Atrial Rubicite is Back!

From Jester King:

Sherry Barrel Atrial RubiciteWe’re excited to introduce Sherry Barrel Atrial Rubicite. As the name suggests, it’s our Atrial Rubicite (blend #4) aged for 15 months in a Spanish sherry barrel!

A lot of time went into making this beer. This isn’t to suggest that very long periods of maturation in oak automatically leads to good beer. Far from it. In fact, some of our favorite beers we’ve made have achieved some really nice characteristics in just a few months. However, we’re really pleased with the way Sherry Barrel Atrial Rubicite turned out and are happy it received all the time it did.

The base beer for Sherry Barrel Atrial Rubicite was brewed in 2013. After maturing in oak barrels for about a year, it Sherry Barrel for Atrial Rubicitewas blended during the spring of 2014 and refermented with raspberries. It was then racked to a single 500 liter Spanish sherry barrel for further aging and maturation. In July of 2015, fifteen months later, we racked the beer out of the sherry barrel and bottled it. All together, Sherry Barrel Atrial Rubicite took a little over two years to make. Again, this isn’t to suggest that long periods of fermentation and maturation necessarily equate to enjoyable beer, but in this case, we think it does.

Sherry Barrel Atrial Rubicite was brewed with Hill Country well water, barley, wheat, oats, and hops. It was fermented with our mixed culture of microorganisms consisting of brewers yeast and native yeast and bacteria harvested from the air and wildflowers around our brewery, and refermented with raspberries grown in Washington. Sherry Barrel Atrial Rubicite was pakagd in July of 2015 and is unfiltered, unpasteurized, and 100% naturally conditioned. At the time of bottling, it was 7.0% alcohol by volume, 1.003 specific gravity (0.75 degrees Plato), 7IBU, and 3.3 pH.

Sherry Barrel Atrial Rubicite will be released when our tasting room opens earlier for Labor Day weekend at Noon on Friday, September 4th. It is our first beer packaged in 330ml bottles. We chose a smaller bottle size simply so that there are more bottles to go around. About 1,000 bottles will be available ($12/bottle) with a limit of one per customer per day. We do not anticipate it being available beyond Jester King, aside from a few special events. The label art for Sherry Barrel Atrial Rubicite was created by our in-house artist Josh Cockrell.

Further Exploring the San Diego Craft Beer Scene

By Lee Knox

As another Summer of unbearable heat descended upon Texas and my electricity bill began to spike, I leapt at the opportunity to join my wife on another trip to San Diego, a craft beer loving town that I first visited last year, but knew I wanted to experience more.

Bottlecraft Tap WallOne of the highlights of my trip last year to experience the San Diego craft beer scene was the relatively small bottle shop in Little Italy next to Ballast Point’s R&D taproom called Bottlecraft. During my routine walk down India Street in Little Italy, to get a piece of pizza and taste the newest concoctions at Ballast Point (related: Coral, an American wheat beer with cherries, is amazing and is almost a Rosé of beers), I was delighted to see that Bottlecraft has moved across the street into a much larger location. In addition to an open wall on the shop with patio seating, they are also sporting a 24 tap wall as well! Already excited about this discovery, I saddled up to the bar ready to get a flight of the newest local offerings.

Eager to try the latest and greatest, but maintain my sobriety enough to walk the 8 or 9 blocks to the metro stop in Little Italy, I went with Pizza Port’s Triple Lindy, Coronado Brewing’s 19th Anniversary Ale, and finishing it all off with Craftsman Brewing’s Persimmon Sour.

Because I had already deemed this my Summer of the Imperial IPA, I started off my palate with the Pizza Port Triple Lindy, their new(ish) triple IPA. This beer is the angry Grandfather of their flagship IPA, Swamis. At around 10% abv, this IPA doesn’t mess around. However, it is surprisingly incredibly drinkable and refreshing. You aren’t blown overboard with hops or heat, and experience more of the pronounced citrus and grapefruit notes that West Coast IPAs are known for. I can see many a lazy Sunday watching day game baseball with a glass or two of Triple Lindy.

