Most Austinites are well aware of the craft beer oasis located 20 minutes south of downtown Austin, known as Jester King Brewery. Founded in 2010 on three acres of Texas Hill Country, Jester King has grown to 61 acres. It now includes a burgeoning vineyard, goat farm, 700 annuals, and a lush melon patch. Simultaneous to its growth in our hearts has been its consistent climb to the international stage of superlative beer places.
In Beer We Trust
Jester King Brewery’s mission is simple: protect and conserve Central Texas farmland, while making the best beer in the world. Well on its way, it is currently notched at 36th in the world by Ratebeer.com. Jester King’s success is due to a fanatical attention to detail and a bold, forward-thinking attitude in the realm of fermentation.
Everything at Jester King is handmade. From the tools used for harvesting to the labels slapped on each bottle, everything is customized and delivered with the sincerity of a human hand. This is perhaps what gives the place its spunk.
Jester King avoids automated systems that spit out infinitely replicable, cookie-cutter products. Rather, the team grinds it out all week—pouring, corking and brewing with finesse—then settles in for the weekend to care for each and every visitor who walks up the brewery’s entrance steps.
This focus on the traditional is the edge of the King. The brewery brings in flea markets of all-natural handmade goods and has an in-house artist, John Cockrell, who draws all of its imagery. Jester King does everything on-site and invites you to be part of it.
Just as each batch of craft beer is made more important and unique by processes of spontaneous fermentation, so too the experience of the individual is made more personal, as you sip on whatever wildly infused pour Jester King concocted that week.
Austin’s beloved brewery always has a great selection of beers from all over the world, as well. You can check options out here before your next visit.
Meet Sean “Peppy” Meyer
There are many attractions that make Jester King worth the trip. Perhaps none is more noteworthy than Sean “Peppy” Myers, who I can only describe as Austin’s one and only virtuosic farmer. I was fortunate to share two bottles of the brewery’s finest with Peppy—Noble King and SPON—while we toured the picturesque site.
Peppy took me through Jester King’s 3.1-acre vineyard, which is currently flushed with radishes to prepare for grape season ahead. He discussed the eminence of the brewery’s solar power unit, which was installed in 2017 and allows Jester King to be 80 percent self-sustainable.
Farmer Peppy also spoke at length about the property’s incredibly efficient use of water, which allows it to produce twice as many gallons of beer (in terms of yield) than the most efficient breweries in the world.
Lastly, he showed me the goats. The infamous baby goats with whom he lives. I admit it: I swooned.
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Jester King Brewery Public Tours
Peppy leads free farm tours on Saturdays at 2 p.m. for anyone who wants more insight into what it takes to produce such incredible and unique products.
He expects to populate the farm with more animals in the years ahead. His ambition mirrors that of the whole company. Jester King is nowhere near cruising altitude. The folks at 13187 Fitzhugh Road have set out to be an example for farmers and brewers everywhere, showing what is possible and necessary in the changing environment.
By taking personal ownership of the land and establishing sustainable agricultural practices, Jester King Brewery could stand to have a ripple effect on business practices not only in Texas Hill Country, but anywhere there is grass, land, and things to be grown and harvested.
While the Jester King team tackles those heady issues, I’ll be at a picnic table with a slice of pizza from Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza, with which they share the wide, open space.
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In my opinion, the men and women at Jester King Brewery create the ideal experience for visitors. If you’ve yet to go, then expect a little bean bag toss. Beware the lines, which can balloon to 20 minutes. Bring your kids; let them roam. Slow down. Smile. Enjoy a beer.
And in the words of Peppy, help “not build a bigger wall, but build a bigger table.”
13187 Fitzhugh Road – Website
@theAustinot wants to know:
Have you been to Jester King Brewery yet?
The original version of this article was published June 2, 2014.