Just Brutal: Jester King Gotlandsdricka

December 5, 2012

I am a Jester King fanboy, but I have my limits, and Gotlandsdricka is well beyond those.  Allegedly the beer of the Vikings, you’d have to be a Viking to enjoy this stuff. This was astringent and bitter and overly fizzy with an assortment of odd burnt wood flavors that were completely unpleasant. I choked it down, but I did not enjoy it in the least, and while I understand what Jester King is trying to do with all of these styles, this one is a huge swing and a miss, 3/10.

At least the label is cool

At least the label is cool


Jester King Wytchmaker Redux and WILD! (And A Bonus Review of the Farmhouse Black Metal Stout!)

May 16, 2012

Don’t see much difference between these two bottles, do you? The bottle on the left is the regular Jester King Wytchmaker Rye IPA (my 2011 Beer of the Year!). The bottle on the right is the Wytchmaker Farmhouse Rye IPA.

The only difference between the two is the Farmhouse Rye IPA uses farmhouse yeast in place of the regular ale yeast. This gives it a slightly sour and funky flavor. It pours a little cloudier, and the aroma is just a touch funkier, with a touch of sourness added to the flavor. The difference is subtle, but nice. I don’t think it makes it a better beer, and it is not substantially different either, but it is still damn good, 9.5/10.

The Farmhouse version is a little cloudier, a little funkier, but just as tasty.

BONUS REVIEW!: The Farmhouse Black Metal is an improvement over the already excellent Black Metal Stout. The sourness from the farmhouse yeasts adds another flavor dimension and rounds out the dark chocolate, dried fruit, anise and dark brown sugar flavors.  Again, any differences between the two beers is subtle, but liked the farmhouse version a touch more. I gave the regular Black Metal Stout a score of 8.5, but the farmhouse version gets a 9/10.


Jester King – Mikkeller Beer Geek Rodeo

May 1, 2012

I tried the Beer Geek Rodeo at the Big Texas Beer Fest and and I am pretty sure I loved it. I am not positive because I sampled it at the end of the day, when I was drunk, tired, and overwhelmed by all of the beer I had consumed up to that point. Also, as anyone who is a regular reader of this blog has concluded, I am a Jester King fan boy, and taking into account my state of inebriation, I would have given Bud Light Lime high marks if it had been handed to me by the Jester King folks.

Needless to say, I was looking forward to trying this in a more or less sober state so I could give it a proper review. I was right to love it when I was good and pickled at the Beer fest.  The Beer Geek Rodeo is a collaboration with Mikkeller, their second such collaboration. It is an oatmeal stout brewed with Vietnamese coffee and chipotle peppers, so it combines several of my favorite things: breakfast, beer, coffee, and hot peppers. It pours a deep opaque brown with some ruby highlights, and as you can see from the photo, has a nice tan head. The oatmeal gives this beer a chewy and velvety mouthfeel. The coffee is subtle, more of a background note. Most coffee stouts punch you in the mouth with coffee flavor, but not this one. The chipotle peppers add a smokiness to the flavor. I did not pick up much heat from the peppers at first, but as the glass warmed, the spiciness picked up a bit. The smoke and heat from the chipotle peppers do a nice job of masking any burn from the 10.1 % ABV. This is definitely a beer for beer geeks, and while I prefer the term ‘beer dork’, I can roll with beer geek too, especially when the beer is this good, 9/10.


Jester King Le Petit Prince

April 26, 2012

Isn't that just the prettiest thing you have ever seen?

Le Petit Prince is another fine offering from the good folks at Jester King. It is light, crisp and refreshing, a perfect beer for the coming brutal days of the Texas summer. Although it is light, the beer is hoppy and fruity, with a rustic farmhouse flavor, and a flowery finish from the hops. At 2.9% ABV, Le Petit Prince would be the ideal session beer, except it is a bit too pricey to drink all day. Although not cost effective as a session beer, it is still a fine drink, 7.5/10.

Does anyone else remember this television adaptation of The Little Prince from the Seventies? I was completely creeped out by the kid who played the Prince, to the point where I was glad the little weirdo died at the end.

Gene Wilder is great in this, but he is always great. Think about the run he had in the sixties and seventies: Bonnie & Clyde, The Producers,  Willy Wonka, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Silver Streak, and Stir Crazy. Even when the movies may not have been the best, he was always great in them.


Big Texas Beer Festival, Dallas, April 14

April 16, 2012

Beer Festival Rules:

1. Pace yourself so that you can enjoy all the beers that you will be sampling.

2. Drink plenty of water.

3. Take regular food breaks. Read the rest of this entry »


DON’T CALL IT A COMEBACK! Jester King Thrash Metal Strong Farmhouse Ale

February 23, 2012

This is one hell of a bounce back beer after my disappointment with the Jester King Commercial Suicide.  As you can see from the photo, the Thrash Metal Strong Farmhouse Ale pours a hazy golden yellow, and that ethereal glow emanating from the glasses? It is real and arises from the divine nature of this beer. It has some peach flavors, herbal aromas, a complex hops palate, and a tangy, musky, funky aftertaste. I would describe it as a boozy saison (over 9% ABV), but that fails to adequately describe how great this beer is, 9/10.


