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Feb 15, 201304:42 PMThe Telegraph

The Premier Blog of the West

Tasting Panel: Jester King Craft Brewery RU-55

Feb 15, 2013 - 04:42 PM
Tasting Panel: Jester King Craft Brewery RU-55

Photography: Courtesy Jester King Craft Brewery

In the heart of German Texas, a group of upstarts is fostering the Belgian-style Farmhouse ale tradition with wild yeast, Hill Country well water, and a go-getter, devil-may-care attitude. The youngin’s in question are the crew behind Jester King Craft Brewery.

Two years ago, they burst onto the Lone Star state's craft beer scene with stunning design and what initially came off as too-big-for-their-britches bravado. The mavericks’ hard work has paid off, though.

Whereas many in Central Texas are weary of straying too far from the German heritage of brewing, Jester King went with wild farmhouse yeast and a bold barrel-aging program (civet coffee, anyone?). In fact, the first beer produced by Jester King, what would become Boxer’s Revenge, was barrel aged.

Continuing our coverage of the particular style of suds in the run up to our Best of the West issue, C&I’s editorial team popped open a bottle of RU-55, a Flemish-style oak barrel-aged sour red ale with a one-eyed robot on the label. The imagery is a shot at the all-too-pervasive automated present in lieu of hard work. Crafting something as complex as RU-55 is definitely hard work. It’s also perfect after a hard day's work.

The rush of grapes and sour apples is short-lived and mellows into a crisp, refreshing finish. RU-55 is rewarding. Or as the panelists describe it…

Lauren Crispin (art director): There’s a wine quality to it, like chardonnay meets beer. You think because it’s so sour at first it will overpower, but RU-55 doesn’t. It’s smooth at the end. Pretty tasty.

Kathy Wise (executive editor): I get apple cider with an oak finish. It’s a fresh beer. Great for the winter into spring transition.

Steven Phelps (website content editor): There’s cider and unsweet tea on the nose. Definitely a warm-weather beer.

José R. Ralat (associate editor): It' a velvet-gloved slap to the cheeks that pours cloudy with a dose of sediment and just what I need after a day outdoors, be it hiking or working on the house. I want more.

Steven: Yeah! I’m not sure. You know, I need another taste.

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