Jester King is located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, a picturesque locale dotted with wineries, breweries, and the occasional gun range, just so you don’t forget where you are. The hills roll on and on, and you can’t help but feel you’ve got nothin’ but time. Book a Bed and Breakfast and an Uber, the beers are the only thing that’s rustic in these parts, and saddle up for some wine tasting and brewery touring. But we came all the way out here for one thing…to visit the infamous Jester King.
Montmorency and Balaton are cherry varieties from Michigan that are prized for their tartness. It stands to reason, then, that the sour seekers at Jester King would use these little nuggets to tart up one of their creations. Honestly, this fruit lends itself perfectly to this sour ale. They take a pale base sour and age it in oak, then referment it with about 4 pounds of cherries per gallon of batch. That’s a lot of cherries man. But thank god for it, cuz this beer is goooo-oooood.
C: Cartoonish raspberry with a slight haze
A: Cherry, leather, and tart funk
T: Tangy with light cherry and berry flavors
F: Tart, dry finish with light lingering berry
B: Light to medium
This Farmhouse Rye IPA is every bit the beer I want from this magical brewery. Bright, zesty sweetness from the rye and minty, floral notes from the hops give themselves over, willingly, to the yeasty goodness and tart funkiness.
C: Hazy sunshine golden
A: Funkiness with floral, herbal, and minty hops
T: Balanced with tart citrus, and bright lemon juice and all the same hop aromas
F: Quick, slightly dry finish
The Queen’s Order is a new incarnation from Jester King. It’s brewed with guajillo honey and two types of Texas lemons; these guys source the crap out of Texas products. It was actually brewed for an Austin Honey Beer Summit, so that honey flavor goes a long way.
C: Hazy lemon
A: Bitter lemon rind and funk
T: Spritzy lemon peel with bready notes
F: Bitter lemon, then quick and dry
This Hoppy Farmhouse Ale is an oldie but goodie; we tasted Batch 18 on our visit. It’s brewed with Noble hops and native yeast as well as Hill Country well water, duh. This guy doesn’t overwhelm the taste buds with complexity, but has the right amount of light fruits and farmhouse funk. A perfect beer for day drinking in an idyllic setting. Like the Texas Hill Country perhaps.
C: Pale straw
A: Slightly overripe pear with grass
T: Funk, light fruits, hay and grass, with light cracker notes
F: Lingering, dry finish
B: Light body
Seasonal Farmhouse release that focuses on local Texas ingredients. This one is chock full of grapefruit zest, fresh rosemary, and dried chilis, there’s no shortage of those here. What you get is a savory wonderland of funky flavor. It’s delightful.
C: Pale Copper
A: Apricot, pear, grape with savory rosemary
T: Light fruits with bread and bitter citrus peel
F: Dry, with warmth from the chilis
B: Light to medium
This rendition of Provenance features lemon and lime. These fruits come through in the flavor more than any other, which is the idea, I suppose. Tons of zesty citrus, mostly peel, and light honey flavors, this is another one that speaks to the day drinking part of my brain.
C: Opaque, deep golden lemon
A: Lemon and lime, herbal
T: Fresh, spritzy citrus with clover honey
F: Soft mouthfeel and dry finish
B: Light to medium
Final Entropy is a collaboration with Jackie O’s Pub and Brewery in Athens, Ohio. A simple incarnation, it’s a Kolsch-style brew with all the grass, sweet hay, cracker, and light citrus you would expect, but with a Jester King twist; it’s funky and tart as hell. Easy drinking at 5.3% ABV and perfect for a hot day in the Hill Country.
C: Slightly hazy deep golden
A: Heavy grass with citrus peel; savory cracker
T: Essence of the fields with dry grass, sweet hay, and an herbaceous sweetness
F: Tart and dry
This Flanders Red-style ale is brewed in honor of one of the original brewers of JK beers, Russ Beattie. It’s a hefty beer brimming with flavor; barrel-aged, unpasteurized, unfiltered, naturally conditioned, and brewed with unicorn tears. Anyway, it’s magnificent.
C: Hazy mahogany
A: Wood, for sure, plus tart prunes, figs
T: Figs and prunes continue with leather, vanilla and tobacco; super tart
F: Oak brings tons of balance to all that tart fruit
B: Medium to full
This fabulous bitch is brewed as a collaboration with Live Oak Brewing Co. They bring their classic Hefeweizen and JK brings the beast…I mean yeast. It has the aroma of funky toes and that is a beautiful thing. It comes with all the appropriate accouterments; banana, bubblegum, clove and then takes you to the tarty darkside. And boom…you’re in love.
C: Clear golden…surprisingly
A: Tart banana bread, with a heavy dash of toe cheese (yes!!)
T: Banana again, with bubblegum, apricot and lighter fruits as well as clovey goodness
F: Quick, tart and bready