I hate funky sour beers, yet I love going to Jester King. If you’ve paid a recent visit to the farmhouse brewery 20 minutes southwest of downtown Austin, you’d see I’m not the only one.
Their overflow parking lot has an overflow parking lot of its own. The farmhouse estate located on a four-acre plot in the beautiful Hill Country is equipped to handle large crowds, with dozens of picnic tables spread throughout the compound and two separate beer stations. The primary tasting room has 10 taps and is set up adjacent to the barn house where the huge fermenters are located. The outdoor station is set up on the opposite end of the brewery and usually houses a few casks of Jester King’s latest brew.
Thanks to recent legislation allowing for breweries to sell their own beer on-premise, you can also find a station dedicated to selling bottles to go that feature Jester King’s latest releases, as well as a nicely curated list of beers from our region and around the world.
Despite this set up, you can still expect to wait up to 20 minutes in line for your next pour during their busiest hours, which are weekends between 1-5 PM.
The Allure of Jester King
On popular beer rating site Ratebeer, Jester King was recently rated one of the top 100 brewers worldwide. Theirs was the only beer from the Texas area to even make the list. So what is it that makes their beer so popular and well-received? Their website says it best:
“Jester King is an authentic farmhouse brewery committed to making wild ales and spontaneously fermented beers that reflect the unique character of our location in the beautiful Texas Hill Country.”
Their fanatical attention to the brewing process, combined with a wildly experimental style (seriously, who else is brewing with mezcal?), deliver unique beers you won’t get anywhere else. Beers like the the recently released Hibernal Dichotomous, a Winter Saison that is a blend of young farmhouse ale (63%), mature barrel aged beer brewed with lavender, rosemary and spearmint from November of 2012 (25%), and fresh-pressed watermelon juice (12%).
Their most recent release was over Memorial Day weekend, a beer called Encendia. It’s a dry, well-attenuated, farmhouse ale brewed with agave nectar, epazote and ancho chiles and aged in mezcal barrels from Oaxaca, Mexico.
The wildly unique side of Jester King doesn’t stop with the beers they make. In-house artist Josh Cockrell comes up with the unique naming convention used in all of their brews and does all of their award-winning artwork. He has been with Jester King since the beginning, even helping them build the brewery itself. You can see a collection of the beers Jester King has released, as well as a portfolio of Josh’s labels here. You can also purchase much of his artwork at the bottles-to-go station in the form of t-shirts and art prints.
Visiting the Farmhouse Brewery
Jester King has helped put Central Texas breweries on the map. Their artwork and one-of-a-kind beers are coveted by craft beer aficionados around the country. As craft beer tourism in Austin heats up, Jester King has become one of the top destinations in the area. They are currently doing free tours of the farmhouse, barrel room, and tasting room on Fridays at 6 PM and Saturday/Sunday at 1 PM, 3 PM, and 5 PM.
They do a great job of keeping their tasting room options up to date on the website, so you always know what you are in for before making the drive out there.
Don’t Miss Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza
A visit to Jester King would not be complete without eating at Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza. Located right next to the brewery, Stanley’s offers handcrafted artisan pizza using fresh ingredients sourced from local farms and gardens. They also offer a great selection of beers, aside from what Jester King offers. If you can only have one pizza, go for the Willie: a BBQ pizza with brisket, cheddar cheese, red onions, jalapeños, and cilantro.
Having been around for less than four years, Jester King has come a long way in making a name for itself in its beautiful home at the heart of the Texas Hill Country. It’s a testament to their brewing methodology and location that despite making brews in one of the least popular beer categories, people will still come in droves.
A visit to Jester King combines everything I love about the Central Texas area: local beer, beautiful setting, great food, and most importantly, great people.
What’s your favorite Jester King brew?
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