Happy that my palate wasn’t blown off my face with a Triple IPA, I went to Coronado Brewing’s 19th Anniversary Ale. Though I didn’t know at the time that I would be at their main brewery in a couple days, this was a great way to familiarize myself with them. The 19th Anniversary is an Imperial IPA hopped with 6 or 7 varieties of high alpha goodness. Similar to Dogfish Head’s 120 Minute IPA, the floral, fruity hoppy aroma will drag you in and seduce you before you have your first sip. However, rather than sweet, syrupy taste that can be found in this style, here you have a more bitter, earthy, dry taste. While some DIPAs drink like barleywines or just plain wines, this one is up front about the style it belongs in and is also not a palate wrecker.

With those IPAs out of the way, I decided to throw my palate to the wind and finish off with the Craftsman Brewing Bottlecraft glassesPersimmon Sour. This is an 8% ABV amber colored fruited sour that serves well as a dessert to any tasting flight. A dry, fruit sour that I could lightly sip on for days. I have no idea if this is bottled or not, but if it is, stocking a few in your cellar wouldn’t be a bad idea.

All in all, I am excited to see that Bottlecraft is using their new taproom in Little Italy to help showcase some of the best craft beers the state has to offer. And with its proximity to the coastline, you can’t ask for a better patio drinking scenario. However, a close second to the Little Italy patio seating is catching a night game at Pecto Park, home of the San Diego Padres.

If you’ve spoken to me for more than 5 minutes, you would know that in addition to craft beer, one of my passions in life is baseball. A Texas Rangers tattoo graces my right calf and I have 3 shelves full of memorabilia and signed balls in my sports room back home. I take baseball very seriously. Probably too seriously. That’s why I was excited to see that Petco Park, home of the Padres is not only a celebration of baseball, but also local craft beer.

Once inside the ballpark, you won’t have to walk far to find your first local craft beer vendor.  While Globe Life Park in Arlington is only recently dipping their toes in the pool of local beer, Petco Park is doing a cannonball into the deep end. You can find the following breweries in their own vendor locations at the ballpark: Hess Brewing, Stone, Ballast Point, Karl Strauss, Green Flash, and the newest addition- Pizza Port. (A full list of the local beers available at Petco can be found here.)

When I say that Pizza Port is available at Petco, I don’t mean that there’s one tap at a burger stand in left field. I mean that there are 5 separate Pizza Port locations in the ballpark. You can throw Jose Altuve and have a greater than 50% chance of hitting a Pizza Port location. And at every location, in addition to being able to buy their amazing pizza by the slice, you can buy Ponto Session IPA, Swamis IPA, Chronic Amber Ale, Pick Six Pilsner and Petco Park Pale Ale by the can or on tap.  The Petco Park Ale is exactly what you think it is. It’s a ballpark specific beer Pizza Port unveiled this year. The team has fully embraced local beer.

Even though the Padres were being shutout by the lowly Miami Marlins at the time, when I sat there in left field drinking a Swamis while the cool ocean breeze came in off of the water, I couldn’t help but feel content. This is a craft beer lover’s ballpark. Sometimes the score doesn’t matter when enjoying a game.
Padres Super fansOn a whim the next morning, my wife and I decided to hop on a ferry across the bay to check out what Coronado Island is like. I was born and raised on an island in the South Carolina low country, so I’m never one to turn down a trip to an island.

Even though you’ll be one yourself, if traveling around tourists get on your nerves, you might want to pass on Coronado. It’s almost entirely a tourist community on the island. Very friendly people, but tourists nonetheless. After traversing almost the entirety of the island and getting a sunburn on the beach, we decided to stop in at the flagship location of Coronado Brewing Company.

If you blink, you’ll miss this brewery’s location. The taproom is small and with limited seating. However, it’s not impossible to get a couple bar seats if you’re willing to wait for a little while. Being the adventurous travelers that we are, we made sure to get flights of every beer offered. I didn’t expect to be stopping by a brewery that day, and didn’t have my notes with me to log each beer. However, I do remember without a doubt my favorite one there.

Coronado 1Berry the Hatchet from Coronado Brewing Company is a fruit beer for those who don’t even know if they like fruit beers. This raspberry, blackberry, and boysenberry infused ale is somewhere between fuchsia and light purple in color. The taste is a relatively mellow explosion of fruits that take you through each one individually. There is a light tartness, but nowhere near the level of a fruited sour. This is a showcase of fruits. I could drink pints of this alone, mix with another beer, or even make an ice cream float with it. It’s just that good. Beyond pleased with what Coronado had to offer, we hopped back on the Ferry to the San Diego mainland to get ready for a dinner at a bar I’ve been reading about for over a year.

