Last Saturday, my wife and I went to Jester King’s Funk’n Sour Gravity Fest out at their brewery on the west side of Austin. That day, the brewery was serving soured versions of some their beers. Most of the soured version were aged in oak barrels with added microbes to sour the beer. Jester King uses “commercial” strains of bacteria, plus some microbes they’ve harvested at their brewery. To do that, they exposed fresh wort to the Texas Hill Country air and let the mixed culture grow. They then sent samples off to a lab to be examined and have the more promising bacterial strains isolated and cultured for them. Of their soured beers, my favorite was the oak-aged Commercial Suicide (a 3.6% ABV English dark mild).
The brewery also showed off the “farmhouse” versions of some of their English ales. For these beers, they replaced their usual English ale yeast with a saison yeast. Although the saison yeast is more finicky than their regular ale yeast, the brewers like the complexity it adds. I really liked the Wytchmaker Rye IPA done with the saison yeast.
In all, it was a great time. As expected, I ran into a few Austin ZEALOTS. I also got to spend a little time talking to Michael and Jeffrey Stuffings, the two brothers who founded the brewery. The brewery has some new beers coming out, including a beer called Noble King, which they describe as a hoppy farmhouse ale, and they’ve got a whole bunch of other ideas, too. One is to start brewing with captured rainwater -- a project that will have to wait until it actually rains here. (Central Texas experienced it’s worst drought in recorded history this year.)
The final bit of news from Jester King is that they are suing the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commision (TABC), claiming the state’s ridiculous labeling laws infringe on the breweries First Amendment right to accurately describe their beer. The also have a suit claiming the the TABCs rules on beer distributing are a violotion of the Fourteenth Amendment. You can see the details at: http://jesterkingbrewery.com/blog/ (These guys might be Jesters, but they're no fools. Jeffrey was a lawyer before opening the brewery.)...