terms of both alcohol and flavor presence.  I believe this was done for a reason, although they will let you go in any order you wish.
Jester King Le Petit Prince Farmhouse Table Beer This beer is their farmhouse table beer and although it has a very low abv, 2.9%, it was very flavorful.  A very pleasant surprise.  I had their original Commercial Suicide that was their previous low alcohol brew and I didn’t care much for it.  This was a huge improvement with loads of hops and a nice light body.
Jester King Noble King Hoppy Farmhouse Ale The Noble King had a very nice hop profile that was well balanced by their farmhouse yeast.  It was a very tasty hoppy beer that was highly drinkable.
Jester King/Mikkeller Drink’in the Sunbelt Next up was their collaboration with the Gypsy brewer Mikkeller and it was a Hoppy Wheat beer.  Again another hoppy beer which surprised me a bit considering my experience with them in the past and not what I expected out of a farmhouse brewery.  Another excellent beer where the wheat added a carefully balanced and bready compliment to the citrusy hops.

Jester King Farmhouse Wytchmaker On to the Wytchmaker.  I have had this one several time previously, but not the farmhouse version.  The Wytchmaker was originally made with an English ale yeast I believe so I was interested in the difference the farmhouse yeast would make.  This was still an outstanding beer with the farmhouse yeast mellowing the hops a bit although you are still left with a nice hoppy coating on your palate.  
Jester King Boxer’s Revenge Barrel-Aged Wild Ale The Boxer’s Revenge was another one I had at their Open house which I remember being more of a Saison in flavor profile, and boy is it different now!  This beer is matured in Oak whiskey and wine barrels and it has a very tart and funky taste.  It was very shocking at first, but by the end I was in love.  Definitely a different brew and different beer taste experience.
Amager Rugporter (Rye Porter) And lastly was their guest tap which was a Rye Porter from Denmark.  This was like dessert.  Very big and tasty with the sweetness of the rye balanced by a bitter chocolate flavor.  Yum!

All in all the Jester King beers show a depth and complexity of a mature brewer although they have only been in business for about a year and half.  All the beers I tasted were outstanding and I can’t wait to spend another Saturday afternoon at this beautiful brewery.

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