Stretching the entire length of the neighborhoods of North Park and South Park, 30th Street in San Diego might be the best street for craft beer in the entire state of California. From Toronado to the up and coming Fall Brewing Company, this street is a craft beer lover’s dream. And all the way down 30th in South Park, you have Hamilton’s Tavern, our next stop.

One of the things I’m learning more and more about San Diego’s craft beer scene is how unpretentious it is. This may be because of a vibrant craft beer scene is seen as the norm there or maybe the cool breeze and temperate weather is keeping everyone chill. You can walk into a seemingly dumpy dive bar off of a street in a residential neighborhood with hipsters smoking Marlboro 100s out front and be absolutely blown away by the tap list. Hamilton’s Tavern is that bar.

If you’re familiar with Colfax Avenue in Denver, picture the South end of 30th as a more residential Colfax and with Hamiltons Signfar less traffic. Hamilton’s Tavern is located in the South end of South Park on 30th Street next door to, you guessed it, a craft brewery called South Park Brewing Company. Across the street are several modest houses with front porches and the occasional jogger. If there are any windows to the street in Hamilton’s, I missed them. On the outside, it looks like your typical dimly lit bar home to the drunks who saddle up to it at 10 AM to drink High Life and watch baseball highlights. Though it is dimly lit, Hamilton’s Tavern is not that kind of bar. It is one of the top 5 craft beer bars that I have ever been to.

The first thing you notice when walking into Hamilton’s besides the mood lighting is the distinct lack of chairs. If you’re coming here looking to have a burger or other pub grub there, show up early or be prepared to vulture someone’s seat as they leave. This place gets packed fast and about 50% of their available space is occupied by pool and shuffleboard tables. Luckily, we showed up at the perfect time and were able to snag two chairs at the bar.

HamiltonsThe tap list on the weekends at Hamilton’s is a cross section of all of the craft beers that make California a destination for beer drinkers. In addition to a semi tap takeover from Nickel Beer Company which is a relatively new craft brewery in Julian, CA, including a firkin tapping, they had everyone’s favorite great white buffalo on tap, Russian River Brewing’s Pliny the Elder. Even though I was in California and shouldn’t be as taken back as I was to see a draft Pliny sighting in San Diego, earlier in the day I was told by a few bottle shop employees that Russian River’s beers aren’t making it down this far South with regularity anymore. So, seeing one of my all time favorite beers on tap here was a very welcome surprise.

Besides the wealth of craft beer at this relative hole in the wall bar, the food here is a definite game changer for bar food. Food is ordered through a small window by the shuffleboards where they give you a buzzer to pick it up when it’s ready. Everyone was raving about the brats, but being an almost 100% herbivore, we went with two variations of a veggie burger from their scratch kitchen. If you like good veggie burgers and not just someone throwing a black bean patty on a bun, this is the place to go. The spiciness of the peppers on the burgers added nicely to the explosion of hops we drank our way through as we followed up the Pliny with Nickle’s Vulcan IPA and maybe the freshest Green Flash IPA I’ve ever tasted. Hamilton’s brings it and brings it hard.

I leave our annual trip to San Diego learning a little more about the city and its craft beer scene a little more every year. This year, my greatest lesson was about 30th Street. The unpretentious and casual nature this street and side of San Diego approaches craft beer is commendable. The scene is approachable, affordable, and most important of all, deliciously drinkable. San Diego loves and appreciates its ever growing craft beer scene and it shows. I will continue my exploration of the city every year for as long as my body lets me.

Lee Knox is the adventurous Travel Contributor for Beer Drinkers Society.

A new reDANKulous release from Founders Brewing today

reDANKulous from Founders BrewingWhen I reviewed Founders Centennial IPA, it turns out that some of our readers found issue with my “hoppier than thou” comment. I’d like to remind those readers that I don’t believe there is anything wrong with enjoying that race, and for the beer drinkers who do there is Founders reDANKulous imperial red IPA at an impressive 90 IBUs.