Jester King Commercial Suicide Brown Ale

February 3, 2012

A rare misstep by Jester King, the bottled Commercial Suicide just did not live up the lofty heights reached by some of it’s brothers and sisters from the Jester King family. I have had this Brown Ale on tap several times and have always enjoyed it, and had a special sour version of this made with wild yeast and drawn from a gravity keg when I visited the brewery this past summer, which was fantastic, but this was an over carbonated, overly yeasty, slightly woody, mess of a beer, 5/10.

Jester King has a bunch of beers hitting the market soon, and I will try each and every one of them. I am also hoping to make the trek back to Austin one of these days to get back to the brewery and try whatever they have tapped for the day, but this is the last bottle of Commercial Suicide I am going to pick up.

Happier Times: The Taps at the Jester King Brewery


Best Beers of 2011

December 31, 2011

I had a good 2011 when it came to beer. I probably drank less beer by volume than any year in recent memory, but the quality of the beer I did  drink was much better than in years past. I decided this year to not drink beer just for the sake of drinking beer, but to drink only if the choices were genuinely appealing. No more knocking back a Shiner Bock just because that was the best beer available at the taqueria; I went with water (or sometimes soda) if that was the case.

Drinking only good beer meant less time spent like this

My 2011 Best Beer list is Texas-centric. There are two reasons for that: First, I live here now, and these beers are readily available to me. Second, Texas is home to some damn fine brewers, although most are relatively unknown outside the state. Texas is the best kept secret of the craft brewing world, but the better brewers are starting to get some attention elsewhere.

Here are the best beers I had in 2011:

8.5 Scores:

1. Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale

2. Deschuttes Black Butte XXIII

3. Super Des Fagnes Brune

4. Dogfish Head Burton Baton

9.0 Scores:

1. Real Ale 15th Anniversary Russian Imperial Stout

2. Ithaca Excelsior Thirteen Anniversary Ale

3. Saint Arnold Divine Reserve No. 11

4. Mikeller Chipotle Porter

9.5 Scores:

1. Jester King Wytchmaker Rye IPA

2. Real Ale Barrel Aged Empire IPA

3. Real Ale Sisyphus 2009

If forced to choose one beer as the best of 2011, I’d go with Jester King’s Wytchmaker Rye IPA. That is one tasty beer. Jester King has a busy and creative 2012 planned, so much so that it would not shock me if one of their new beers knocked out the Wytchmaker to take the title in 2012. On the other hand, at the beginning of 2011, I had not even heard of Jester King, so there may be some as yet unknown brewer who will take the crown. We will have to see how 2012 plays out.

*Photo courtesy of Aaron Goldfarb, Author of How To Fail


Special Post-Boxing Day Edition of the Twelve Days of Christmas: Jester King Black Metal Stout Aged in an Oak Whiskey Barrel

December 27, 2011

Mr. JK is quite the generous soul. Mr. JK was being his usual generous and jolly self during Christmas 2010 when he gave Tilting Suds an oak whiskey barrel and some ‘raw’ spirits to age in the barrel. I barreled the whiskey just before Christmas, 2010. The liquor was clear when I poured it in the barrel; It was also as smooth as jet fuel. On New Year’s Eve, 2010, I poured off a bit to sample it. It had taken on some color but was still harsh firewater, nearly undrinkable. I sampled it again on Saint Patrick’s Day and Independence Day. Each successive sample took on more color and flavor, but the firewater aspect hardly mellowed at all. I decided that I would leave the whiskey in the barrel until after Thanksgiving to give it time to cool off, so to speak. This was a tactical error on my part. While my plan to mellow the whiskey was a sound one, what I did not count on was the Angels being so parched that their share would drain nearly the entire barrel.  After just under a year in the barrel, between evaporation and the oak absorbing the liquid, what started as 1500 ml of whiskey* was reduced to this: Read the rest of this entry »


My Most Memorable Crap; Also, Jester King-Mikkeller Collaboration, Drink’n in the Sunbelt

October 14, 2011

Late Summer 1987, and I am backpacking around Europe with Pete S. We had Eurail passes and we were not going to let them burn holes in our pockets, so we were rolling arond Western Europe like Patton racing towards Germany.

Our trip took us to Copenhagen. I pulled out my dog eared copy of “Let’s Go:Europe” and start reading about Copenhagen. Per the advice of Let’s Go, we saw the statue if the Little Mermaid. I dutifully took a picture of it, but that was a total waste of time. We decided to go to the Tuborg Brewery for a tour of the works, and then the free beer samples at the end.

On the way to the brewery, we passed a small sandwich shop. Let’s Go had advised trying these open faced fish sandwiches that Denmark was famous for, and the window of this shop was filled with them. Pete and I popped in and each grabbed a sandwich. As we sat down, I noticed that the mayonnaise on my sandwich looked just a touch off, just a wee bit nasty, just a tiny bit rancid, but as you all know, I am an idiot, so I just wolfed the thing down. Pete, to his credit, looked at the sandwich, and asked, “Are you sure about this?” Having already finished my sandwich, I said “it’s fine.” Pete took a few bites, thought better of it, and dumped the sandwich.

Read the rest of this entry »


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