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Sip on Seasonal Craft Selections

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Insight on the tastiest seasonal and limited winter beer from Austin’s local breweries.

By Leigh Anne Winger

Photo by Hops & Grain BrewingJester King Craft Brewery

13005 Fitzhugh Road, building B, Austin, TX 78736

jesterkingbrewery.com, 512.537.5100

Open Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. Tours at 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Your $10 will cover parking and entrance cost with access to the brewery grounds, a spot on any of the tours and a souvenir glass, which you can use to sample beer.

Jester King Craft Brewery, a farmhouse brewery located in the Texas Hill Country, is releasing limited availability brews this season, crafted specifically for Central Texas beer connoisseurs. The unique flavor in every Jester King beer is made from many organic ingredients—the brewery prides itself on the use of natural ingredients and many of the beers are USDA Certified Organic brews. Jester King uses a traditional slow and patient brewing technique, fermenting the beer in oak barrels, with all the flavor you can ask for in a craft brew. Here is a list of Jester King’s recently released limited beers:

Gotlandsdricka

This brew is inspired by an ancient Viking brewing style that’s still made off the coast of Sweden on the island of Gotland, using birch-smoked malt, oak-smoked wheat, flaked rye, juniper berries and sweet gale.

Packages: 750-milileter bottles and limited draught

Availability: Limited

Original Gravity (OG): 1.052; Final Gravity (FG): 1.004; Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 6.6 percent

For beer makers and enthusiasts alike, these numbers might mean something to you. For everyone else, the alcohol content (ABV) is probably the most important to note. The higher the ABV, the more strength and bold flavor a beer will have.

Water: Hill Country well water

Malts: Birchwood-smoked pilsner, beechwood-smoked malt, oaked-smoked wheat

Hops: East Kent Goldings

Yeast: Farmhouse yeast

Other Ingredients: Flaked rye, juniper berries, sweet gale

Photo by Hops & Grain BrewingBuddha’s Brew

In collaboration with another great local brewery, Buddha’s Brew Kombucha, Jester King has released this limited brew in which fresh kombucha, an effervescent fermentation of sweetened tea, is added to barrel-fermented sour wheat beer prior to bottling. This is also the first Jester King beer to be brewed entirely in oak.

Packages: 750-milileter bottles

Availability: Limited

OG: 1.038; FG: 1.002; ABV: 4.7 percent

Water: Hill Country well water

Malts: Pilsner, wheat, Caramunich, aciduated malt

Hops: Czech Saaz

Yeast: English ale yeast

Bacteria: Lactobacillus, live kombucha cultures

Other Ingredients: Buddha’s Brew Classic Kombucha

Das Wunderkind

Jester King makes this beer by blending mature, sour, barrel-aged beer with fresh, dry-hopped beer prior to packaging and refermentation. It has a taste that is dry and lightly tart, with notes of citrus, barnyard and tropical fruit.

Packages: 750-milileter bottles

Availability: Limited

OG: 1.039; FG: 1.002; ABV: 4.5 percent

Water: Hill Country well water

Malts: Organic pilsner, organic two row, organic wheat, organic Caramunich

Hops: Czech Saaz, East Kent Goldings, Cascade, Columbus and/or other varieties depending on availability

Yeast: Farmhouse yeast, wild yeast from the Texas Hill Country

Bacteria: Lactobacillus and pediococcus

Not yet released, Jester King will soon be shipping out two new sour barrel-aged beers: Funk Metal, a sour, barrel-aged stout, originally based on a barrel-aged, sour version of their Black Metal Farmhouse Imperial Stout; and Das Überkind, a similar packaging of the mature barrel stock that’s used to make Das Wunderkind, just with an added dose of dry hops.

Photo by Hops & Grain BrewingHops & Grain Craft Brewery

507 Calles St., Austin, TX 78702

hopsandgrain.com

Open Friday 2 to 6 p.m. and Saturday noon to 4 p.m.

Hops & Grain Craft Brewery is committed to brewing beer simply because they love it. This brewery operates on two separate brewing systems, a larger one for their year-round beers and a smaller pilot system for experimental beers. In true Austin fashion, the brewers at Hops & Grain are living one day at a time, with a passion for crafting the best brews. This season, Hops & Grain has two seasonal specials that you have to get your hands on: the Porter and Barleywine. The Porter has been fermented 100 percent in oak barrels. A strong American-style, the Barleywine is heavily hopped with a high alcohol content and top-notch flavors. Stop by Hops & Grain, where you can try the newest beers alongside their seven or eight other beers offered every Friday and Saturday in the taproom.

Other great seasonal brews to try this season:

  • Guinness Generous Ale
  • Samuel Adams Winter Classics
  • Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale
  • Samuel Smiths Winter Welcome Ale
  • Young’s Winter Warmer
  • Shiner Holiday Cheer
  • Newcastle Winter IPA
  • Deschutes Jubelale
  • New Belgium Snow Day
  • Rahr & Sons Winter Warmer
  • Odell Isolation Ale
  • Harpoon Winter Warmer

Holiday Beer Tasting

Dec. 8, 3 to 5 p.m., The Ginger Man Pub, 301 Lavaca, Austin, Texas, 78701

For a fun holiday beer-tasting event, check out The Ginger Man Pub, which will feature 11 holiday and seasonal winter beers paired with cheeses from Austin’s own Antonelli’s Cheese Shop. The affair will also include trivia, prizes and presentations from special guest speakers. For more information or to reserve your seat, e-mail gm-austin@gingermanpub.com or call 512.473.8801.

Most of the brews listed here can be found at your local Specs, Twin Liquors, H-E-B, Central Market stores or at your favorite Austin beer garden. The local breweries in this article also provide an extended list on their websites of where their beers can be found.

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