Founders used the same cara malt technique in the malt bill here as they did with Centennial IPA: that is using Carapils with another roasted barley to increase sweetness and the quality of mouthfeel. Cara malts are hard to identify by taste, but judging by the dark Amber color, I might guess that caramunich malt was possibly used as well to help with the appearance. Regardless, this technique with the use of a neutral yeast strain is no doubt employed here to make for a solid base for the highlight of the recipe, hops- and a whole lot of them.
Chinook, Simcoe, and Mosaic were used in ReDANKulous, and that combination is nothing short of genius. Not only does it reaffirm the dank in the name, but it does so with complexity. Chinook, Simcoe, and Mosaic are just similar enough to work together flawlessly, but different enough to add individual nuances that show through. Founders ReDANKulous has a hop profile that is both complex and pleasingly simple at the same time. In this beer, spicy, piney, citrus, tropical notes combine to make this insane aroma and taste of almost anything that hops can be. I even pick up on some floral hop aroma that surprises me, as floral aromas are usually reserved for noble hop varieties.
The end result here is a whole lot of amazing hop flavor and aroma, but true to Founders’ mastery of brewing that hop flavor still has plenty of support from expertly chosen malts. It’s the same overall balance found in Centennial, but with imperial level malts and A unique combination of hops that will still satisfy those in search of IBUs. When this is released in your area, you really should pick up a bottle- but as a warning one won’t be enough.

Ben Webster is a co-founder and the educational writer for Beer Drinkers Society and manager of The Bearded Monk.

Denton Craft and Whiskey Bar’s 2 Year Anniversary is Proof that Denton’s Craft Culture is Growing Up

East Side Anniversary LogoIt’s that time again, Denton! Tomorrow (August 27th, 2015) we have another example of how our cool little culture is growing up, learning to walk around and…drink good beer…Ok, maybe that analogy doesn’t quite work, but the craft beer scene in Denton really has become something amazing and awe-inspiring to the rest of our DFW brethren. Tomorrow one of our cherished collective meeting places is turning another year older. East Side Denton will be 2-years-old and they are pulling out all the stops for the event!

In the hustle and bustle of gardening, wood working and cellar cleaning, I managed to sit down to look over the tap menu and chat with John Williams, Kregg Ross and Patrick Blancas about tomorrow’s big day.

“We’re all extremely lucky to work here because we get to do what we want…talking craft beer and whiskey. It’s pretty bad-ass. And we get to drink a lot of great beer tomorrow! That’s always fun!”-Ross

“We’re fortunate to have this culture that exists in Denton. Without the uniqueness, love and support of Denton, we wouldn’t have been able to make this thing [East Side] what it is.”-Blancas

All the ties and all the relationships I’ve built made Denton the place to open up shop and be successful. The fact that the community in Denton is strong with a small town feel and overall the people are friendlier and more laid back makes this a great town.”-Williams

The festivities for tomorrow include live music from Hares on the Mountain at 6pm and then Raised Men Right at 7:30pm. The party officially starts at 3 with special tappings every hour until 7pm.

Check out the full list of rare craft beer that East Side is busting out!

4pm Tapping
Barrel-Aged Pumpkinator from Saint Arnold
Early Morning Shakes from Oasis
Firkin of Martin House’s Russian Imperial Stout with Agave
Revolver’s Fracker Barrel One
Deep Ellum Brewing’s Morpheus 1

5pm Tapping
120 from Dogfish
Brunch Money from Armadillo Ale Works
Barrel-Aged Old Chub from Oskar Blues
Divine Reserve 15 from Saint Arnold
Southern Tier’s Warlock

6pm Tapping
Bourbon Barrel-Aged Hellfighter with Vanilla Beans from Karbach
Peticolas Brewing’s The Duke
REX Imperial Red Ale Aged in Bourbon Barrels from Clown Shoes
(512)’s 4 Barrel-Aged English Strong Ale
Mikkeller’s Mad Umami

7pm Tapping
Deschutes Brewery’s Black Butte 24
Stone’s 19th Anniversary Thunderstruck DBL IPA
Kentucky Streetwalker Bourbon Barrel Porter from Naughty Brewing
Spectra Trifecta from Founders Brewing

For a full rundown on the beer, food trucks and happenings follow East Side‘s Facebook page and don’t forget to join Craft Beer Downtown Denton! for the latest updates from all your favorite craft beer spots around The Denton Square.

Ben Esely is a co-founder and the Brewer Interviewer for Beer Drinkers Society and owner of The Bearded Monk.

Del Frisco’s Grille takes food and beer to new level with their Beer Social.

Four Corners Brewing Heart of TexasI’m finding more and more that upscale dining is choosing to embrace the flavor profiles of beer with their menus. Not only is this great news for beer drinkers who are looking for more than standard pub offerings, but this is also of benefit to foodies looking to expand on flavors found on their plates.

At only one of their 17 locations, Del Frisco’s is bringing their A game to a social event on Thursday, August 28th. The Del Frisco’s Grille in the heart of Uptown Dallas is highlighting Texas craft beer by offering food exclusively designed to pair with six hand picked beers from local breweries.
When asked why Del Frisco’s chose to bring attention to craft beer, Manager Nate Dixon said: “To me, Craft Beer is obviously getting bigger. All the flavors it has to offer and how different the beers are- every single one is different. I’m going to the store and finding something different every time. We have had a whiskey social before. I think the beer is going to have large appeal and the social event is going to let you talk to people about the beer.”
Del Frisco's GrillDel Frisco’s has opted for an unstructured setting, putting brewery representatives at individual stations with their respected beers and food pairings designed by Executive Chef John Holloman. The event is come and go as you please from 7-9, and customers are free to visit any station at any time during the event. By offering such a free flowing atmosphere, Del Frisco’s has provided an innovative and much needed approach to beer tastings by offering patrons access to in depth information on available beers without confining them to long presentations on technical aspects of brewing that may not interest many individuals.
Del Frisco’s has become synonymous with quality food, and the attention to the pairing menu (below) is phenomenal. Just from glance,it’s apparent that these pairings are absolutely perfect.
CommunityCommunity Beer Company Sundial Session IPA
Sundial-5 spiced pulled pork banh  mi, pickled slaw, hosin glaze
Razzy-ahi, scallop crudo, crispy wonton and watermellon relish

4 Corners
DFG “Does Food Good” pale ale (a special release collaboration between 4 Corners and Del Frisco’s that offers great floral hop aroma) -lobster flatbread, fontina, lobster crema
Heart of Texas-espresso rubbed tenderloin, scallion pesto, grilled toast points

Bock-jerk chicken skewer, mango, tomatillo salsa
Blood and Honey-artisan grit cake, smoked shrimp, citrus reduction

I have personally sampled Del Frisco’s food, and can say for certain that the quality is exceptional. The cost of the Beer Social is 44.89  (inclusive of tax and gratuity) and access can be purchased at Del Frisco’s (3232 McKinney ave. Dallas, TX 75204) or reservations can be taken by phone at (972) 807-6152
Ben Webster is a co-founder and the educational writer for Beer Drinkers Society.

Biere De Miel: A New Farmhouse Ale from Jester King

Photo by Ben Esely @BeerDrinkersSociety on Instagram

Photo by Ben Esely
@BeerDrinkersSociety on Instagram

I’ll start by saying what everyone already knows: Unless you’re willing to make the (lord knows how many hours from where you are) drive down to Jester King in Austin for limited release stuff, or have a trade partner who frequents the brewery, getting your hands on non-shelf beers from said brewery can suck. Lucky for me, I have a trade partner who DOES frequent JK from time to time. (Thanks Daniel!) After a meet up down in Pearland to swap some beers, I was super stoked to have the opportunity to try this little number. Jester King? Check. Farmhouse Ale? Check. Assloads of Texas Honey? Triple-check. I was going to wait to share this beer with my evil-homebrewing-genius-buddy, Mark, but temptation got the best of me. Here we go…

Biere De Miel pours a clear daffodil yellow, with a decent amount of fluffy eggshell white head. The carbonation is insanely apparent, cascading up from the bottom of my tulip, and supporting the half-inch head that looks like it isn’t going to leave, anytime soon. That’s okay with me. A decent amount of stick from the lacing is there, with fluffy suds clinging to the sides of the glass as I swirl it, and after I take a sip. This is okay with me, as well. Hooray.

The nose is redolent of a typical French Saison yeast, with the crazy herbal, almost peppery notes tickling the sinuses. An underlying funk that can only be expected of a JK beer is there as well, throwing the flavors that all Brett beer lovers enjoy: Leather, dry earth, oak, and wet limestone. (But in a lighter way than normal.) The floral tones from the honey make an appearance as well, showing nips of citrus, honeysuckle, and jasmine.

At first sip, I’m already in love. The honey is right there, adding the expected flavor notes as mentioned above. Dry, crackery pilsner malts show up too, as well as a bit of wheat, which explains the body and head retention of this lovely beer. The low pH isn’t even a factor, as this beer is far too balanced to smack you in the face with the sourness you’d expect. There’s a hint of pickle juice on the very back end, but the malts and the honey tip the scales in a more favorable direction, in that regard. The oak serves to add a decent bit of tannin, and even a bit of sweetness too, without drying out the palate too much. The carbonation is only there to push the beer across your tongue, and isn’t too prickly. In fact, it’s almost creamy on the tongue, and dangerously quaffable.

All in all, I can gladly say that this beer surpassed my expectations, especially after some of the negative reviews I’ve seen it get. I honestly don’t understand how anyone could say anything bad about this, considering my wife, who isn’t a fan of “Wild” beers, even liked it. Sometimes, I wished I lived closer to Austin, so I had more chances to get my hands on beers of this caliber from a brewery as radass as Jester King. Then again, I’m not the biggest fan of waiting in crazy long lines, either. I’d settle for Wimberley, which is quieter, but still close.

I’m all out of brain-farts for today, so I hope you enjoyed reading them! I hope you all have a great week, with many great beers to further enhance it, and loads of high-fives. If you have any questions, comments, or would like to ramble at me, or tell me I’m a silly nimrod, you can do so at Keep being awesome, people, and drink Texan!!!


<Matt The Beer-Guy>

Why Founders Centennial Might Just be the Perfect IPA

Centennial IPAThe IPA is by far the most popular beer style. Every brewery has one, often enough to just keep up with the trend other breweries have set. Unfortunately, this has led to a “hoppier than thou” contest where some breweries have gone for over-hopped, baseless beers in an effort to out gimmick the competition. With Centennial IPA, Founders has shown just how making a proper, balanced IPA is done. What’s more is that Founders has created such a great IPA with only one hop variety. The reason Centennial is such a good example of what an IPA can be is not in the hops, but in the malt.

Hops of course have a very strong flavor, and the Centennial varietal is one of the stronger ones. Bold citrus and pine flavors accompanied by strong bitterness from ample amounts of alpha acids give Centennial its characteristic profile. With Centennial in the recipe, and used during dry hopping, this beer has those flavors in large quantities. With such big flavor coming from Centennial, the last thing that should be done is lower the malt flavor.

Founders gives all that delicious hop flavor and aroma a pleasing level of support by way of a brilliantly structured malt bill. As far as my palette is able to discern, regular pale ale malt makes up the majority of the bill, to no surprise. However Munich malt brings some flavor variation to the mix, but Munich malt is not the brilliant addition to the malt bill that I was referring to. With just pale ale and Munich malts, a 7.5% beer would tend to be a bit thin on mouthfeel as well as a little dry, neither of which would offer much to juxtapose the hop bitterness from the Centennial. The solution is two-fold. First, mouthfeel is addressed by including a bit of Carapils. (Carapils is a malt that goes through an extra step in the malting process that makes it a great ingredient to help in head retention and mouthfeel.) Founders seems to include Carapils in many of their beers, and it’s a practice that has served them well, obviously. There is a downside to Carapils malt, and that is its lack of contribution to aroma and taste. The solution is to add a small portion of crystal malts to the mix. The caramel sweetness from these malts brings the alcohol and light malts back into balance. So now, we have a malt profile that offers just enough sweetness and body to reign in and compliment the centennial hops while still hitting that 7.5% abv.

Founders could have kept going, using a flavorful yeast strain to add some complexity. But what’s great about Founders is they know when to stop, yielding great beers that have just enough depth to keep their customers entertained while offering something pleasant enough to drink regularly. In that tradition Founders used a relatively neutral yeast to showcase the already great flavors without muddling up the recipe with complexity for complexity’s sake.

Sure this isn’t over the top, but you should be looking to Founders Devil Dancer if that’s what you are after. No, this is what an IPA could be if only more brewers looked at the entire beer rather than just how to squeeze more hop flavor into it. Amateur and professional Brewers alike- take note.

Ben Webster is a co-founder and the educational writer for Beer Drinkers Society.